Is Paul Pogba’s form the reason behind Manchester United’s decline?

By: |
September 29, 2019 12:18 AM

If Christian Eriksen is available in January, United would be better off by getting rid of a sulking Pogba.

Mind, Solskjaer so far has only one transfer window to work with. According to Gary Neville, the United boss needs at least three more.

Mason Greenwood turned the Astana defender left and he turned him right before slotting home through goalkeeper’s legs. The whole sequence felt like a throwback to Robin van Persie. It was a Europa League match and Greenwood scored his first goal for the Manchester United senior team. He also became United’s youngest-ever goal-scorer in a European competition. Greenwood is only 17 years old. He is the future of United if he can keep his head. Every cloud has a silver lining.

Marcus Rashford, out injured at the moment, is a prodigious talent. He will become world-class if he improves his finishing. The 21-year-old has vowed to take United back to the top. He is the present and the future of the club.

Scott McTominay is no Roy Keane, skill-set wise. But his passion matches the former United captain. The 22-year-old has leadership qualities. He is the present and the future of the club. Daniel James, a £15 million signing from Swansea, has brought in a cutting edge in the United forward line. Speed is his x-factor. He is 21 years of age and will get better.

Axel Tuanzebe, the 21-year-old centre-half, captained United in their League Cup fixture against Rochdale. That United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer chose him over Paul Pogba showed how highly he rates the youngster. Tuanzebe and Harry Maguire should be the team’s first-choice centre-half pairing going ahead. The situation isn’t all doom and gloom at Old Trafford.

A few days back, United released their quarterly figures, which showed the club achieved record revenues of £627.1 million over the past year. The club’s net debts have come down to £203.6 million. This is despite the fact that United failed to finish top-four in the Premier League last term, missing out on the Champions League football this season in the process. Their on-pitch travails didn’t hamper the business side progress. For a behemoth like United, it takes more than six seasons of football failures to lose the blue-chip status. But the club hierarchy can’t allow the freefall. United have already lost two matches and drew twice in the six games they have played in the Premier League this term. With just eight points, they are placed eighth at the moment. Things need to get better.

“We and our growing global fan base deserve success. Success means winning trophies. That target and that standard have never changed for Manchester United. The progress we have made on the business side underpins the continued investment in the football side. “Much of the progress made around that investment—in the academy, recruitment department and the training ground facilities—is behind the scenes and is therefore not immediately apparent to those on the outside looking in. These investments, together with the commitment we made to Ole and his coaching staff in March have given us the building blocks for success.

“While we are confident this investment will bring success and deliver results, it is important we are patient while Ole and his team build for the future,” the club’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward told in his briefing to the stakeholders. Jose Mourinho, as is his wont, chose to revel in a touch of schadenfreude. In the wake of United’s 2-0 defeat against West Ham United, the Portuguese ripped into his old club. “I can’t find any positives. We were bad last season, but I don’t see any improvement this season; even with three new players,” the ex-United manager told Sky Sports.

Mourinho hasn’t yet landed a coaching job after being sacked by United before Christmas last year. He now works as a TV pundit. Solskjaer at the moment is tiding up the messes that Mourinho left behind. It will take time. Mind, Solskjaer so far has only one transfer window to work with. According to Gary Neville, the United boss needs at least three more.

“He (Solskjaer) should get the transfer window in January, into the summer and next season. Then there has to be a progression, you have to see improvement. But look at Jurgen Klopp, it took four years before he won anything, but it started to get better after 12 months. It is a young team, and I as a Manchester United supporter believe, he should get this and next season,” the former United captain was quoted as saying by TV2.

Solskjaer has already hit the right note. He is going back to the United-way to move forward. His transfer business, the offloading of Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez and Chris Smalling, attested that. Like his mentor, Sir Alex Ferguson, the current United boss has turned to youth. But a lot will depend on his ability to develop the young players.

Tactically, Solskjaer is still a work in progress as a top-level manager. But his man-management so far has been impressive. He has secured the contract extensions of players who wouldn’t have put pen to paper if Mourinho were still the manager. “(Solskjaer) is part of the family, he was here for many years as a player, he knows the club well and most importantly the whole team is behind him, we will fight to the death for him,” David de Gea told DAZN. Only Paul Pogba remains an enigma. At a time, when United’s most expensive buy should act as an inspiration and lift the team, the midfielder is giving the wrong impression. He has been bang average on the pitch for far too long and from a distance it feels like he doesn’t care at all. If Christian Eriksen is available in January, United would be better off by getting rid of a sulking Pogba.

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