Have Man United lost their wow factor in the modern era?

Under the notoriously long-term reign of Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford, Manchester United were a club very few could fail to respect in an honest manner. Fergie may have been given extra flexibility from English officials time and time again, his side were in-fact rather hate-worthy on the back of their aggressive approach – and much like a modern day Jose Mourinho perhaps – Sir Alex himself did somewhat prove a bit of a undignified loser in post-match interviews and the like.

However, no one could admittedly question the overall class of the Red Devils during his truly impressive spell at the club, or the level of success they reached year after year, after year. Ferguson certainly had his shortcomings as a character – but as a manager first and foremost – he was almost flawless.

Manchester United therefore developed themselves into arguably the greatest ever side of the Premier League era thanks to the efforts of their former boss. Yet now that both Louis van Gaal and the ill-fated David Moyes have tried their hand at steering the Old Trafford ship in recent seasons, the club have nonetheless drifted away from their once untouchable status among the English top-flight.

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So then, in light of such a reputation damaging notion for the Red Devils this season, have Manchester United seemingly lost their wow factor in the modern era?

Let’s face it, when Sir Alex left the Premier League back in 2013, his squad at Old Trafford did in-fact seem as if they were going to be in for a rough ride without their long-term boss in place.

He may well have won the Premier League title with those very same players that season – which simply goes to show how good a man-manager he really was – but the writing seemed on the wall for Manchester United, regardless of who took over in the dug-out.

David Moyes subsequently had to carry out a vast squad overhaul in order for the Red Devils to maintain their lofty status without Ferguson on board. Yet as the Old Trafford hierarchy failed to give the former Everton tactician enough time to implement himself comfortably in the Man United hot-seat, Moyes ultimately wasn’t handed a fair crack at the whip with all things considered.

Then – in the form of the eccentrically enigmatic Louis van Gaal – the Red Devils seemingly found themselves the next ‘perfect’ candidate to supposedly lead the team back to the top of the Premier League table. The club’s current Dutch boss had a massive task on his hands when he first moved to the English top-flight in the summer of 2014 – and even though truckloads of cash have routinely been thrown his way – the word ‘transition’ still seems the most applicable when dealing with the Red Devils.

However, despite wasting a great deal of resources on both Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao last term, Louis van Gaal now finds himself in almost exactly the same situation the club were experiencing in 2014/15. The former Barca, Ajax and Bayern Munich boss may have restored the team’s status back among the Premier League’s illustrious top-four – but very little improvement on the pitch has been carried out for the Old Trafford faithful to enjoy.

Despite the odd strong performance here and there this term, Manchester United have been considerably boring to watch. Louis van Gaal’s glaringly obvious long-ball tactics up to Marouane Fellaini have been questionable to say the least, and very few of his most high profile signings look to have been implemented correctly. Memphis Depay could well prove yet another colossal waste of money, Anthony Martial is simply not a winger, and the Red Devils really didn’t need to sign both Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin this summer.

Manchester United therefore seem to have more money than sense going on behind the scenes these days. It remains hard to work out if Louis van Gaal is actually some kind of managerial genius in the dug-out, or simply an entertaining nut-job who doesn’t quite know what he’s doing.

In the end, this current Red Devils outfit is but a mere shadow of the side developed under Sir Alex Ferguson. Despite all the money that has carelessly been spent at Old Trafford in recent years, the club have only taken backward steps without Fergie on board, and have subsequently lost their wow factor.

Time now to see if Manchester United will restore their towering reputation among the English top-flight – or simply drift off further in light of the club’s distinctly poor decision making in the last few seasons.