Imagine the work a director of football could have done at Manchester United…

Manchester United has been in this position before. A squad which has not performed as well as expected. Players coming in during transfer windows when there has been no real method or application for the signing, other than in a few cases, a rival was interested in the player.

The Glazers and Ed Woodward need to get United working on becoming a football club once again, not a commercial giant that plays football on the side. That seems to be what is happening and I must not be the only one who can see ahead of the situation that if United continues to be run in this way, the commercial aspect of the club will soon start to dry up.

Since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson, United has had three managers who have fallen foul to the way the club is now being run. David Moyes succeeded Ferguson and was given a six-year contract, sacked ten months into his career at the Theatre of Dreams. In the summer of 2014, Louis van Gaal took the helm, spending two years at the club, winning the Emirates FA Cup, seeing himself sacked hours later.

Then, days later, Jose Mourinho, who had been sacked by Chelsea six month earlier, became United’s new manager. He was sacked more than two and a half years later. Now Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been given the chance to lead the club in the right direction but if suitable changes are not made within the hierarchy of the club, we could be seeing the same thing develop in a matter of time.

Mike Phelan and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer scouting Barcelona

When Solskjaer took over as United manager, the club was seemingly boosted with the team winning his first eight matches as manager, undefeated in his first 11, drawing just once; against Burnley. The first defeat came against Paris Saint-Germain and United then won three and drew one match before that famous night in Paris where they overcame PSG. United deteriorated since though, losing five of their next seven matches. The honeymoon period was over.

Back when Mourinho was the manager, supporters were suggesting that the team was capable of winning trophies and it was the Portuguese manager’s methods which were letting United down. The latter may well have been the case but the former is incorrect as United have shown they are not capable of winning trophies.

After Mourinho was sacked, there were many speculative reports based on Woodward suggesting that a director of football or even a technical director would be brought into the club. If that was something the club had enacted on back in December, the club would have had four months to prepare for a big summer transfer window.

Imagine the work which could have bene accomplished. Does the club want to change? Do they want to find the right path to success? Is there any interest in the hierarchy of the club putting football ahead of the commercial aspect of the club, which is only there in the first place because of the football?

Many names have been mentioned in the media, which is just speculation. More recently, former United goalkeeper, Edwin van der Sar, currently at Ajax, has stated that he would be willing to take a lesser role at a bigger club, a technical director maybe? Obviously, he’s not going to leave Ajax right now, especially after their UEFA Champions League heroics, knocking out Real Madrid and Juventus and now facing Tottenham Hotspur in the semi-finals of the competition.

Ole Gunner Solskjaer, Joel Glazer and Avram Glazer in Barcelona

However, in the summer, he might be willing to jump ship and start in a new role at United. Woodward and the Glazers may also have other targets, or they might want to keep things the way they are, with a scattergun approach and no clear plan, knowledge of football or interest in getting United back on the road to challenging for league titles, domestic cups and maybe even the elite European competitions.

The one thing that makes me think that Solskjaer is the right man for the job is that he has already stated that superstar signings are not what the club needs, which after the past six years, is very good to hear as the likes of Angel Di Maria, Radamel Falcao, and more recently, Alexis Sanchez has not worked. There has also been speculation that Solskjaer and Mike Phelan if he stays, will target young talent, some being English, in a bid to bring back the DNA of the club.

That is refreshing and could suggest that Solskjaer and Phelan’s way of doing things could trump the ways of Woodward, which is about time. However, with a director of football or even a technical director in place, there will be more stability for the club, the club will be in a more modern structure and finally, there will be targets on the football pitch once again, not just targets in the boardroom.

This is all great in thought but some egos at the club need to realise that they may be good at bringing money into the club but sorting out footballing matters with little interest in the sport or finding out how these matters should be dealt with. If Ed Woodward concentrated on the commercial aspect of the club, letting someone with the knowledge and hunger to drive the club forward on the football pitch do that, United will be heading in the right direction.

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copyright: JW

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