The 2021/2022 season has been a nightmare for everyone associated with Manchester United. Another campaign without a trophy is bad enough, but seeing rivals Liverpool and Manchester City dominate the Premier League has added to their disappointment. How likely are United to reach those dizzying heights again?
Let’s explore the current situation at Old Trafford and how the club can start to perform at the highest level again.
The current state of play
This campaign started positively. A great opening day performance against Leeds United and the signings of Raphael Varane, Jadon Sancho and then Cristiano Ronaldo only added to the optimism. There was a general hubbub of excitement among fans and pundits, alike.
However, there was then an awful run of form that saw manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sacked. Before the season, they were among the favorites to lift the title. The situation now, however, is very different. The latest Premier League odds see Manchester United priced at odds of 19/1 to finish in the top four and subsequently qualify for next season’s Champions League.
Most experts believe there needs to be an extensive rebuild this summer if they are to challenge again. Some pundits have said that the club needs to sign world-class players in all areas before they can challenge again. Like many of Europe’s biggest clubs, they have been linked with all manner of talent, but it remains to be seen if the current issues will put new signings off.
The ownership issues at the club
There are a variety of issues off the pitch. Some have argued that United’s problems are solely the result of the Glazer family’s ownership, with many United fans having protested against their club’s ownership for 17 years now. Many argue that the club won’t return to the top of English football whilst the American owners remain in charge.
Some fans took this protest to another level and formed their own club in May 2005. FC United of Manchester is owned by its supporters. They are a club that argues that fans should be at the forefront of any football club. It will be interesting to see they develop in recent seasons if the Glazers remain at Old Trafford.
Can Manchester United be successful next season?
Different United fans will have different definitions of success. Some believe that the high standards delivered by Sir Alex Ferguson should be the norm for the club as they used to dominate Premier League campaigns. Other fans might be happy to qualify for the Champions League and win a trophy.
Should United make the changes required, on and off the pitch, who could bet against them challenging for the title? After all, Leicester City won the title in 2016 as 5,000/1 outsiders. Despite the poor results and performances this season, some have suggested that they have the makings of a world-class team. They say that the club needs a better structure and coaching system to get the best out of its players. If all of this happens, Manchester United could rise to the top of the English game again.