More than £700 million spent post-Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United still has no identified plan


Six years on from the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United is still a club in decline and it seems that is not something that will change anytime soon. David Moyes was given a six-year contract, then sacked ten months later. Louis van Gaal gave it a go and was sacked two-years later, then Jose Mourinho took over the reins, seeing himself sacked two and a half years later.

After a summer of dreaming and promise, Ed Woodward eventually signed Marouane Fellaini on deadline day in 2013, adding Juan Mata in the January transfer window. It was not enough to turn the tide for United as Moyes was sacked, United finished seventh in the Premier League, relinquishing their 20th league title in record time. Under Moyes, United spent £64.6 million.

Under Louis van Gaal, in his first summer, United added Ander Herrera, Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria, Marcos Rojo, Daley Blind and Radamel Falcao, bringing in Victor Valdes in January. United finished fourth in the league and earned a UEFA Champions League place, albeit from the play-off round. In his second season, Van Gaal added Sergio Romero, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Morgan Schneiderlin, Memphis Depay and Anthony Martial, spending a total of £253.9 million. United finished fifth in the league, earning a UEFA Europa League place but won the Emirates FA Cup.

After the sacking of Van Gaal, days after lifting the FA Cup, Jose Mourinho was given the reigns and another new era was present. Mourinho brought in Eric Bailly, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and Paul Pogba. United won the EFL Cup, finished sixth in the league, but got Champions League football by beating Ajax in the Europa League final, it also saw United winning all major honours in the history of the club.

In his second summer, Mourinho re-signed Ibrahimovic, Victor Lindelof, Nemanja Matic, and Romelu Lukaku. During the January window, Mkhitaryan left the club for Arsenal and Alexis Sanchez arrived in what is deemed to have been a player swap deal. United won nothing that season, losing the FA Cup final against Chelsea but finished second in the league, 19 points adrift to Manchester City.

In what would be his third season, Mourinho added Diogo Dalot, Fred, and Lee Grant to his squad and wanted a commanding central defender but never got one. It seems the board vetoed his needs, which they might be paying for now. Mourinho moaned in press conferences and alienated the media, a 3-1 defeat to Liverpool saw him sacked two days later. Mourinho spent £397.6 million in time as the manager.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was brought in as the caretaker manager for the remainder of the season. Solskjaer never added to his ranks in the January transfer window but did opt to sell Fellaini, after he had signed a new contract with the club in the summer, days before he was to be a free agent. Solakjaer did well in his first ten matches but recently, they have lost six in their last eight matches and now face Manchester City and Chelsea at Old Trafford in their next two fixtures.

United has spent £716.1 million under three different managers. Out of the 25 players who have joined the club in the past six years, nine players have left the club, three players will see their contracts end in the summer (one of them being Matteo Darmian, who has the option of another year) and the futures of four more may hang in the balance.

Just imagine the amount of money that has been spent at the club. Di Maria left after one season with the club losing £15.7 million on his fee to Paris Saint-Germain. In total, not including Fellaini, as his fee to China is undisclosed, United has lost £34.1 million in selling the players they got rid of already. If United had a plan when spending this money, imagine the rewards the club could have been reaping now.

If Woodward had added a director of football after sacking Moyes, bringing the club into the ways of modern football, the appointment could have planned for the future. Even if one was brought in after Van Gaal, the club could have been in a better position today. Bringing a director of football, a sporting director or even a technical director in now is imperative, especially if the club wants to avert more damage to the credibility of the club, at least as a footballing force.

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copyright: JW

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