Manchester United's summer of upheaval
- A look on Manchester United's summer plans and the transfer activity of the club in the summer transfer window
Despite being one of the most followed clubs on earth, Manchester United are a far cry from the time when they used to terrorize teams across the European footballing landmass.
Over the past few years, the on-pitch successes have stalled with United last winning the 2016-17 Europa League. Since then they've been resigned to see their Premier League rivals Liverpool, Manchester City, and Chelsea go on to achieve major successes both domestically and continentally.
The season that has gone by bears no exception to this.
Having finished in second place behind a record-breaking Manchester City side, a lot of expectations were placed on the red side from Manchester in the 2018-19 season.
But United finished a lowly sixth, 32 points behind champions City who won the league for a second consecutive year. It was their second 6th placed finish in the past three years. They were knocked out of the FA Cup by Wolverhampton losing 2-1 in the quarterfinal and shockingly lost in the League Cup third round against Championship side Derby County on penalties.
The Champions League also ended on a sour note with United being emphatically dispatched in the quarterfinal by a Messi inspired Barcelona 4-0 on aggregate.
Having endured such a torrid season, criticism was placed on the players for their lack of effort and professionalism with many of the ex-club players lamenting the lack of professionalism that the players had.
Inconsistency and lack of efforts from players like Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard and especially record earner Alexis Sanchez have made the trio cannon fodder for the media.
The conservative tactics and boring football deployed during Mourinho's reign also received continuous flak from the media, fans and experts alike which led to his eventual resignation.
The summer of 2019
Having seen a barren run over the last few years for a club of United's stature calls for change and the initial moves have been made in the summer transfer window. The club have identified the need for appointing a Director of Football for the first time in the club's history with Paul Mitchell of RB Leipzig, club icon player Rio Ferdinand are being considered as major candidates for the post.
Earlier in the season, United bid farewell to long-term United players Antonio Valencia and Ander Herrera both of whom became free agents.
One potentially high-profile exit could be striker Romelu Lukaku who has reportedly agreed on personal terms with Inter Milan and now awaits the green signal from United who's asking price is in excess of £60mn. Club record-signing Paul Pogba is a reported £150mn transfer target for Juventus and Real Madrid with both rumoured to be interested in adding the World Cup winner to their ranks.
United initially targeted on signing a defender, a winger, and a striker to complement Marcus Rashford as part of their squad overhaul.
United recently completed the signing of Welsh winger Daniel James from Swansea City for a reported £15mn having earlier given up in their pursuit of Borussia Dortmund starlet Jadon Sancho.
Another major player United are interested in signing is Crystal Palace's Aaron Wan-Bissaka who has had a breakthrough campaign with the Eagles. Having seen an initial offer of £40mn rejected, United have been set a price of £60mn for the services of the England international which the English giants hope to complete a deal off in the coming days.
Club sources have identified Atletico Madrid keeper Jan Oblak as a replacement for the possible exit of De Gea to Real Madrid or PSG with the former also reportedly interested in the move that could be worth £100mn. Other major targets include Sporting CP duo of Bruno Fernandes and Joao Felix for a combined fee of £150mn and West Ham centre-back Issa Diop for a fee of £45mn plus a player in exchange.
Despite being linked with such starlets, United face an uphill battle to add players to their ranks in such a competitive market. They will have to act quickly, smartly, and assess their targets in order to create a strong team for the new season.
All eyes will be on Ole as he prepares for his first season as permanent manager. His success will be scrutinized as he looks to resurrect United to their former glory and bring success back to Old Trafford reminiscent of the club's heydays.