Six steps to rebuilding Manchester United: Why only? The Red Devils have a big task to do to get back on track this summer after their worst Premier League season at the club.
New manager Erik ten Hag has started work, and there is no time to waste. No one at United would be happy after finishing 35 points at the end of last season’s City rivals.
Before thinking about the number of points next season, finishing the position, and running in silver, Ten Hag and United need to make the basics.
This summer is an important part of the puzzle, to create a foundation for potential improvements. Here are six steps to rebuilding United that need to be done, which have already been done…
Step one: Release the expired contract: Finish
Before rebuilding, you need to remove it first. United took this strategy, unleashing some of the veterans who clogged squad space and wage bills.
Nemanja Matic, Juan Mata, Paul Pogba, Lee Grant, Edinson Cavani, Jesse Lingard have all been released, six players with an average age of 33. This cuts an estimated £ 44.8 million from the annual wage bill.
Of course it is very easy for United to go wrong. To get sucked into overpaying to keep Pogba, to try to convince Matic to stay due to lack of other options, or to get sentimental and try to keep his eyes around.
United have made the right calls with all six players, and it’s not just them who are leaving this summer. This shows intent, to start tearing up the squad after an unacceptable season.
Step two: Use pre-season for talent assessment
Erik ten Hag will have an idea of the players he wants to use next season. But some younger stars and talent may be the limit.
The new manager has five pre-season games to take a look at the squad, and see who and who isn’t up to scratch.
Only by looking at this first hand, with its own distributed instructions, can Ten Hag make an assessment of what it will and will not use in the future.
Ten Hag can find certain players who have talent, but lack the talent and discipline to match their style of play and carry out instructions. Others can be amazed in a positive way.
July will be an important month, allowing Ten Hag to make an assessment, before the season starts on August 6th.
Step three: Sell unwanted players and secure a loan offer to young prospects
While Ten Hag evaluates who will and will not be part of the squad, efforts will be made to send unreliable players.
Other players who want to move on to their careers, like Eric Bailly, will also be brought out.
One of the most important aspects is finding a useful loan offer for young players on the fringes. There is a group of talents, Alvaro Fernandez, Shola Shoretire, Hannibal, Amad, Facundo Pellistri, James Garner and Dylan Levitt.
All of these players could be mixed in to improve United’s squad, but not all. The ones that don’t play, should be sent on loans for further development, and it’s important to get the right decisions.
Step four: Sign players who match the team’s needs
Recruitment has been the biggest struggle at Manchester United over the past decade, and is an area that could provide the biggest early victory for Ten Hag if the club is right.
Incoming players must match the needs of the team, fit the Ten Hag approach, and be suitable for the Premier League. It seems obvious, but United often fail to sign players who match the manager, team, and league they will be working with.
Work is still underway to sign new players, and it will be important if United can bring in a new face or two before going out on the pre -season tour.
Midfield should be a top priority for United after the release of Pogba and Matic, while additional strikers will also be key.
Ten Hag also wants to fix a defense that conceded 58 league goals last season. A fresh face will be essential to enable the checkup.
Step five: Start knitting a team together that buys the Ten Hag tactic
Manchester United have hired one of the best coaches in Europe, known for his innovative and obsessive approach.
But Ten Hag isn’t a miracle worker who can bring about change overnight, so it’s important he gets about six weeks of pre-season with the squad before the league campaign begins.
Ten Hag will have time to start educating the players, to assess their strengths and weaknesses, and to work on the 11 best.
The Dutchman’s work on the training ground will be more important than the pre -season match, as he wants to steer United’s ship back in the right direction.
It’s not about the individual, it’s about building a team that can win the match. Ten Hag and his coaching staff will pick the players who buy, and throw those who don’t.
Step six: Establish confidence back into the squad
The last of these six steps to rebuilding, it is important to understand the damage done by the dangerous 2021/22 season. So many players are seeing their confidence and form broken.
The likes of Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford, and Harry Maguire were key players under former boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, but ended last season in very bad form. And not just them.
This United side isn’t good enough, and he knows it. This was evidenced by the embarrassing defeats against rivals City and Liverpool.
It’s important Ten Hag changes this, starting with the attitude of the players. The new manager can begin to restore confidence in United’s squad, players and staff, if this new season gives them a fresh start, and the dawn of a new positive era.
If United players believe they can change the situation, then they might play like that, and the supporters will give their full support.