The year is 2042. Manchester City have just won the title for the 12th season in succession, West Ham have been kicked out of the Olympic Stadium, Leeds have still not gone up, and Tottenham’s new ground still isn’t ready. Theresa May has vanished into exile, the UK is still in the EU and 57-year-old full-backs Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young have signed new one year deals at Manchester United.
Ashley Young. Really? How is this man still a United player, never mind somehow being seen as a captain. This is a player who hit eleven crosses against Crystal Palace and failed to find a teammate with one of them.
It would be churlish to single him out for criticism but it shows that we are a club now happy to settle for mediocrity.
Young would struggle to make the Palace bench but yet he is still one of Jose Mourinho’s most trusted mainstays. If he left the Reds tomorrow (even the mere thought of that makes me happy), ask yourself this: how many clubs would be in for him? I’ve got nothing against Young before I’m accused of making this an agenda against him.
Like his slightly more senior lieutenant on the right, Young has been an excellent servant but has to go. What are the benefits of keeping him when we have younger, hungrier, far more capable full-backs waiting in the wings. Why did we even sign Diogo Dalot if Young is keeping his place. It just makes no sense.
We’re more than happy to get rid of the few genuine top class talents we possess – Juan Mata, Anthony Martial and David de Gea – yet continue to overindulge in players that simply aren’t – and never will be – good enough. However, whilst the latter’s future remains unclear, Sky Sports have reported that the other two could still commit to United with talks ongoing.
Our board appear to see the top four as the equivalent of winning the league, and players that are completely bang average are being rewarded for doing nothing much whatsoever by massive pay checks and a first team place. Manchester United are accepting mediocrity.
The news that Chris Smalling, a man who is nearing a testimonial year but yet continues to resemble a blindfolded Bambi, is being lined up to sign on the dotted line says everything about the mess that is the modern day Manchester United.
To add insult to injury, Young and Valencia are expected to follow suit, according to several sources including football.co.uk.
Getting rid of the dead wood should have been the first task in Mourinho’s in-tray, and if the club have genuine ambitions to getting back to where we once were, then it’s time to be ruthless.
I’m developing something of a habit in comparing Messrs Mourinho and Guardiola, but Pep persisted with Bacary Sagna, Gael Clichy and Aleksandr Kolarov for only his first, debut, settling-in season – a season in which he deemed that none were good enough and none of the three fitted with his philosophy. In their place came two of the best young full-backs in Europe, Kyle Walker and Benjamin Mendy. Look at them now.
In recent years, United fans have been crying out for new out-and-out full-backs, rather than converted wingers. But then we do live in a world where our CEO thinks that Smalling and Phil Jones are better defenders than Toby Alderweireld and Harry Maguire, as per The Guardian.
The likes of Alex Sandro, Djibril Sidibe and Danny Rose have been linked with the club in the past, as reported again by The Guardian, but only Dalot was signed in the summer. If Valencia and Young to name but two are the answers, then what on earth was the question..
It is a shambles but shouldn’t come as a surprise.