Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs has assumed control of the club until the end of the season, but questions abound on the future of the club. What is the best way forward?
Employ an old hand
At 5/4, Louis van Gaal is leading the race to become Manchester United’s new gaffer. But at 62 years, van Gaal is merely a stop-gap and should be acknowledged as such. Asking Giggs or even Paul Scholes to learn their trade as assistant manager under van Gaal, much as Zinedine Zidane is learning off Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid, might create a more natural transition.
Clear the deadwood
If there is one criticism to be made of Sir Alex Ferguson, it is for leaving Manchester United with an immense rebuilding job, without creating a line of young, quality talent to be blooded into the squad to replace aging stars. Paul Pogba, for example, could have solved many of Manchester United’s current problems in midfield.
But new opportunities are plenty: Nemanja Vidiæ has already signed for Inter Milan on a pre-contract, while Patrice Evra too is likely to move. Rio Ferdinand too is in the twilight of his career, while Robin van Persie might have a season at the top left in him but no more.
The need now is to ruthlessly give the chop to the underperformers — Ashley Young, Nani, etc — and to reduce the dependence on those who might be getting on.
Sort out internal club affairs
The transfer window of summer 2013 was a shambles, in part because of CEO Ed Woodward’s inexperience at handling transfers. Ensuring that the operational and commercial aspects of the club remain well-oiled needs to be priority, but for that, United will have to sort out the club’s internal structure.
Identify realistic targets
Much of the rebuilding job hinges on whether the right targets are identified and acquired, or if United set themselves up for failure. With a “big-name” manager likely to come in, attracting top targets should not be an issue for a brand as big as Manchester United.
But it is worth remembering that the United job is now a project, in need of painstaking rebuilding. Players who arrive might be project players too — talented and young, but still learning their trade. Patience is key.
Its only one year of fiasco. Keep calm, Ferguson’s legacy can still be reclaimed and restored. The club — any club, let alone a behemoth such as Manchester United — outlives adversity when viewed from the prism of long-term benefit. It’ll only turn into a farce if the same situation were to be repeated with the new man.