It was after a 4-0 loss to Everton in April 2019 that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer suggested it was the end of the road for some of the Manchester United players he had inherited from José Mourinho.
Appointed caretaker manager in December and then permanent boss three months later, Solskjaer was looking to build United’s next great team and after seeing a chaotic performance at Goodison Park, he warned some of his squad not to be part of it.
“We can’t change the whole team, but it’s one step at a time,” Solskjaer said. “I’m going to be successful here and there are players there who won’t be part of that successful team.”
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In the end, Solskjaer’s confidence in his own role in United’s turnaround was not matched by the results, but you can imagine Erik ten Hag having a similar thought as he watched the unraveling at Anfield on Sunday. The 7-0 defeat to Liverpool, equaling United’s worst ever result, will not be quickly forgotten.
There is a theory that one of Solskjaer’s problems was that the sacrifice he predicted in the Everton press room never materialized and of the team that was so heavily beaten on Merseyside, nine were still at the club when the Norwegian was sacked more than two years later.
Ten Hag, you’ve fired Cristiano Ronaldo and publicly reprimanded Mark Rashford since he took over last summer, he has already proven to be much more ruthless. The Dutchman’s favorite phrase since taking over has been “good is not good enough” and although this group has won the club’s first trophy in six years and is still on course to qualify for the Champions League, the bar will be raised again. to go up. of the next season.
have hag brought casemiro, Lisandro Martinez, anthony and Tyrell Malaysia last summer at a cost of over £220m and the next stage of the rebuild, budget permitting, will likely include a striker, midfielder, wing-back and goalkeeper as United look to move closer to victory. the Premier League and the Champions League.
The ownership situation is up in the air as the Glazer family looks for “strategic alternatives” and there are concerns about financial Fair Play, but work has already begun on plans for the summer transfer window and there will be money to spend. To make room in the squad for new additions, there will have to be departures and several players who were part of the embarrassment at Liverpool could find they are already in their final months at Old Trafford.
harry maguire, signed by Leicester City for £80m in 2019, is a no-brainer having been limited to just five league starts this season. West Ham’s interest in January was turned down, but the England defender faces a decision in the summer on whether or not to seek regular football elsewhere.
Fred He has a contract until 2024 after his one-year extension was activated in December, but Ten Hag is interested in bringing another midfielder and there is interest again at Barcelona Frenkie de Jong and Borussia Dortmund Jude Bellingham — although both deals are seen within the contracting department as “difficult.”
The renovation of the midfield would also affect Scott McTominayFuture Eddie Howe is a fan of the Scotland international, but Newcastle United have so far refused to make any kind of concrete approach due to United’s £40m-plus valuation.
Aaron Wan Bissakaas good as it has been since the World Cup, and Antonio Elanga would also be vulnerable in Ten Hag’s summer shakeup as the club is also trying to renegotiate David De Gea‘s, which expires in the summer, with reduced wages. De Gea has impressed Ten Hag this season, but he believes having a goalkeeper more comfortable with the ball would help his team better control games.
United is also ready to hold meetings with dean hendersonrepresentatives this month before making a decision about their future. Henderson spent the season on loan at Nottingham Forest and United refused to include an option to make the deal permanent when it was completed in July. Henderson, 25, wants regular football to help win a place in the England squad.
Everything was going so well for Ten Hag in his first season until the nightmare in Liverpool and while he would never choose to lose that much, it serves as a timely reminder about how much work still needs to be done.
Solskjaer’s much-needed overhaul of an underperforming team did not come and his team never reached the heights he predicted. Ten Hag is the latest manager trying to get United back to the top of domestic and European football and while the journey so far has been positive, there are some players who won’t make the rest of the journey.