BRISTOL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 20:  Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Manchester United celebrates scoring a goal to make the score 1-1 during the Carabao Cup Quarter-Final match between Bristol City and Manchester United at Ashton Gate on December 20, 2017 in Bristol, England.  (Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images)

5 Manchester United's Leaders That Have Left a Huge Void at Old Trafford After Leaving the Club

It is no secret that the players are under-performing on the pitch, currently languishing in eighth, the Red Devils have their work cut out in catching up with the early pace setters. 

With Jose Mourinho insistent on the belittling of players in his press conferences, along with the ever growing concern of reported training ground bust-ups, Manchester United's playing and coaching staff are currently in dire straits. 

The United boardroom also appears to be a huge problem at the club, with constant streams of information leaking out to the press, only further jeopardising the manager and playing staff's functionality.

Clearly with a distinct lack of leaders, here we take a look at five influential characters that have moved on or altered roles at Manchester United in the past two seasons, and the impact they've had. 

5. Javier Ribalta

Javier Ribalta, ever heard of him? 

Well, Manchester United signed this high profile scout at the beginning of the 2017/2018 season to work alongside existing Chief Scout Jim Lawlor and Head of Global Scouting Marcel Bout.

Aged 37, Ribalta headed to United after a hugely impressive five year stint at Juventus, where he was rumoured to be highly influential in the signings of Paul Pogba, Dani Alves, Kingsley Coman, Alex Sandro and Paulo Dybala.

Ribalta was said to have a significant role in picking players at United, working alongside Jose Mourinho and executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, but also liaising with over 100 scouts worldwide.

He recently opened up to the Manchester Evening News, where he declared: "As for my time in Manchester, I was only there for a year but I’d have liked to sign Emre Can and [Leon] Goretzka on free transfers."

Speaking five languages, Ribalta has a fear of missing out on diamonds in the rough, and was even spotted scouting Jordan McGhee for Hearts whilst he was still at Juventus. 

Described as a phenomenon by Alvaro Morata's father, Ribalta had always been highly ambitious and this was the exact reason United lost him.

Zenit St. Petersburg came calling and the opportunity to run the show was too big of an opportunity to pass up. Ultimately his impact at United will be judged by the signings of Fred and Diogo Dalot, with both already looking the part so far.

Once again for United it seems to be the case of what could've been.

4. Michael Carrick

Largely unappreciated throughout his career, Carrick was presented the opportunity to continue his legacy at United, but this time in a coaching capacity. 

As a player, Carrick calmly steadied the ship, owning responsibility and acting as a role model to those both in the senior and youth squads. 

Much like his ability on the pitch, his leadership went largely unnoticed.

At the time, some fans went as far as calling it a masterstroke by Mourinho to promote Carrick into his coaching staff, but was it the right decision? 

The Times have published a special Carrick interview where the ex-England international responds about rumours of him possibly replacing Jose and it is not all that comforting.

"It’s gold dust having Jose there to draw on what he’s doing and learn from him. I’m really enjoying it. It’s a role that I never thought at this stage of my coaching career that I would get."

The last sentence rings true, Carrick alongside the promoted Kieran McKenna are responsible for coaching and preparing this Manchester United side. A side that has a distinct lack of leadership in the boardroom, on the pitch and two comparable novice coaches at the the helm. 

There is no doubt Carrick can become a good coach, but for now, his leadership is definitely a loss to the Man Utd first time dressing room. 

3. Zlatan Ibrahimovic

"I admire Cantona and I heard what he said. But I won't be the King of Manchester. I will be the God of Manchester," Zlatan Ibrahimovic once said.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a figure that Man Utd deeply miss. 

The charismatic forward was hugely influential in the Red Devils' dressing room, taking a number of players such as Eric Bailly and Paul Pogba under his wings. 

Without Ibra, Man Utd are now seemingly without a player who can lead from the front, and demand the best out of his teammates. 

2. Rui Faria

Manchester United undoubtedly rue the loss of Rui Faria. He was the right hand man that both Mourinho and Manchester United players relied upon, and with the Portuguese now out the frame, Mourinho has lost his 17-year association with his close friend. 

Faria's impact is not only missed on the side of the pitch - as he demonstrated by berating officials at Stamford Bridge last season - or in fact in post match press conferences when Jose is banned - where Faria was able to deliver the sarcastic one liners - but most importantly, in the relationship between coach and players.

It is no secret Jose lambasted Luke Shaw for most of last season, but Faria offered the left back the comfort and support Jose couldn't. It is not rocket science to think that the absence of Faria has largely impacted upon several key figures at Old Trafford, with Paul Pogba the most notable. 

While Jose still chooses to live in the Lowry Hotel, it was made more bearable by having Faria nearby, as reported by the Daily Mail last year: "It’s important to have people around that identify with me. If I need to be in a meeting, Rui has the knowledge of how I think. 

"He lives two minutes away. We have dinner almost every day. My assistants all live in the same building, two minutes away from the hotel where I’m staying."

1. Wayne Rooney

After losing Wayne Rooney in the summer, followed by Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Jose Mourinho tipped Paul Pogba to step into the void to lead the club to a new exciting era; something which hasn't exactly worked out. 

Rooney spent 13 illustrious years at Old Trafford, surpassing Sir Bobby Charlton's all time goal-scoring record for the Red Devils in the process. 

As a direct consequence of a lack of first team opportunities, Rooney called time on his Manchester United career and secured a return to boyhood club Everton. 

However, it was clear that the influence Rooney had on the squad would be missed. After all, he was England's golden boy - a once in a generation talent. 

In fact, Jose had nothing but praise for Rooney, as the United captain left for Everton, and noted the impact he had on the United dressing room.

"Wayne was a very positive influence" the Mirror reported.

"We cannot say we are going to improve the group because Wayne left. No way, or the other way around. He was such an important guy and good guy for us, I just think it is a new period without that face, without that leaders, without that good influence on us."

Ultimately, Manchester United have failed to find a replacement of Rooney's stature and they're paying the price.