The recruitment of Manchester United throughout Ole’s reign and what positions should the club look to strengthen to have a positive future moving forwards?
Ole was appointed in the winter of 2018, on a temporary basis following the departure of Jose Mourinho. The Portugese manager’s time at the club hadn’t been as successful as promised, he had failed to replicate what he had displayed in his time at London as he had previously won three titles at Stamford Bridge. Mourinho, aided with a lack of support from the Old Trafford hierarchy, left his successor with a gigantic task to turn around fortunes. Ole has, in my opinion, done this task very well. United now look after seven years, despite rumours that the Norweigan would be sacked for a blip in results, like potential title challengers. Is the red devils’ 21st first-division title on the horizon as they look to also add a carabao cup to their long list of honours?
One major factor that has contributed to the club’s on-field success’ is the successful recruitment that has been made.
When Mourinho departed from Old Trafford, it was obvious that the squad he had built wasn’t good enough. There was a distinct lack of depth and quality and through many meetings with the press he stated his frustrations. None of his frustrations were voiced more than when he pointed out the lack of quality in the squad that he was able to take on the pre-season tour of the USA.
This area wasn’t too much of a problem for the club whilst they searched for a positive way forwards. Even still, it is a position that has been strengthened by the addition of youngster Dean Henderson who had a very bright loan spell at Sheffield United. This is much to the displeasure of Sergio Romero as the Argentine looks for a way out in the search of first team football, it has been made relatively evident that De Gea and Henderson are Ole’s preferred shot-stoppers. The 23-year-old keeper has featured in cup games throughout this campaign.
The main reason for Jose’s outburst of emotions towards the press on the tour of the States in 2018 is that there was a great need for a centre half. There were rumours of Diego Godin, Jerome Boateng and Toby Alderweireld signing for the Red’s yet none of these put pen to paper. In fact, four of the nine defenders that travelled on that trip have departed and a few that have stayed are far away from a sniff of first team football. Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones being on that list. Solskjaer has overseen the departures of veteran full-backs such as Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young. The defensive rank has been boosted by the major signings of Harry Maguire (£80million from Leicester City), Aaron WanBissaka (£50m from Crystal Palace) and Alex Telles (undisclosed from Porto). Maguire, who is an experienced England defender has been named captain thus it is obvious that he has been a successful addition as the dressing room was one that lacked leadership in previous times. However, moving on I believe another right back and centre half should be recruited if the club is to be successful during Ole’s reign.
What a signing Bruno Fernandes has been!
Again, I look back on the squad that travelled to the States a few months before Mourinho’s departure. It was evident that there was a lack of quality in the attacking area of play in this position. Lingard, Andreas Periera, Juan Mata and Paul Pogba were the main attackers. Lingard and Periera find themselves out of the team and it is possible that they may never return into the mix of those that start. I believe they should search for another club, David Moyes’ West Ham have been linked with Lingard on a regular basis.
One of Ole’s first departures was the centre-midfielder Maroune Fellaini and since then Herrera has moved on. Ole has got the best out of the talents of Scott Mctominay and Fred, the £50m signing receiving rave reports for his performances this season whilst the youth academy product has shown his quality with two quick fire goals against Leeds United and a beautiful winner against Pep’s side the last time they made the short trip to Old Trafford. I believe that, if the club is to be successful moving forwards, a defensive midfielder should be recruited.
The club has been linked with Premier League stars Declan Rice and N’golo Kante and the Ecuadorian talent Moises Caicedo has looked closer and closer to signing on the dotted line in the recent weeks even if United have pulled their noses up at a £10million price tag. Another signing that Solskjaer has made that has great potential to become a world class player is the 2-year-old midfielder Donny Van De Beek. The dutchman has struggled to get much game time, which has put Ole under a great deal of criticism, yet when he has played he has shown his quality and I do believe that it is good to integrate him into the team in games that he is ready for. Sometimes too much too soon is a recipe for disaster.
- Bruno Fernandes is Ole’s best signing! The attacking midfielder has scored 19 in 30 appearances since signing in the January of 2020 and whether most of these goals have been penalties or not, when you contribute the assists and the boost he has had on the club he probably wins the argument when you’re thinking of the best signing since Sir Alex’s retirement. His contribution has been spoken about by Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher, the Liverpool legend claiming that Fernandes has had an effect on the club that is similar to ‘King’ Eric Cantona’s in the early 1990’s.
Mourinho included four forwards in his plans that summer: Alexis Sanchez, Romelu Lukaku, Marcus Rashford and frenchman Anthony Martial.
In passionate interviews, for example the one with the press following the away defeat to Everton, Ole said that players that lacked the spirit it took to work hard and impress him would be removed from the club. This was done as Lukaku and Sanchez found new clubs on foreign shores, both at the respective Inter Milan.
Ole has brought a few attackers to the club whilst also aiding the careers of starman Mason Greenwood, who played his first senior match in 2018. Daniel James has been recruited after the youngster impressed for Swansea City. Uruguayans Edinson Cavani and Facundo Pellestri were both signed in the summer of 2020, Cavani showing what he is capable of scoring goals against Southampton and Everton before cruelly being suspended for the usage of an alleged ‘racist’ word on his social media.
I believe that a right winger should be signed. Jadon Sancho has been linked with a move to Old Trafford for a while now and it is about time that he signed for the red devils, despite a blip in form at the WestFalenStadion.
- Arguably Manchester United’s greatest signing in the post-Fergie era Bruno Fernandes. The dazzling Portugese playmaker has had a lot to celebrate as he continues to change the fortunes of the Old Trafford club.
GK – David De Gea, Dean Henderson, Sergio Romero, Lee Grant, Joel Perriera.
DF – Aaron Wan Bissaka, Brandon Williams, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Diogo Dalot, Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Axel Tuanzebe, Teden Mengi, Marcos Rojo, Alex Telles, Luke Shaw.
MDF – Paul Pogba, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Andreas Perriera, Facundo Pellestri, Daniel James, Bruno Fernandes, Fred, Nemanja Matic, Donny Van De Beek, James Garner.
FW – Edinson Cavani, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood, Odion Ighalo, Tatith Chong.
Thank you very much for reading,
All the very best,