Manchester United have made a disastrous start to the 2023/24 season. Currently, they have lost half of the matches they have played (eight games out of 16) and find themselves in a very difficult situation in the league table. In fact, they occupy eighth place in the league with eighteen points, a far cry from the third place they achieved last season.
In the Champions League, more of the same. They are currently in third place in their group, and could have been bottom of the table had it not been for Onana‘s penalty saved in the last minute of the last game against Danish side Copenhagen.
Old Trafford haven’t seen such a bad start to a season in a long time, not since 1962/63 with Matt Busby on the bench.
The situation looks more worrying when we look at the team’s home record. They have lost five of their ten home games. The last time they had such a negative run no one in the ‘Red Devil’ squad was born, more than ninety years ago.
The Red Devils’ difficult situation is due to several factors revolving around the players, the coach and the management.
A troubled dressing room:
Firstly, Erik Ten Hag has been heavily criticised for not knowing how to manage a squad with players who have had several controversial episodes so far this season.
The well-known Greenwood case has had a major impact on the club, as well as the controversy with the Brazilian Antony, accused of abuse towards his ex-girlfriend and two other women.
Another problem has been the confrontation that the Dutch coach had with Jadon Sancho, who ended up taking the young player away from the team, after declaring that he was not giving 100% in training.
Signings that don’t work:
Manchester United stood out during the past summer transfer window for being one of the teams that spent the most money on signings. Even so, the new additions have failed to live up to expectations.
André Onana was brought in for a fee of around fifty-two million euros to replace De Gea in the Red Devils’ goal. However, the Nigerian has had the opposite effect: he has made the Red Devils’ fans in Manchester yearn for the Spanish goalkeeper more and more every day.
Rasmus Højlund is another signing who has not adapted to English football. The Dane arrived as a star player, being the team’s most expensive transfer this season (seventy-four million euros) and, several months later, his goal counter is still at zero in the Premier League. He has only managed to score three goals in his new shirt, and they have all been in European competition.
Finally, Mason Mount was another promising signing who swapped Chelsea for Manchester United this summer and has yet to deliver the expected results. The almost sixty-five million that was paid for him is weighing heavier by the day in the ‘theatre of dreams’.
A club with an uncertain owner:
Added to all these problems with the squad is the great uncertainty at an institutional level with the ownership of the club.
There are rumours, which are gaining strength by the day, of a possible purchase of 25% of the club by the multimillionaire James Arthur Ratcliffe. The English businessman has reportedly offered a two hundred and eighty million euro investment to improve Manchester United’s infrastructure.
A proposal that has created great uncertainty among the Glazer family, the current owners of the team, and the directors of the Manchester team.
Despite the recent league victory, the future of Manchester United doesn’t look good. We will see if in the next few days they can reverse the current situation of total decline.
Translated by Marcos Rodríguez.
Main image: @ManUtd.