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Premier League 2019/20: Norwich City vs Manchester United - Tactical Analysis tactics

Manchester United need a Director of Football

Manchester United have had one of their worst starts to a campaign in the last 30 years despite projected improvement in some quarters. There are question marks over whether or not Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should even be in charge. However, the premise of all this can be traced back to 2013 when legendary manager Sir. Alex Ferguson brought his illustrious coaching career to an end. Since he retired after winning United’s 20th Premier League title, the Red Devils have not been able to get anywhere near a league title.

After Ferguson departed, United were left with a huge void to fill. His successor and handpicked option, David Moyes, was not up to the task. The next course of action for United was buying quick fix superstars with the aim of bringing success. However, that move too backfired with players such as Radamel Falcao, Angel Di Maria and more recently Alexis Sanchez all underperforming at the club. Bouncing from manager to manager, reshaping the United style of play and lack of proper leadership became commonplace for the once-great Manchester-based club.

The constant denominator in that period is the fact United never had a Director of Football. Do they need one? The simple answer to that is yes. Currently, Executive Vice-Chairman Ed Woodward calls the shots in terms of key football decisions such as transfers. This is essentially a role that would be best performed by someone who has played the game and understands all its aspect. Woodward has great pedigree in terms pulling the financial and commercial strings. However, he falls short when it comes to footballing decisions.

United will play their 16th game of the current campaign when they travel to Bournemouth on November 2, 2019. The hosts have been tipped 3.10 to win while United are 2.25. Marcus Rashford, who scored against Norwich City has been tipped 5.25 to score first in the match. Strike partner Anthony Martial is tipped by Bwin 5.75 to score first in this one. Bwin has both teams to score at 1.65. It will be a tight encounter but free slots are available to you as you test your mind to predict this one.

At this stage of the season, it is unlikely that United will sign a Director of Football. However, what could such a person bring to the club? As earlier stated, a former footballer who understands the game will be an ideal fit. He will be able to advise the coaching staff from an informed position and also identify the kind of players that the club needs. Solskjaer can then focus on coaching and putting his tactics right for every match.

Jose Mourinho, before the start of the 2018/2019 season, predicted that the Red Devils would struggle. He desperately wanted another top central defender. This did not come to materialise because those in charge did not have the same kind of thinking. Indeed, United struggled defensively and Mourinho ended up paying the price. What would a Director of Football do in that situation? By then, he would have worked with the manager directly and pushed for the necessary signing(s) to be made. After all, United do have the financial clout to get virtually any player in the world. Secondly, the Director of Football would take care of the players who are deemed surplus to requirements and facilitate their transfer to ensure that the club not only has the cash to reinvest but also invest in the right kind of players.

So who fits the bill? There has been talk of a bunch of former Manchester United players such as Rio Ferdinand and Edwin Van Der Sar linked with taking charge as the Director of Football. Getting former United players is a good approach as they understand the history and philosophy of the club. They will be better placed to put their heart into the job and help in the rebuilding process. The only stumbling block would be Woodward. Would he be willing to let the Director of Football perform his role independently? Will the funds needed be availed to him and the manager? Only time will tell but what is certain is that having a Director of Football is a step in the right direction if United are finally to hit the ground running in the post-Fergie era.