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United’s problem isn’t their manager, but that won’t stop them from sacking him

United’s manager isn’t their problem
Ole Gunnar Solksjaer isn’t the problem at Manchester United. He’s also not the solution. Photo: PAUL ELLIS/Getty Images

On Sunday, the clouds darkened over Old Trafford as Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s time as Manchester United manager edged closer to the finish line.

While I have no inside knowledge of this, I would assume that the Norwegian, who enjoyed legendary status as a player, will be unemployed by the end of October. It could have even happened by the time you read this. On the other hand, United will move on to yet another manager who will be deemed the savior only to be ceremoniously sacked in about two years. Why? Because United’s problem isn’t their manager. It’s the hierarchy that is too stubborn to change their ways (or don’t want to if you listen to some United fans).

For example, Edison Cavani is a global star. Goalscorer extraordinaire played at the very highest levels. It’s no surprise a club like Manchester United is interested, especially considering he is currently a free agent and wouldn’t require a fee. The signing is expected to be announced in the next 24-48 hours. There’s just one slight problem. Cavani is a striker. A position that United are currently okay in.

What United need are top quality defenders? The transfer of Alex Telles, if he hasn’t run as far as he can away after watching the Tottenham game, will be a step in the right direction. However, the left back position at United isn’t actually their weakest. Luke Shaw comes in for a lot of unnecessary criticism, probably due to his injury record hampering what looked to be at one point a promising career. Brandon Williams has also filled in admirably in that position.

The same can’t be said for the current Centre-back position. Considering you spent £80 million on a player who can’t head a ball back to his goalkeeper you also shouldn’t have a problem at Centre-back. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Sunday’s trashing at the hands of Tottenham just proved how much of a need that position is, as Maguire was left looking like a non-League defender by Harry Kane and company.

I don’t know if the current legal situation is playing on Harry Maguire’s mind or if he’s just naturally that bad. I’ve never been sold on him, but this season he has seemed exceptionally bad… even for him. With Phil Jones and Chris Smalling frozen out that leaves United with only Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof as recognized Centre-backs. Neither are elite or anywhere close to it. That’s why it’s such a head-scratcher that United haven’t invested heavily to reinforce.

With a front three of Greenwood, Martial, and Rashford, United are okay, if not great, in that area. They also have a decent backup in Juan Mata, and Cavani would bolster that further. It’s not a position that needs urgent attention unless you are hit massively by injuries. That’s why the summer-long Jadon Sancho saga has been even more baffling. Especially at a price, it will take to remove him from Borussia Dortmund. Instead, United should have signed Cavani early in the offseason for nothing and worked on a defense that has been crying out for fixing.

Solksjaer has repeatedly spoken about how the board is aware of what he wants, which clarifies that he’s not being listened too. It has become clear that while not the solution, United’s manager isn’t the problem either. He is out of his depth but will hiring Mauricio Pochettino, Julian Nagelsmann, or Laurent Blanc fix the issues at United!?! Unlikely.

Until the board sees the error of their ways, United and its fans are in for years of hurt. The problem is, do they want to see it? The below tweet from blogger Swiss Ramble would make you think maybe not.

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