As each dream has met its own dose of reality, United supporters have gone from dreaming about Klopp, hoping for Giggs to morph into Giggsiola, and now to seemingly unanimous support for Louis Van Gaal. Given all the emotional toil that these rumors are causing supporters worldwide, the media had better have some truth behind their printers. While not out of the realm of possibility, surely this cannot be another ‘Arry-England mirage.
Putting unrealistic options aside, this is where United stands. It’s either Giggs or Van Gaal. And according to media reports, the two are unlikely to coexist in the dugout.
The heartwarming image of Giggs leading the team out in a crisp suit to the deafening noise of a hopeful Old Trafford crowd is one that will stick for a long time. For most Reds, if not all, there was no greater joy brought by seeing a United man come full circle. From child, to prospect, to star, to captain, to manager…the legends have already written themselves. But wait a second, add Scholesy, Butty, and Phil? Give them a go! Why not.
But this is a time for cold truths and objective self-assessments. As a rather rotund waiter once said, we have to look at the facts. There is simply too much work to be done. Manchester United are in need of players, direction, and a man unwilling to bend to the tantrums of Wayne Rooney, the giant baby of United.
Wise spending in the coming transfer market is in order. Whether that points to a few key positions or a complete overhaul or something in between is a matter of opinion. What isn’t a matter of opinion is that we no longer have any money to waste. The bare fruits of our recent spending have not done us any favors.
Mata is a joy but cost too much in an already overcrowded position. Fellaini hasn’t done himself any favors this season where even a single, successful pass seemed like a tough ask. Moreover, we do not have the European tournament money next season to hedge any overpriced, needless buys next season. Therefore, we need a manager who will spend fair money for guaranteed talent for understaffed positions.
After being taught lessons by Barcelona in two separate European finals, Sir Alex started flirting with more European formations. United’s 4-3-3 against Benfica in the Europa League is a particularly telling example of an abject failure from ill-implemented playing systems. Credit has to be given for trying to move this club along with the times, but the results showed that it is difficult for an old horse, however magnificent, to learn foreign tricks. If anything, perhaps Moyes at least knew his limits.
So we then went back into the 80’s. Having been pulled sharply in one direction then back into the other, we are now left with a squad that really has no clear style, philosophy, or direction. We have players who are being told to attack in the United way, but without a truly clear idea of what that actually is. Attacking, after all, is a state of mind.
What we need is the specific and systematic how; namely, tactics, passing patterns, pressing zones, set piece designs, counter-attack protocol, etc.
Even for the romantics among us, Giggs can’t be expected to deliver all of this while learning all the other daunting aspects of the job, which even he admits has been a complete blur in the past few weeks.
Simply put, Manchester United the club will be back. Manchester United’s current crop of players may not.
Darren Oh, Pundit Arena.
Featured Image By Gordon Flood from Trim, Ireland (_MG_8114 Uploaded by Kafuffle) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.