Being traditional giants of English football, the best international bookmakers on Liontips.com always include Manchester United among the favorites to win the Premier League. However, this season has been dramatic for the global Red Devils family.
Not only have they been painfully starved of glory since the beautiful days of Alex Ferguson, but there is also almost no end in sight for the current malaise would end.
Ole Solksjaer has been kicked out. His successor, Ralf Ragnick, is having his work cut out for him with a seemingly overwhelming task of reversing the deterioration Man United has suffered across the years.
At least when Ralf Ragnick viewed the grass on the Man United’s side from far away Russia at Lokomotiv Moscow (where he worked as the manager of sports and development), we bet he must have thought it greener.
Well, here he is with a side severely malnourished of identity, style, and even motivation. Oops!
With fans struggling to digest Man United’s sour run of results under Ralf Ragnick, more bitter news was heaped on their plate with reports of dressing room rebellion at Old Trafford.
The media is strewn with news of mounting tensions in United’s dressing room, with the team struggling to pull in the right direction.
What really is going on?
Some players want to get out!
It is almost impossible in today’s football to find a team where all players are elated and fully content. Inevitably, all 20+ players can’t play, and there will be pieces of resentment among those with limited playing time.
In Man United’s situation, we have a mountain of resentment instead of pieces. A sizable number of players are desperate to leave. Reports suggest as many as eleven players are disillusioned with life at Man United.
The likes of Anthony Martial, Lingard, and goalkeeper Dean Henderson are unhappy with the small chunk of playing time they have had so far this season, with the players eyeing moves to resuscitate their careers.
It is no longer news that Martial has submitted a transfer request to the executives. Jesse Lingard and Henderson feel let down by broken promises by management to improve their playing time.
The passionate push for an exit from these players is not too shocking, given that the prestigious FIFA World Cup holds this year. Customarily, players not playing regular club football are omitted by their respective countries.
Some players are nearing the end of their contract
The timing could not be more unfortunate for Ralf Ragnick. An enormous number of players have their contracts expiring in 2022.
With relative uncertainty in their future, it would be challenging to squeeze maximum focus and commitment from such players.
Top on the list here is Paul Pogba. Pogba’s agent, the cumbersome Mino Raiola, has been dishing the media some Hollywood-grade histrionics, making Pogba’s future a more exciting movie. We are served with one Raoila press release after another canvassing for Pogba to move on from Man United.
The deep-pocketed European fraternity of PSG, Real Madrid, and Juventus are hovering around Man United, hoping to snatch Pogba at the slightest availability.
Other first-team players whose contracts expire in 2022 include Edinson Cavani, Jesse Lingard, and Juan Mata. With the next Man United coach yet undecided, these players are dragging their feet to commit their future to the club.
Ronaldo is ending up a divisive figure
When the news filtered in that Cristiano Ronaldo was returning to Man United, the media went wild with enthusiasm about the bags of trophies Ronaldo would bring back to Man United.
While we can’t authoritatively classify his return as a failure, we can, with some measure of confidence, say Man United fans have expected better than this. This is especially on the leadership side of things.
More than the goals – which the Portuguese maestro have reasonably delivered so far – we expected him to rally the troops at Man United and reestablish that Alex Ferguson winning mentality back into the lads.
Therefore, it has been shocking to find that Ronaldo divides the dressing room. Reports have emerged that Man United’s dressing room is currently split into two competing factions.
One is a clan of Portuguese-speaking players (including Diogo Dalot, Bruno Fernandes, Alex Telles, and Fred) led by Ronaldo against a non-Portuguese clan.
Body language on the field of play by Man United players has resoundingly sung dressing room disunity. We have seen players throw tantrums at each other.
Luke Shaw did well to confirm our suspicion when he admitted Man United “were not altogether”.
Poor Ralf Ragnick! We really don’t envy him at the moment.
What can he do to cure the sickness at Man United? Sadly, he has until the end of the season to discover the medicine.