EPL: 'Yes' to changes and 'no' to overhaul at United

EPL: 'Yes' to changes and 'no' to overhaul at United


(James Wilson 31, 61, Robin van Persie 86)


(Matty Fryatt 63)


As their disappointing season teeters towards the finishing line, Manchester United took the chance to brandish the new.

James Wilson made the headlines, after the 18-year-old debutant contributed a brace in United's 3-1 win over Hull City at Old Trafford yesterday morning (Singapore time) in their penultimate game of the season.

Tom Lawrence, 20, gave a decent account of himself in his first senior outing. Belgium's Adnan Januzaj, who put in yet another impressive performance, should be a familiar name by now.

There was ample proof that the United academy will continue to supplement future United squads.

However, it may be not be at the rate that the Red Devils would like.

The gloom that has enveloped the club since Sir Alex Ferguson's departure is unprecedented in the Premiership era. Having never finished below third, they now sit in seventh place and can hope for no better than sixth.

This is alien territory.

In times of crisis, knee-jerk reactions can be expected. A major overhaul is the only solution, according to some. But is it feasible, or even necessary?

Skipper Nemanja Vidic is on his way to Inter Milan. Fullback Patrice Evra is toying with the idea of returning to former club Monaco, or joining big-spenders Paris Saint-Germain.

Shinji Kagawa, Javier Hernandez and Luis Nani are frustrated with limited playing opportunities, so they may seek new pastures.

The poor performances of Ashley Young, Antonio Valencia and Chris Smalling this season will give the new manager something to ponder.

But few of them are considered first-choice players anyway.

In all likelihood, David de Gea, Phil Jones, Michael Carrick, Juan Mata, Januzaj, Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie will form the spine of the next United side. That looks a pretty formidable group of seven players for the new manager to work around.


Former United captain Bryan Robson has said that three or four top-class additions should get the club back where they are - challenging for the title.

Likewise, 40-year-old caretaker manager Ryan Giggs, who has yet to decide if he will carry on playing for another term, rubbished the suggestion that United need to make radical changes to the playing roster.

He said: "I have seen enough from this position to convince me that the next manager will be inheriting a squad capable of winning honours.

"I am sure we will be doing business in the next transfer window, but a few carefully chosen recruits will bring the best out of the existing squad."

The Glazers are reportedly prepared to fund up to £200 million ($424m) for new blood. Whether the tightfisted owners are going to cough up that much, it remains to be seen.

If they don't, then they are testing the patience of the already disgruntled fans.

But even with less than that, United can still get a star signing and another two or three solid players to complete their first 11.

Then they need to pad up the squad with promising players and decent back-ups, to go with academy graduates such as Wilson and Lawrence.

United are down in the pits at the moment, but they are also well-positioned to climb out just as quickly.

A complete overhaul sounds like a sexy, radical plan, but those advocating it may be using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

This article was published on May 8 in The New Paper.

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