Manchester United is in the midst of another poor season. The Red Devils are far removed from their glory days under legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson. Since Fergie left in 2013, Manchester United has won just one FA Cup, one EFL Cup, and one Europa League. They signed Cristiano Ronaldo in the last summer transfer window, but even that was not enough, and they are set to end the 2021-22 season without a single trophy. They badly need to get back to their best, so here are three directions Manchester United can take to rebuild and return to their status as Premier League giants.
Possible rebuilding directions for Manchester United
Promotion of youngsters
Even though they spent a ton of money on big-name signings in the last few years, many of their most successful players have actually been developed in Manchester's own academy. Of course, signings like Bruno Fernandes turned out well, but there were more concerning decisions than beneficial ones. In terms of their youngsters, guys like Marcus Rashford, Scott McTominay, Mason Greenwood, and most recently, Anthony Elanga, came out swinging. Of course, Greenwood's tenure in Manchester remains unclear as he's under major controversy following his arrest and suspension from the club. Rashford has had tremendous success since joining the first team, and while he's had a down year in 2021-22, he still remains a critical asset going forward.
It is not only Manchester United academy graduates that should excite fans at Old Trafford. They also have other youngsters that were brought in. For instance, Jadon Sancho had a poor start, but he's since managed to turn things around in the second half of the season. Additionally, Diogo Dalot has managed to cement his place at right-back, having excelled throughout the season. If United can continue to see development from young talent, this team can turn itself around quickly, without breaking the bank to do so.
Building an identity around a coach
Manchester United has been linked to a number of coaches this summer, assuming Ralf Rangnick is not brought back to his post at the end of the season.
Firstly, Diego Simeone could be the perfect coach to turn it around in Manchester United. He is one of the rare coaches in modern football that has his own distinctive style. Simeone molds his team to match his demanding playstyle, and he'll ensure players are putting in maximum effort at every juncture of the game. His style of coaching doesn't always yield a lot of results offensively, but he could help restore Manchester United's defense back to its former glory. With some egos in that locker room, we can only speculate how Simeone could be able to make sure egos are put to the side for the sake of the team. It was Simeone's Atletico Madrid that knocked out United from the Champions League, so perhaps that matchup opened some eyes in Manchester.
Another option for the club could be Erik ten Hag, who is currently the Ajax coach. He reportedly already met and was amazed by Manchester United chiefs, and he could also be a coach that can implement his plan regardless of the roster. He's long been linked with the vacancy, and has not shied away from his desire to take over the role. He is a lot less experienced than Simeone, however, who has two Champions League finals and a pair of La Liga titles. But Ten Hag has done nothing but impress throughout the early part of his coaching career. His major draw is that his ‘total football' approach led Ajax to play one amazing brand of football and it would be heaven to watch for Manchester United fans.
Spend big, but on the right targets
In the last five seasons, only two clubs outspent Manchester United in the EPL. Of course, one is Manchester City, with seemingly unlimited funds available, and the other is Chelsea, who are set to lose a ton of their purchasing power due to sanctions on owner Roman Abramovich. Yet, Chelsea has a title in 2017 and a Champions League in 2021 to boast, while Manchester City has three of the last five Premier League titles and they are battling for their fourth this season. Manchester United, on the other hand, has massively underachieved. But that does not mean that they should stop spending — they just have to spend smarter. The money will always be there for a club of United's stature, however, the club has failed to properly pinpoint players who will fit well in the squad.
What Manchester United needs is an elite center-back, one great midfielder, and a player that will play on the left-wing. Options for these players are readily available across Europe. They could go for someone like Kalidou Koulibaly, a great center-back to pair up with Raphael Varane. In the middle, someone like Aurelien Tchouameni could be perfect to play behind Bruno Fernandes and keep the middle secured. Last, but not least, Antony from Ajax is having a fantastic season and he could be a winger that gives the United attack an extra edge. There are solutions in the transfer market, it is just about finding the right ones, and not rushing to overpay a player who isn't necessarily a strong fit.