Poor rich club, Manchester United, which brought its last trophy to its shiny windows in May 2017 and since then has been the world leader in the relationship between expenses and income to manage its squad (it invested 812 million euros in reinforcements and captured 216 .9 in transfers for a negative differential that is close to 600 million). At Old Trafford they sell cheap and sign expensive, but they don’t get stronger. “We need quality players,” explained new coach Erik Ten Hag after losing (4-0) at Brentford, the second consecutive debacle after the poor start at home against Brighton (0-2). United looks bottom in the English championship. “You’re going to go down with Fulham,” the Brentford fans sang to him this Saturday.
The Premier League turns 30 this Monday. “Soccer did not start in 1992. But it was then that the sport grew forever,” explains a documentary broadcast on English television, one of the pillars of a change that contributed to the gigantism of several emblematic clubs. None like Manchester United championed that mutation that generated business alliances that made it the club that earned the most income on the planet for decades. Today, after the effects of the pandemic and before his third campaign in five years outside the Champions League, he is still the fifth that generates the most resources. And the one that exposes them the worst on the green.
Manchester United won the first Premier League, something that would have nothing special if it weren’t for the fact that it hadn’t won the League for 26 years. Before that 1992-93 season, he had won seven championships. After that catharsis he raised thirteen, all with Sir Alex Ferguson at the controls. Since the Scottish myth went to the reserve, in 2013, the 1,430 million euros spent on footballer signings have brought the club just one Europa League, one Cup and one League Cup. Brentford’s four goals, received in just 25 minutes before the break, have finished dismantling the small theater, and in midsummer. In the television broadcast, Gary Neville, who when he was an upright right-back climbed in the wake of success and now acts as a steely critic, put his finger on the problem: “The club has always responded to the anger of the fans through the money. The problem now is that nobody wants our money and that is a problem. We have a great football club, but what level player wants to come to the team now?
Cristiano Ronaldo wants to leave. His gestures in Brentford betrayed his weariness. Until the second goal he tried to lift the team, then he fell as coach Erik Ten Hag, who looked between stunned and overwhelmed. And he alluded to individual errors, especially under the sticks. David de Gea asked for the floor to take the blame for the first two goals, but it seems clear that it is not just about that. At Manchester United there is neither football nor leadership. There is neither a sports management nor a manager with dictation. Darren Fletcher, a former complementary player with Ferguson, took over last March a kind of technical direction that piloted the umpteenth swerve: Ten Hag is the eighth coach to sit on his bench since the Glasgow coach’s retirement.
The clamor is directed towards the property of the club, in the hands of the Glazer family. Malcom, the patriarch, a New Yorker of Jewish and Lithuanian origin, began buying shares in the club in 2003 and took control of it in 2005. Ferguson always maintained that the owners never made day-to-day sports or executive decisions. A year after Sir Alex stepped aside, Glazer passed away, the man who owned Manchester United, but he never loved him. He never set foot in Old Trafford. Today the club-“rotten”, as Neville defines it- belongs to his six children. The debt, despite the skyrocketing spending on footballers, swells and exceeds 500 million euros.
Manchester United have lost their last seven league games away from home, something that hasn’t happened since 1936. In them they scored two goals and conceded 21. His last prospect in the market was to offer, in vain, eight million euros for Arnautovic , who is 33 years old and plays for Bologna. He is now trying to close an agreement with the Frenchman Rabiot. The anger of the fans skyrockets. This summer the investment is limited, for now, to paying 15 million for the Dutch winger Malacia and 58 for the central defender Lisandro Martinez, who at the break in Brentford stayed in the dugout with Shaw and Bruno Fernandes. “I actually could have changed everyone,” Ten Hag clarified at the end. No one can guarantee that the reinforcements will improve the team. The club is used to paying premium prices for players who don’t perform. Pogba (105 million euros), Lukaku (85), Fred (59), Matic (45) or Mhkitaryan (42) arrived at the team with Mourinho at the helm. After the dismissal of the Portuguese coach in December 2018, the disaster is even greater: Maguire (85 million), Wan Bissaka (55), Sancho (85), Varane (40) or Van de Beek (39) offer nothing. And Bruno Fernandes, for whom they paid 63 million, has been diluted and was one of those who went to the booth at rest in the Brentford catastrophe. The next day, on Monday 22, Old Trafford visits Liverpool, the arch-rival that last season solved the two league duels with a 0-5 in Manchester and a 4-0 in Anfield.
You can follow EL PAÍS Sports in Facebook Y Twitteror sign up here to receive our weekly newsletter.
Source: EL PAIS