By Dave Marshall
Back in 1986, Manchester United appointed Sir Alex Ferguson as the man to lead them forward after the Red Devils struggled to compete with arch-rivals Liverpool but the Scot was charged with one mission; to help the team reach new heights but the legendary manager had just one mission in mind, to knock bitter rivals Liverpool off their perch.
He was successful because after 27 years, United were the dominant force in England. While the last few years have not been as expected, the 20-time Champions are on the path to greatness once more under the tutelage of the Special One. However, just like he had the mission and vision of changing the fortunes of Manchester United back in 1986, there is a new sheriff just across town called Manchester City and Pep Guardiola are onto something special and if that trend is not curbed by United and the rest of the league, we could all be left grasping at straws because Pep Guardiola is acting like a man possessed and on top of his game.
While Manchester United looked as if they were ready to go toe-to-toe with Manchester City in the race for the Premier League title this season, an unexpected hamstring injury to influential midfielder, Paul Pogba in the Champions League against FC Basel helped United derail off that course.
He was out for 12 weeks and highlighted the Red Devils’ over reliance on the Frenchman and must bolster their midfield options with a top class midfielder in the mould of Toni Kroos. Despite a move for the German midfielder looking far-fetched this summer, United might stand a chance of signing the deep-lying playmaker with Spanish giants, Real Madrid been heavily linked with a big money move for Brazilian playmaker, Neymar.
Los Blancos might need to sell some key players in other to raise funds to sign the Paris Saint Germain forward who is believed to be available for a reported fee of £357 million. Another new signing, a marquee player is needed to add stardust to the team and ensure that United are competing with the best for the major trophies available.
In the glorious years of Sir Alex Ferguson, the club had a number of players who could take games by the scruff of the neck and almost singlehandedly change the results of games.
Apart from De Gea, Pogba and Sanchez, United don’t have enough extraordinarily gifted players to lead the other players to reach new heights. Comparing that number to a host of other teams that are capable of winning the Champions League, United still fall just a little short.
Manchester United signing Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal this month shows a statement of intent that helped put the pressure back on the Citizens but the latest addition at the Etihad and rumors linking Manchester City with Leicester City playmaker, Riyad Mahrez have threatened to change the landscape once again.
United simply have to match this or find themselves further behind in the race for Premier League glory.