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Premier League: Glazer's Martial protection epitomizes everything that's wrong with Manchester United

ANALYST
Feature
1.55K   //    15 May 2019, 19:14 IST

There are a lot of things wrong with Manchester United at the moment, but nothing quite captures it like the bizarre piece of news published by the Mirror yesterday.

Anthony Martial, who signed a new contract in January that would keep him at Old Trafford until 2023, is apparently viewed by Joel Glazer as the "Pele of the club" (whatever that means), and hence will not be sold in the summer.

Manchester United v Cardiff City - Premier League
Manchester United v Cardiff City - Premier League

This is in spite of manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær's desire to do so. You'd think the man who works with the players every day would know more about them than a stakeholder.

It's also an indication of why the club has fallen to such incredible depths - a microcosm of the chaotic interference into its affairs by owners who clearly have no long term vision.

United's fall from grace has coincided with the Premier League's resurgence on the continental stage, with all four European finalists this season being from England. The only other side from the top 6 not competing in Europe is Manchester City, who have anyway become the first team since 2009 to retain the league title, and will play Watford in the FA Cup final this weekend.

United, on the other hand, have experienced their worst campaign since David Moyes. Some would argue that 2018-19 has been even worse than that fateful season when they finished 7th, simply because of the massive gulf in quality between them and the current English elite.

One common aspect among those elite clubs can be identified as the relative freedom granted to their managers. The likes of Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp are football geniuses, and have been allowed to shape Man City and Liverpool in their own image. Those teams are now enjoying the rewards of the trust they endowed on the managers.

City have amassed 100 and 98 points in two successive seasons. Liverpool are in their second Champions League final in two years, and even if they lose out to Pochettino's Spurs, the foundations have been laid, and silverware is on the horizon.

By contrast, United currently look like a club under the stranglehold of an ownership that will neither give control to the people who actually know football, nor cut their losses and sell the club.

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The enormous criticism heaped on Ed Woodward is completely understandable, and yet you have to wonder how much blame he deserves when you read articles like the one mentioned above.

The Glazers are sucking money out of the club while their competitors are getting infusions of cash that continue to take them farther up the ladder. Approximately £1 billion has gone into the Glazers' coffers in the same amount of time in which City have received investments of over £1.4 billion.

Manchester United Training Session and Press Conference
Manchester United Training Session and Press Conference

True, money isn't everything; Ajax have shown us that this season. But the Dutch champions have already lost two of their best players, and will certainly be cut open and harvested in the summer transfer window.

The Red Devils are in dire need of an overhaul, but Solskjær doesn't seem too optimistic about his side's ability to sign players. The allure of playing at Old Trafford isn't the problem, although it has significantly decreased in the last 5 years; the availability of funds is.

The Glazers were happy to throw money around in the years immediately following Alex Ferguson's retirement in the hope of staying at the top. That resulted in disastrous signings like Radamel Falcao and Angel di Maria - players who hadn't been scouted thoroughly enough, and were roped in simply for their reputations.

It seems now that they've taken the wrong lessons from those mistakes. They'll probably continue to withhold much-needed funds from Woodward and Solskjær in the fear of signing another Di Maria, and will continue to interfere in the club's summer business.

Martial has been a relatively popular player, but his inconsistency and work rate have been truly shocking this season. Solskjær's desire to sell him is perfectly justifiable for those who have followed the 23-year-old this season.

The likes of Daniel James and Nicolas Pepe have been touted as potential signings - players who could replace Martial. Pundits and fans may question the reasoning behind chasing an obscure 21-year-old Championship star, but Solskjær clearly has his reasons.

But if the Glazers don't trust him to do what needs to be done, they never should have green-lit his appointment in the first place.

It's becoming increasingly clear that the rot goes above Woodward. Unless a change in ownership and a complete restructuring takes place, it's hard to see things changing for the better in the red half of Manchester.

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