Never has a club garnered the attention and speculation quite like Manchester United Football Club.
Currently, at a fever pitch of rumours and conjecture ranging from the ongoing saga of Pogba Versus Mourinho, Mourinho Versus Ed Woodward, Alexis Sanchez apparently wanting to leave, the squad being divided and so on and on.
It really is hard to cypher through all the press reports about what is fact and what is fiction.
Any transfer window rumour can range from Joe Hart joining to Gareth Bale’s ‘imminent’ arrival. What we really got this summer was Lee Grant, Fred and at the time unknown to many, Diogo Dalot.
A few years ago, United were signing Wesley Sneijder, Kevin Strootman and Nicolás Gaitán every summer if you believed the back pages.
Who could forget Sky Sports News presenter Jim White tweeting that Medhi Benatia was on a plane heading to Manchester during Louis Van Gaal’s reign?
Football Journalist, Martin Samuel, commented on The Sunday Supplement
“Unfortunately, we discovered that what everyone reads is Manchester United, that’s all they want to read about. You will never ever go poor if you fill your website full of Manchester United stories.”
On this evidence, it seems like quite a bit was written about United can be manipulated and the narrative can be shifted to whatever story you want to manufacture.
Now that’s not to say everything is not true but the story more often than not seemed to be skewed.
Take the current situation with Mourinho and Pogba.
Pogba had a great World Cup in Russia, scored in the final and ended up with a winners medal around his neck.
On the back of that, there seemed to be negative cherry picking of Mourinho quotes about his performances.
“I don’t think it’s about us getting the best out of him,” Jose told ESPN. “It’s about him giving the best he has to give. I think the World Cup is the perfect habitat for a player like him to give the best. Why? Because it’s closed for a month, where he can only think about football. Where he’s with his team on the training camp, completely isolated from the external world, where they focus just on football, where the dimensions of the game can only motivate.”
A quick search on Google provides these headlines to those quotes:
- Jose Mourinho: World Cup suits Paul Pogba better than Manchester United
- Jose Mourinho Claims Paul Pogba Better Suited To World Cup Than Manchester United
Thus the problem and the ongoing feud between Pogba and Mourinho begins.
Pogba now wants to leave, Jose makes Pogba captain, Pogba comments on the team’s style of play, Mourinho takes the captaincy away, Mourinho praising Pogba’s training performance in the build-up to the Young Boys game, they argue at training, subbing Pogba off against West Ham. Every action seems to have had a reaction through all media.
Former Crystal Palace owner, Simon Jordan commented on TalkSPORT recently.
“When certain journalists or certain segments of the media advance things for their own agenda, I find that distasteful, disquieting and I am uncomfortable with it.
If you haven’t bought, owned, managed a football club, sold a player, sat in the boardroom, sat in the dressing room, what exactly do you know? I tell you what you know. Something somebody else told you. That’s what you know.”
The flip side to all this is that all parties involved seem to keep the stoking the flames with a new comment. Whether this is being misinterpreted doesn’t seem to matter anymore as all of this is being played out in front of our eyes and nobody seems to want to back down. The only losers in this situation are the fans.
Pogba and Mourinho will move on with a payday and maybe bruised egos. The club has imploded from within starting in the summer. People involved in the football side of things (forget Ed Woodward and his sponsorship obsession) have not quite worked out how Manchester United should go on after Sir Alex Ferguson.
The Reds have no identity right now and seem like a bunch of men thrown on the pitch in the hope that something will happen.
The club model has been set back years and if we are not careful we could be on the outside of the top four very quickly trying to figure out how to get back in. Forget the league title for now, it’s not anywhere near our grasp. As painful as it is to see, Liverpool, City and Chelsea are far beyond United’s reach right now.
Of course, things can change quickly but not this season. The rot has set in and it’s not going to be resolved any time soon and that’s sad is the truth and not speculation.