It’s a common question among fans: “How has Manchester United become a joke in 2025?” The answer, sadly, may surprise you. It’s not the players, of course, nor is it the coach, who are to blame for the deteriorating condition of the club. Rather, the problem lies in Rangnick’s inability to impose structure on United’s players, and the poor play of Frenkie de Jong.
Erling Haaland’s snore-inducing play
The Norwegian striker has a PS64.5 million release clause in his contract, and Manchester City are ready to go head-to-head with the Red Devils for his services. After spending most of last season without an outright striker, City opted to sign the 21-year-old for the club in a deal worth PS51m. However, the Norwegian has previously admitted to having T-shirts featuring Manchester City legend Sergio Aguero.
The Norwegian is reportedly concerned about the prospect of not being able to deliver on his promises on the pitch. If he does decide to sign for Manchester United in 2022, it will be purely due to the club’s need for a striker. Manchester United are not guaranteed to qualify for the Champions League next season, and they have already signed Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho. However, he has expressed a willingness to play in a different position if he thinks it will be better for his personal development.
The Norwegian striker’s availability for transfer in the summer suggests that Manchester City need him more than United. Cristiano Ronaldo is returning to Old Trafford for a two-year deal, and Haaland will have to compete with him for a starting spot. Manchester City also lack a quality centre-forward, and Gabriel Jesus and Ferran Torres aren’t quite up to the task.
Despite the release clause, Haaland has a long list of admirers in the English Premier League. This could mean a bidding war over his personal terms. Besides, there’s the issue of agent fees. In addition to Manchester United, other clubs are in the running for Haaland. A possible replacement for Pogba is Donny van de Beek.
Rangnick’s inability to impose structure on United players
There are many questions to ask about Rangnick’s future with Manchester United. In the past, the Austrian has failed to make his mark on the club’s football, and his inability to impose structure has been one of them. But he’s now taking responsibility for the team’s current malaise. Rangnick is now openly accepting blame for the club’s poor results, and the team is now struggling to adapt to his ideas and philosophy.
While Rangnick is being hailed as a coaching guru, there are also many questions surrounding his ability to impose structure on Manchester United players. His most famous tactic was pressing, but United rarely pressed when he was in charge, and his side continued to look disjointed after he was sacked in January. Some players seemed more comfortable with the sessions Rangnick arranged with Kier McKenna and Michael Carrick than those he did.
Although Rangnick had proven himself as a football manager, his failure to impose structure on the players made him a scapegoat for his failure as a manager. The Manchester United hierarchy has a long history of booting out strong, demanding personalities. That’s why Ralf Rangnick should have been axed from Manchester United before the summer. If Rangnick had succeeded in changing the culture of Manchester United, the club might have won the Premier League again.
The lack of experience in football structure could hamper Ten Hag’s ambitions for the club. While Rangnick’s network in Europe and expertise in football structure could be a factor, Ten Hag’s lack of experience will likely have a negative effect on Ten Hag’s transfer plans. Those two factors alone might make or break the club’s transfer plans. There’s also a question mark over Ten Hag’s desire to recruit top players.
Frenkie de Jong’s snore-inducing play
A move to Manchester United for Frenkie de Jong would seem to be a logical choice. The Dutch midfielder has played centre-back for Ajax 36 times, winger for Chelsea 93 times and held midfield 36 times for Barcelona. If the Netherlands manager wants to bring De Jong to Old Trafford, he can do so by begging Erik ten Hag to sign the Chelsea winger Ziyech for PS60 million.
Frenkie de Jong has been linked with a move to Manchester United for weeks. The Dutch club have held talks with Manchester United, but they have not closed a deal yet. According to sources, Manchester United have already agreed a fee with Barcelona. De Jong’s personal terms have come into play. He has said he is not in a hurry to leave Barcelona.
After playing for Ajax for so long, Frenkie de Jong’s technical skills are impeccable. He carries the ball well from the centre, and dribbles and passes through the box. The Dutch international has played in various positions and is at his best in midfield. Unfortunately, he has not been as successful at Barcelona as he had hoped. The Spanish club can be tough to play for, so it’s not surprising that he has had trouble settling in.
With the new regime, Ten Hag has an interesting plan for the team. He plans to overhaul the midfield, where Paul Pogba, Juan Mata and Nemanja Matic are due to depart. Ten Hag will likely attempt to replace the existing midfield with more effective options. It might take a few days for Malacia to adjust to Ten Hag’s approach but he’ll get there in the end.
Despite signing a new three-year contract in July, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was hardly a popular figure in the dressing room. Players often resorted to joking with each other or talking about Netflix recommendations during match time. His drab approach to touchline duties was often picked up by television cameras and made Manchester United look like a joke in 2022.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s record against the traditional big six is mixed. The Norwegian’s record is a mixed bag of 14 wins, 10 draws and 12 defeats. The club is 18 points behind rivals Manchester City and Liverpool. Despite Solskjaer’s inexperience, the club has spent a significant amount of money on transfers. Solskjaer has brought in Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho, and Raphae, while spending PS312 million on new players.
In November 2021, Solskjaer was sacked by the club. After their heaviest defeat to a promoted team since 1989, the club called an emergency meeting. Multiple reports had indicated the decision to change the manager, and the official announcement came hours later. The Times article also claims that the ownership are looking to bring in Zinedine Zidane and Laurent Blanc. However, the article did not mention the role of Solskjaer’s sacking.
Despite the sacking, the Norwegian left Manchester United in a much better position than when he took over in 2013. During his two-year reign, the club won the Premier League for the first time since 2013 and clinched back-to-back top-three finishes. Solskjaer also oversaw an English record run of 29 away games without defeat. And he has scored five or more goals on 10 occasions, compared to two defeats under Jose Mourinho and David Moyes.
Rangnick’s lack of foresight
The man who was appointed interim manager by Man Utd has been criticised by Brazilian midfielder Fred, who says the club don’t have a long-term plan. The interim manager’s vision of the game doesn’t align with the squad. Currently, only two players know how to play the ball-oriented press he is implementing. If Rangnick is not able to reshape the squad with this style, it is unlikely that they will be any better than they are now.
The interim manager has won eight games out of 18 games in charge of Manchester United. This record has been criticized after a hostile Elland Road performance by rivals Arsenal. Rangnick has been alarmed by the number of dominant performances that devolve into pointless games. The lack of planning by the club has left its squad in the dark. He has also questioned Rangnick’s wisdom in hiring him on a short-term basis.
As for the players, the mood at Newcastle’s training ground is grim and the atmosphere is sour. The team’s players have struggled to adapt to the late training sessions introduced by Rangnick. On Tuesday, players had to leave the stadium in the dark as it was getting late. The player who signed a new contract last year, Eric Bailly, is reportedly unhappy with the decision to play a half-fit Harry Maguire.
Despite Rangnick’s scathing press conferences, his lack of foresight has made Manchester City a laughing stock in 2022. The new manager will have to sort out the problems and bring the team back to form. After Monday’s draw with Newcastle, Gary Neville said Rangnick had made the dressing room “selfish”. After the game against Newcastle, he said the players are lacking in belief and confidence.