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The Transfer Window That Promised So Much But Delivered So Little: Another Manager Hung Out To Dry

In 2018 Jose Mourinho guided Manchester United to a 2nd place finish guaranteeing Champions League Football for the following season. In the summer transfer window Mourinho wasn’t backed and by December he was gone. Solskjaer is now finding himself in the same situation. Just like Mourinho he gave the board a list of targets and once again the board have failed to deliver.

In July United agreed personal terms with Solskjaer’s main target Jadon Sancho. 3 months later and he’s still a Borussia Dortmund player. It’s no good agreeing personal terms with players if you aren’t going to pay the clubs asking price. From the start they were told Sancho would cost them €120 million and the fee needed to be paid upfront.

Although United knew this they instead offered so much upfront with the rest in add ons and Dortmund simply weren’t having it. Now United face stiff competition from other European clubs for Sancho’s signature next summer.

The Right Wing wasn’t the only area that needed strengthening. United desperately needed another CB, LB and a CDM to at some point replace Nemajna Matic. The Left Back problem looks to of been solved with the signing of Alex Telles from Porto, many would say its about time.

Manchester United sign Alex Telles from FC Porto in Deadline Day deal |  London Evening Standard
Credit: Evening Standard

United also signed Cavani, Van de Beek, and youngsters Amad Diallo & Facundo Pellistri to bolster the squad. The signing’s that have been made are good but once again the area’s that needed improving the most have been neglected.

After Solskjaer lead United back into the Champions League he would of been expecting much more of a backing from the board but it hasn’t happened. He isn’t the first United manager to experience this and he certainly won’t be the last. Eight years down the line and the situation is still the same!

  1. Appoint new manager
  2. Back him in the first season
  3. Team gets CL Football
  4. Manager doesn’t get backed
  5. Team struggle
  6. Manager gets the sack
  7. Repeat cycle

Manchester United’s net spend since 2013/14
2013/14: £67.8m
2014/15: £131.5m (van gaal’s first season)
2015/16: £48.5m
2016/17: £124.0m ( Mourinho’s first)
2017/18: £97.6m
2018/19: £46.9m
2019/20: £120.2m ( Solskjaer’s first)
2020/21: £35.0m

Notice a pattern?

It seems once United achieve a decent league position/get back into the Champions League, the owners are happy to take the money rather than invest it back into the team. Then inevitably the team struggle and the manager is the one who takes the blame.

Now as expected the vultures are starting to circle over Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and it seems its just a matter of time before he is the next manager to pay the price for the owners/boards incompetence. Ed Woodward has been firing manager’s for 8 years but It’s very clear that he should be pointing the finger at himself and the Glazers. They are the ones who should be walking the plank but instead it’s the managers who inevitably take the fall.


Manchester United are arguably the biggest club in the world but as long as the Glazer’s are the owners and Woodward is CEO, things will never change. The Glazer’s have a very firm grip on United and they don’t intend on letting go anytime soon! From the moment they took control the club has been a cash cow for them and year after year they’ve taken out more than they’ve put in.

One day the dark clouds swirling above this great club will clear and once again the sun will shine down on the Old Trafford pitch.

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Andrew Belcher
34. Sports Coach. Manchester United season ticket holder ⚽

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