This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
Out of all the clubs in the proverbial ‘big six’ last season, Manchester United were seemingly the ones in need of the most amount of surgery. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s mid-season arrival as manager heralded a minor surge, but that turn in form only proved to be the exception to the mean by the end of the campaign.
After finishing outside of the Champions League places, and ending the season on two embarrassing results to already-relegated Huddersfield and Cardiff, United were certainly hoping for a big summer.
Instead, the club’s early deals for Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka have been met with weeks of relative inactivity, and swoops for the club’s main targets like Harry Maguire and Sean Longstaff are seemingly not any closer.
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So, Solskjaer’s comments on how the remainder of the transfer window could turn out makes for alarming reading. The Norwegian said: “I believe in these players and I’m sure that we could do well (this season). But it’s about both short-term and long-term, so of course when we’re working on something, that means we’ve identified something that could improve us.
“If it’s to be or not to be let’s see, but these (current) players, as you’ve said, have played well. We’ve performed well, we’ve had some good results and the whole pre-season so far has been encouraging.”
Whilst pre-season has yielded some impressive performances – particularly from the club’s younger players – this remains the same core that failed the club so spectacularly last season. The same players who had their attitudes questioned. The same players whose very futures at the club were in major doubt.
Instead, Solskjaer’s suggestions seem to imply that pre-season has seen them turn over a new leaf, and that somewhat blinded belief could be United’s undoing next season. Trusting in the same set of players who let the side down time and time again.
The Norwegian admitted that the club were keen on bringing in new players, but his revelation that he was sure his current group could “do well” is bone-chilling. The Red Devils could be in for a rude awakening in the early weeks of the campaign if no new additions arrive at Old Trafford and they slip into old die-hard habits, and no doubt people will be pointing back to these famous last words from Solskjaer.