Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Badly Needs Better Backing by United Board

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Last night saw Manchester United make history by becoming the first club ever to lose an FA Cup, League Cup and European semi-final in the same season. The 2-1 loss to Sevilla in the Europa League semifinals was a wake-up call, it spotlighted exactly where United have weaknesses that still must be addressed.

For Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, now a full season and a half into his time at United, there is still an empty trophy case. Meanwhile Mikel Arteta, in his first year at Arsenal, has a FA Cup title, and he beat another rookie boss, Chelsea’s Frank Lampard, in the final match in order to obtain it.

That said, this is not an indictment of Solskjaer, but a message of “stand by your manager.” It’s time to get the cook the ingredients he needs to make his recipe.

United are yet to sign a single player this summer, and really it’s been all quiet on the western front with that, aside from Jadon Sancho, and we all know by now that Borussia Dortmund aren’t going to let go of him. So maybe now United CEO Ed Woodward and the c-suite types will finally get to work and bring OGS what he needs?

This development below is promising:

United spent big money last summer, ahead of last season, much like they do every summer. However, this summer they have a couple of big advantages in the transfer market. As Woodward has pointed out, it’s going to be a weird, toned down transfer window with less spending, due to numerous clubs having to pinch pennies, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

As Solskjaer himself has pointed out, this is advantageous for United, as they are one of the richest clubs in the world, and thus not feeling financially strapped right now. So let’s take a look at what should be on their summer shopping list.

Top Priority Category of Signings 

Central Defender Upgrade

You saw Bruno Fernandes and Victor Lindelof at odds yesterday on the pitch after the second goal, in which the central defender was clearly at fault. Kudos to Fernandes on being a leader and calling the Swede out.

Lindelof had a better season that the one prior, but the Red Devils need a better partner for team captain and world’s most expensive defender Harry Maguire. This problem isn’t anything new, it’s the part of the team that’s been the biggest problem area for much of the post Sir Alex Ferguson era.

United have addressed it, but their signings haven’t panned out as planned. Maybe we would not be saying this if Eric Bailly could stay healthy more consistently.

Left Back Upgrade/Depth

Speaking of unable to stay healthy on a consistent basis- that’s Luke Shaw to a T. The former Southampton man is solid and reliable when fit, but there’s a major drop-off from him to Brandon Williams. Opinions are divided on the youngster, who has potential, but just isn’t ready for prime time yet. Leicester City’s Ben Chilwell has been linked to Old Trafford this summer.

Fills a Need, but Not Urgent Category of Signings

Defensive Midfielder 

Fernandes and Pogba are creative attacking, offensive-minded midfield maestros, but they need more help in service within their position group. Nemanja Matic was re-upped, but he’s aging. Fred performed much better this season than last, but he doesn’t look like the answer right now.

Out Wide Attacking Player 

Obviously, Sancho fills this bill, but as it’s not going to happen, here is a link to reasons why not getting him isn’t the end of the world.

jadon sancho

Also, here’s a link to Sancho contingency plans. United shouldn’t break the bank on a winger or defensive midfielder if they sign one. They really should put that money towards beefing up the back line instead.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly contributes to WGN TVSports IllustratedChicago Now and SB Nation.

You can follow Banks, a former writer for Chicago Tribune.comon Twitter and his cat on Instagram.

 

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