Erik ten Hag might have failed as a result of Joel Glazer’s broken commitment to Manchester United.
Joel Glazer promised Man United supporters something last year, but the American owner has already broken that promise.
In April of last year, Joel Glazer came out of hiding to publish an open letter to Manchester United supporters. The European Super League idea had just fallen through, and the club’s American owners were now visibly furious.
Glazer wrote, offering to make amends, “We got it wrong, and we want to prove that we can set things right.” Supporters rejected the promise right away because they knew it was pointless; they are not naive.
Little seems to have changed at the club in the year after the Glazers made their vow to make things right. Frustratingly, the issues at Old Trafford are not new.
The Dutchman can only succeed with the team at his disposal, but throughout preseason, Erik ten Hag seemed to be the dictatorial personality the locker room needed.
Only three new players were added this summer, and the starting lineup for the match against Brighton on Sunday hardly changed. The only new faces were Lisandro Martinez and Christian Eriksen.
Last season, United finished with their lowest Premier League point total ever, and it was obvious that every position needed to be strengthened.
Although neither position has been filled, United ought to have prioritized acquiring a defensive midfielder and a center-forward. The club’s persistent support for Ten Hag in the transfer market has reached absurd levels.
This summer, the team was eager to offer Ten Hag all he requested, and the 52-year-old brought in three players with Eredivisie pedigree. United is in need of an identity and a vision, and they are hoping that Ten Hag can fill both roles.
That is not how a premier soccer team should be managed. Ten Hag needs the club’s help, but it should be reasonable. A framework must be in place to guarantee sustained and aligned recruitment.
There should be continuity, yet there is terribly little of it.
Mohamed Salah was famously not something Jurgen Klopp wanted to sign, but Liverpool’s scouting division and administration thought it was the perfect deal. At United, John Murtough is in charge of selecting players for the first team, and the current transfer market is a circus.
Even though United was humiliated by Brighton at the weekend, the revelation that their interest in Marko Arnautovic was real made things worse. When he was told, Arnautovic might have even believed it to be a joke.
It would be a compliment to label Arnautovic as average considering he has played for Werder Bremen, Stoke City, West Ham United, and Shanghai Port. However, United views him as a practical, short-term option to assist the starting attackers.
He is also viewed favorably by United as a dressing room personality. When Arnautovic celebrated his goal at Euro 2020, he insisted that he was “not a racist.” He was accused of using an anti-Albanian slur, and after an inquiry, UEFA punished him with a one-game suspension. The reason United are willing to sign Arnautovic should also be looked at.
Adrien Rabiot is qualified to play for United, but it is embarrassing how the team has been forced to scramble for new players following a public transfer crisis with Barcelona and a loss to Brighton.
Rabiot has a history with top European teams, but French fans have frequently found his selection for the national team to be puzzling. The midfielder is a step up over the team’s current crop, but he’s hardly a brilliant option.
The fans who survived the humiliation of last season hoped naively that the team would make amends this summer.
As evidence that Manchester United has lost their identity, the club’s interest in Arnautovic has turned it into a ridiculous situation.
This summer, the club let down Ten Hag, and the fans will undoubtedly suffer the most as a result. Joel Glazer made a last year’s commitment to make things right, but nothing at the club has been right for ten years. Too many promises have been broken.
The season will undoubtedly be determined by the final three weeks of the transfer window.