While the rumors surrounding Gareth Bale have died down in recent weeks, Manchester United continue to make headlines with Ed Woodward’s desire to bring in a “galatico.” A big name player like Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi or Neymar might bring further global attention to the club, but they are all players with whom Louis van Gaal cannot be trusted.
I understand the likelihood of these players going to United is slim to none, but the point is that there is a massive disconnect at the club. Woodward seems to be running transfers as if he is playing a game of FIFA, while van Gaal is determined to grind this team into a dour squad of defensive-minded drones. World-class caliber players look at what van Gaal did to Angel Di Maria and realize they are better off going somewhere their dynamic talents will be better appreciated.
Anyone who watched Di Maria at United last season saw a player who was gradually forced into a role that led to his sale this summer. The differences for Di Maria can be seen in the statistics. Here are some of his offensive totals over the past three seasons:
|Matches Played/Minutes Played||34/2368||27/1640||16/1230|
Statistics courtesy of Squawka.com
Di Maria’s year at United saw regression across every key offensive statistical metric. In looking at how he bounced back this season for PSG, it is easy to point the finger at van Gaal and his insistence on pragmatism and retaining possession above all else. Di Maria is not that kind of player. He fits in well with the type of free-flowing attacking lineup that Manchester United fans crave.
As it stands, I don’t think any United supporter would want another “galatico” at the club under van Gaal, since we all believe he will only destroy the creativity that makes those players so great. It is also my belief that the Red Devils don’t need a world class player. While I agree that Marouane Fellaini is not an ideal Manchester United player, that has more to do with his style of play and constantly played out of position rather than not being a big name player.
Every winning team needs to have players who are willing to go out there, do their job and do it well. Ashley Young has become the kind of United player that this team is crying out for. It’s not just that he is quick and versatile, but he’s also willing to fight for his place in the team week in and week out, even if it’s not at his preferred position.
At this point, I don’t trust van Gaal for any player that might come in. It would be great to bring in a striker, but would they even get playing time? It would be fantastic to have a proven goal scorer like Romelu Lukaku or even Odion Ighalo, but with van Gaal’s love of Wayne Rooney playing up front, they probably wouldn’t even get into the team. Even adding a pacey winger like Sadio Mane seems a moot point when the likes of Adnan Januzaj, Memphis Depay, and Jesse Lingard can’t even be used effectively.
This Manchester United team just looks like they are completely deprived of the ability to go out and enjoy themselves. Even van Gaal’s statements in regard to the dressing room atmosphere being too good point to his thoughts on players being able to truly express themselves the way they would like.
The current standing of Manchester United as one of the elite clubs in the world is gradually slipping despite being the third highest earning football club. While much of this can be placed at the feet of Louis van Gaal and his boring brand of football, supporters must not forget who hired him (Ed Woodward) and the Glazer family, whose takeover has brought about this steady decline.
With the recent reports that van Gaal offered to resign as manager, it begs the question as to when he will be gone. While these are only rumored reports, it does say a lot about the state of the club that 1) such things are being leaked, and 2) the board must have some idea of how the fans actually feel about van Gaal being the manager. It seems that the Iron Tulip does not have such an iron grip on the running of this club, and with powerful United legends Sir Alex Ferguson and Sir Bobby Charlton still on the board of directors, the politics within the club have led to what many perceive as a divide.
If a divide does, in fact, exist, it only strengthens the idea that there is a massive disconnect within the club, as well as the growing disconnect between the club and its fans. What fans want to see from United is a return to winning ways. Supporters might moan about stule, but it is the lack of winning that has led to the most complaints. The fact that Woodward continues to make statements about van Gaal’s “attacking football” only adds salt to the wounds. It is becoming more and more apparent that the fans and their opinions do not matter to the club.
This is a club that has been built on a tradition of a specific brand of football as well as a mentality of loyalty and trust. What this ownership has done is to completely erode this trust. Manchester United supporters are not known for turning on their manager or their team, and yet, that is where this has led.
This should be the time to point fingers at the Glazers and Woodward more than van Gaal, as there is little good that can be done in terms of changing managers at this point. The only viable option is Jose Mourinho, whose managerial style is so toxic that it can resonate for years after he leaves a club. For now, the only answers for Manchester United lie in Louis van Gaal and whether he can make the changes necessary to bring about attacking, winning football.
Whether you agree or disagree with my assertions, please get involved with your comments here as well as contacting me on Twitter.
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