Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has reshaped the Manchester United squad quite dramatically over the past few months.
It has been left unbalanced, but he has made some undeniable progress in terms of personnel.
Marouane Fellaini, Antonio Valencia, Ander Herrera, Romelu Lukaku, and Alexis Sanchez have all been moved on.
While Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Marcos Rojo, and Matteo Darmian remain at the club, Solskjaer’s actions this season indicate that he sees them as emergency options only.
The job is incomplete, but it is progress. United are remodelling a squad which was in dire need of a makeover.
What Solskjaer has done in terms of additions has been positive. Dan James, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire look like excellent signings.
No more players can be added until at least January, so Solskjaer has to work with his half-complete squad.
It is perfectly set up for young players to come in and fill the gaps. It appears as though Solskjaer has planned this.
Overpaid and ageing players are being moved on, with younger talent primed to take their place.
Lean into it
Solskjaer is at the point now where he needs to go ‘all in’ on his vision for youth.
This means Tahith Chong, Mason Greenwood, James Garner, Angel Gomes, and the next wave of players like Dylan Levitt and Brandon Williams need chances.
With United’s thin squad, this set of players might not get a better chance.
Frustratingly, over the first few weeks of the season, United haven’t really pushed their faith in the young players particularly hard, despite a good pre-season.
Greenwood has only featured from the bench, while Angel Gomes has not got that far.
James Garner and Tahith Chong have been back with the under-23s, where their performances have been terrific.
Europa League and Carabao Cup matches provide a platform for the players to ease their way in, but Solskjaer needs to be more pushy than this over the coming weeks.
He has allowed United to let go of experienced attacking players, and decided against signing a right winger or a central midfielder.
The stage is set for Chong, Garner, Greenwood and Chong. Now he needs to be more aggressive about playing them.
If he continues to leave them out, United’s transfer and squad building stance will begin to look more puzzling, than visionary.
Having come this far, the time for caution is over.
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