With Jose Mourinho facing the sack at Chelsea, the sky is looking gloomy at the red side of Manchester. Manchester United haven’t won in their last 6 competitive games and there’s a feeling of uncertainty looming over Old Trafford. Suddenly, the title talk seems so far away.
Louis Van Gaal has put it down to his team’s lack of confidence. The truth is Manchester United are confident with possession but do little with it. Dropping out of the top four zone, and with the prospect of playing Stoke away and then facing a rejuvenated Chelsea at Old Trafford, many Manchester United fans are calling for Louis Van Gaal to be shown the exit door. Meanwhile, chants of
Santa Mourinho is permeating Old Trafford this Christmas.
The reality of modern football is when a team isn’t playing well, the manager has to take the rap. But should the Glazers decide to pull the trigger on Louis Van Gaal? Is he the man that is responsible for Manchester United’s poor run of form?
Manchester United have spent about £270m on transfers since Ed Woodward replaced David Gill at the start of the 2013/2014 season. They should be challenging for the title and not contemplating whether they should be sacking their manager. In truth, despite spending a fortune on transfers, their approach has been horrendous; one that lacked direction.
They’ve missed out on a lot of their top targets. Prominent names include Sergio Ramos, Thomas Müller, Cesc Fabregas, Gareth Bale,Toni Kroos, Mats Hummels and Dani Alves. These players have one thing in common, they belong to one of the top clubs in Europe. Make no mistake, signing them would be no easy feat, considering the amount of money involved, their club’s unwillingness to sell them and fighting off other interested parties.
But what’s more worrying than missing out on top transfer targets is missing out on second tier targets as well. Manchester United have spent the whole transfer window pursuing unrealistic targets ; players that were never going to move to Manchester anyway, that they’ve not given themselves much time to focus on their more realistic targets such as the likes of Thomas Vermaelen, Nicolas Otamendi, Nathaniel Clyne, Thiago Alcantara, Pedro Rodriguez and Sadio Mane. This leaves them in a vulnerable position towards the end of the window, instigating them to often make panic buys (usually with an inflated price tag) or failing to strengthen the particular positions identified.
You might have heard of the ‘money-ball’ strategy. Manchester United prefer the opposite- the ‘money-fall’ strategy, believing that signing superstars is going to guarantee you success. Players are targeted based on their commercial value and ability to sell jerseys and merchandise on their respective markets as compared to their playing ability or how well they will complement the current crop of players. But who is behind this transfer philosophy at Manchester United? The man from Chelmsford, the current CEO of Manchester United -Ed Woodward who has a vast amount of experience in commercial activities and financial management but none whatsoever in signing the right type of players.
But, Louis Van Gaal should be acquitted of those charges, his track record proves that. All his career, he has never been a manager who only targeted superstars. During his managerial tenures at Ajax, Barcelona, AZ and Bayern Munich put together, Louis Van Gaal has only spent about £215m in total on transfers. That is still £55m short to what Manchester United and Ed Woodward have spent in the two and half seasons.
How the transfer process takes place at Manchester United is, Ed Woodward bases on the club’s commercial successes and revenue, reminds LVG of the big money they can afford to spend on transfers. LVG has to just prepare the list of players that he likes. Ed Woodward is the man in charge of negotiations and it is his reluctance to move on to the second tier targets that is the problem at United. The consequence of that is a failure in adequately strengthening their team and inviting a lot of unwanted media attention that destabilizes the dressing room.
The desperate sacking of Louis Van Gaal is not going to solve the persisting problem. Manchester United need to change their transfer policy or replace their man from Chelmsford.