Manchester United are at the club’s lowest point in the post-Fergie era. Sitting 20th in the Premier League table, this is an indisputable fact, rather than opinion.
Turning United around is no easy task, and Erik ten Hag has his hands tied by the club’s woefully under-prepared transfer business.
Ten Hag needs to take matters into his own hands and be proactive with the squad he has at his disposal.
This involves taking three radical decisions to put his own stamp on the squad…
Drop David de Gea
David de Gea has free reign in goal at Manchester United, and this shouldn’t be the case. Arguably the club’s most well-rounded goalkeeper is on loan at Nottingham Forest and may never play for the club again.
United’s current options to replace De Gea are Tom Heaton, Matej Kovar and Nathan Bishop. Of those, only really Heaton could step in.
Erik ten Hag still has time to force through a change. Brentford’s David Raya or Brighton’s Robert Sanchez have both displaced De Gea in the Spain squad and would be an upgrade. As would Wolves’ Jose Sa.
United need to be bold while the transfer window is open and sign a player who can replace De Gea. There is no use waiting until next season. The Spaniard is a liability.
Change the captain
Harry Maguire is a captain who is clearly failing to inspire this group of players. His place in the team should not be guaranteed either.
Ten Hag should recall Raphael Varane to the starting line-up and install him as captain. The Frenchman is a player whose record speaks for itself, and his quality will improve the team.
This would be a decision not made to placate a fanbase who want to see a change of captain, but to shake up the playing squad, and send a message that nobody is safe.
United’s team lacked character against Brentford, and have done for a while. Maguire has had his chance to lead, and failed, and should hand the armband over.
Axe Cristiano Ronaldo
Is is a coincidence that Manchester United’s pre-season positivity ended when Cristiano Ronaldo linked back up with the squad? Perhaps. But the Portuguese forward has not been part of the solution.
Ronaldo wants out and his presence is a distraction, a ticking timebomb waiting to go off.
Anthony Martial is fit again, and a new striker is expected to be signed before the deadline. We probably need two.
If a buyer can’t be found for Ronaldo, then United should work to terminate his contract and allow him to find a new club that way. It would be a tough decision to take, but one which could work out for the best for everybody.