Opinion

Passing the parcel - Analysing Man Utd's managerial evolution post Fergie

MUSC Red Devils NCR
Ralf Rangnick is currently responsible for the Manchester United team
Ralf Rangnick is currently responsible for the Manchester United team / Nathan Stirk/GettyImages
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In every club, in every part of the world, in every league, in every division, when a new signing walks into the dressing room, sights of spirits being lifted, scenes of euphoria and a whole new energy on the pitch, are not uncommon.

The same could be said for a new manager walking into the dressing room in every club. The new manager will bring his own backroom staff, his own ways, his own philosophies, his own routines and his own persona, all of which contributes to something nowadays fondly called as the "new manager bounce."

In line with a whole host of firsts, the new manager also brings in new signings.

How important are these new signings? How they fare under the manager that signs them? And what happens to them after the manager bids farewell to the club?

To answer these questions, allow me to take Manchester United as the template club.

Every single debate about the best manager ever, results in the same conclusion - Sir Alex Ferguson.
Now, there's a good reason for that. After Cristiano Ronaldo's mega money move to Real Madrid, Sir Alex managed to keep up his stellar trophy record in his concluding years at Manchester United even after making just one blockbuster signing in the form of Robin Van Persie, dealing with the problem of an aging squad, and after the ownership change just a few years prior.

Towards the conclusion of his tenure, the core of his team was formed by vintage men Ryan Giggs, Edwin Van der Saar (who was replaced by a young David de gea), Michael Carrick, and Paul Scholes (who famously came out of retirement), and star men Wayne Rooney, and of course Robin Van Persie. These experienced men were supplemented at different times by players like Ashley Young, Antonio Valencia, Shinji Kagawa, Tom Cleverly, Danny Welbeck, among others.

On paper, this was not the strongest lineup, but Sir Alex managed to squeeze every last ounce of football that these players had to offer, and then some more. After his retirement, Ashley Young had a disappointing time under the next two managers, powering himself to a Renaissance under José Mourinho, before finally leaving under Ole. Similar was the curious case of winger turned wingback, Antonio Valencia, although he did put in a shift and a half every time he was slotted at right back and I still think he was the last Captain's Captain of Manchester United after Wayne Rooney. Other players like Kagawa, Cleverly, Welbeck, Evans, Jones, and Sir Alex's last signing, Wilfried Zaha, all went on to have average careers at best after his retirement.

The tenures of David Moyes, Louis Van Gaal and José Mourinho, were riddled with curious signings who performed for a while before ultimately harming their stock and moving onto other clubs. Be it Fellaini, Schweinsteiger, Sncheiderlin, Lukaku, Sanchez and Memphis, just to name a few.
Some of the standout signings during their respective times, who continued to be effectively useful at United were Juan Mata, Diogo Dalot, Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba.

By far, the most extreme case of signings performing under the manager who signed them and declining drastically under the next manager, happens to be Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's signings.
If there's one manager in the post Fergie Era who got the most out of his signings, it's Ole.
He signed Maguire, Wan Bissaka, James, Bruno and Ighalo in his first year in charge. Harry Maguire seems to be two different persons altogether - a decent player under Ole, and a catastrophe under Rangnick.

Wan Bissaka seems to have his faults exposed outside of Ole's system.
Daniel James was always supposed to be a squad player and he did well in the role.
Bruno fernandes is a once in a blue moon signing for us, and an exception, for all purposes.
And as for Odion Ighalo, he was always supposed to be nothing more than a temp.
Ole also engineered the rise of Marcus Rashford and Scott McTominay, while also managing to get something good out of Fred and Anthony Martial.

Now that Ole is no longer manager, and the players no longer coached to play in a counter attacking style of football, Marcus Rashford looks exposed to the highest degree, Harry Maguire looks like he might be interested in earning a one way ticket to the 2nd Division at best, Aaron Wan Bissaka's performances have earned a Crystal Palace some respect at the very least, for being able to con us into buying him, and Daniel James and Odion Ighalo are no longer here.

I have not considered Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Rafa Varane as they were all still adapting and adjusting to the Premier League when Ole was sacked and now under Rangnick, Varane has been respectable and Sancho, a revelation, while Ronaldo has probably disappointed the most.

I'll leave you to be the judge of the impact that new signings have under the manager that signed them, and what happens to them in most cases, after the club parts ways with said manager.

In my opinion, there is a stark contrast, and if this is only the case with us and not with any other club, then we are in deep trouble and I hope we rectify it at the earliest.


Written by – Parth Tiwari, MUSC RDNCR

Instagram – mancunianwire

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