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  • A Red Perspective - UNITED - WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? BY Ian

    A Red Perspective - UNITED - WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? BY Ian

    With the coronavirus affecting all of our lives so dramatically, the relevance of heated debate on football matters is trivial to say the very least.

    For those who have family and friends, ill, or worse, it is awful and we can only hope it comes to an end sooner rather than later.

    In the meantime millions of us will be spending weeks in semi isolation for the common good and need something to keep our mental health intact.

    So , where should United be going next season, assuming it starts while someone of my advanced years is still alive to see it! Well Ole and Ed, here’s me 8 point plan : -

    1) Keep Ole as manager for the foreseeable future – a no brainer unless of course results in the near future are so bad that relegation is very much on the horizon.

    Despite performances since the winter break, some of the media (not just the tabloids) remain desperate for the ‘Ole sacked, Poch appointed' story, but this makes no sense at this point in time . Most of the pundits, both journalists and ex players who never played for United, talk absolute bollocks on this issue. Ole is an intelligent bloke with a good football brain and I very much doubt whether Poch is any better as a coach. United is a very difficult club to manage successfully for a variety of reasons and he may not last the course, but no one in their right mind would sack him when the race is in its early days.

    2) The disturbing case of Paul Pogba - there is so much talk about Pogba, much of which could be avoided if he instructed his agent to shut his mouth. Better still, change his agent. Talk now is he wants to stay as he fancies playing with Bruno . If he was in consistent form and making it crystal he wanted to play for United then he would be an important member of the team. Unfortunately to date this has not been the case and it is difficult to see him being fully on side. His attitude seems to mirror that of the modern fan - if we win three games on the trot United are great, if we lose three he wants to go to Spain or Italy and the fan wants everyone at United sacked. Pathetic doesn’t cover it. United should play hard ball with Paul and say he can stay if he signs a new contract on realistic terms and changes his agent. With regard to the latter, Gary Neville suggested on Sky after the Chelsea game on February 17th that United should refuse to deal with Raiola. He was absolutely right and if this is unpalatable to Paul he should leave .

    3) THOSE TO KEEP OR MAYBE SELL - a number of permutations here, there being a few in the first team squad who you would hope could move up a gear .

    Bailley - looked a class act when he first arrived , other than an occasional reckless streak. Then doing a Phil Jones injury impression. Back now and looking good . Needs to be coached to stay on his feet and use his brain as a first weapon of defence. If he can do this we don’t need another centre half.

    Tuanzebe – appears to be a great prospect , but he may also have the injury prone affliction. If and when the current season is played out we need him to have a run of first team games and show he has the desire and ability to be Maguire’s partner in central defence.

    Matic - Great revival since Christmas. If he can keep this going he is good competition for McTominay.

    Martial – his performances echo United’s over the last few years – occasionally brilliant, often frustrating. Seems to have struck up a good rapport with Bruno. If this can be developed into consistency there is a really good player in waiting.

    4) GOODBYE - Joel Periera (if he is still at the club ?), Andreas Pereira, Rojo, Jones, Smalling, Sanchez we live in hope) and Lingard. As discussed, possibly Pogba. Maybe, wait for it De Gea ! (see point 7 below).

    5) HELLO! - If we assume all four players mentioned in 3. above cut the mustard then we just need three new signings – Maddison (rather than Grealish), Sancho and Ighalo .
    If we decide to keep Pogba then arguably we don’t need Maddison, but this maybe a risky strategy to say the least as the former tends to be staying or leaving on a weekly basis. We are told Maddison is a United supporter and would welcome the chance to come to Old Trafford. Doesn’t that sound refreshing.

    Sancho has all the trappings of a great buy, but if Dortmund go mad on the asking price, which is highly likely, a very good, cheaper alternative is Emmanuel Bonaventure Dennis, who played really well for Club Brugge in the first leg of our Europa League game (he was suspended for the second leg) and , as I understand it, scored twice at Real Madrid in the Champions League. Against us he was very determined, strong, fast, skilfull and a good finisher. Must be worth a serious look.
    Ighalo – all his dreams came true signing for United. On its own clearly not enough, but at the time of writing he has given us goals and the valuable option of holding the ball up well. A really useful squad player who is unlikely to be whinging to the manager if he doesn’t play every game. The only problem I forsee with Ighalo and Dennis in the same squad is they are both likely to be involved in the African Nations Cup and this means two forwards could be missing every other season for up to four weeks.

    6) ARE WE ABLE TO SIGN KANE - Harry Kane seems a classic United purchase, but I’m not sure. The thought of dealing with Daniel Levy should be enough to put us off. Leaving that aside, improved consistency from Martial, along with making room for Greenwood to have good game time, may well be the better way forward. We certainly do not want to discourage Mason in any way at all .

    7) DE GEA OR HENDERSON - Dean Henderson looks a quality act. If he stays at Sheffield United for another season and has a few years left on his United contract that is fine. If not, I don’t believe we can afford to lose him. David has been really great for us over the years, but his form has slipped in the last couple of seasons. Happy for him to stay, but all good things come to an end.

    8) REVAMP OLD TRAFFORD and make it one of the world’s great stadiums again. Failing that, Ed should arrange a sale of the club to someone who can do the necessary. Mind you I don’t think this particular turkey will be voting for Christmas.

    If we play our cards right both in buying and selling we should be able to shed up to 10 first team squad players – hopefully mostly by sale rather than loan – buy three, including Ighalo, and still leave us with a first team squad of at least 24.

    Depending on who goes and stays and the competence we display in the negotiating process, our transfer fee outlay could well be modest by recent market standards and allow room for other promising academy youngsters to break into the first team squad.

    It will be interesting to see the impact of the coronavirus on the transfer market. Hopefully some level of sanity will return and Ed will ensure we are not conned into paying the United ‘premium‘, which has become an established add on for some time.

    So, there we are, what could possibly go wrong?

    Whenever we start playing again we need to be ready to move onwards and upwards without further dela . The apple cart is being carefully loaded, so let’s not upset it.

    In the meantime, love to all the United family. Look after yourselves.

    Ian - ageing, lifelong fan, April 2020.
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