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If I were United’s Gaffer

imageIf I were the Gaffer I’d change everything. I am far from the pragmatic type and I generally throw caution to the wind. I believe in attractive attacking football and like Bayern Munich and FC Barcelona, I believe the best defence is an attacking team that loves a high percentage of the ball and who press high up the pitch and choke teams down and frustrate them with attacking foray after attacking foray and relentless possession. Oh once in a while you might get beat by a team that has talent and who can counter-attack, but that is why I demand a superior shot stopper and a world class back four.

For a number of years now I felt Sir Alex Ferguson seemed content with what I felt was an average side prone to tremendous over achieving. In no way or form did I ever believe that we were good enough to win the Champions League. For me, the Barclays Premier League had become satisfied with high-ticket prices, tv revenue, over exposure but very little ambition in trying to win back it’s world wide elite status as greatest league or improving their product. That unfortunately comes from not just domestic success, but how well the league’s clubs do in Europe. Yes Chelsea is only a year removed from a shocking and undeserved triumph in the Champions League. Their pragmatic and cowardly method in winning that trophy spoke volumes to me about how poor the elite clubs in England have become and what was oh so wrong with the great game. Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal have all had a major decline in form from say just five years ago when all of them were serious contenders for European silverware.

Chelsea’s unexpected victory in Munich last year for me was nothing but an anomaly and an exception to what the EPL elite have been offering up in Europe over that past four to five years. Yes United made two finals in that time but were seriously manhandled and embarrassed on booth occasions by Lio Messi, Xavi, Iniesta and company.

It was clear to me then that the pendulum of dominance had swung and now England was not just chasing Spain, but other leagues like Germany and France were also rising and overtaking us. Only Italy seems to be languishing in the past like us due to league issues like corruption, financial mismanagement, outdated tactics and philosophies as well as their elite team’s propensity to acquire older and over the hill veteran players as opposed to dishing out serious money like they once did for the more youthful world elite.

Fabregas & ModricIn England, many quality players have come to ply their EPL, but even more of the world’s best players have chosen Spain, Germany or France as their go to destinations. For every Aguero, Hazard and Suarez who comes to play for our clubs, we lose out on even better players like Falcao, Lucas Moura, Goetze and Neymar. And even more alarming was mass exodus of world class talent from our shores who site weather, high taxes and who get tired or disillusioned by the English while eyeing Spain or other nations are more attractive financially and spiritually. The list is growing. Ronaldo, Fabregas, Modric, Pique, Balotelli, Song, Masquerano, Alonso, Essien, Drogba, Carvalho, Robben, Pogba, Tevez etc are just a few of many players who are stars and who once plied their trade for one of the top five clubs in England.

What is an even more disturbing trend is the growing number of home grown players who seem to be seeking or at least fantasizing about playing abroad. Recently the UK’s to greatest players Gareth Bale and Wayne Rooney have indicated and interest to move abroad. For me, losing either of these two home grown talents to Spain, France or Germany would be the last straw and must not be allowed under any cost.

England and especially her elite clubs need to find their ambition and mojo again and stop taking a back seat to Barca, Madrid, PSG and Bayern. These clubs have so fallen off in talent and ambition that previously considered minnows in the EPL, no longer fear them and no longer park the bus when they play them. The bottom feeders and middle of the road clubs in England have grown and learned to play more attractive attacking football because they no longer see a Manchester United as unbeatable whether home or away. Old Trafford, Stanford Bridge, Anfield and the Emirates are no longer the daunting fortresses that once ensured their teams immunity to defeat at the hands of the rest of the league and to European visitors.

England’s elite needs to capture the ambition and determination to shoot beyond the moon and instead shoot for the stars. Delusions of grandeur have served Barca, Madrid and Bayern well, I’d say. They need to match or even exceed the spending of clubs like Barcelona and Real Madrid. While it will always be difficult to offer the allure and social trappings to Latin players that Spain offers, our clubs need to try harder and spend more.

For clubs like Man Utd, Chelsea and Man City there are no excuses financially. They are among the richest clubs in world football. United may be rich but the spend like they are paupers. Chelsea used to spend a lot but stopped after Torres was a bust and when Abramovich got bored and disinterested.

City spent a lot the first two years under new ownership but has since become quite frugal. And don’t even get me started on Arsenal and Liverpool, two clubs going south fast master plans bordering on incompetence and lunacy. Hopefully the arrival of Mourinho and Pellegrini will ignite their respective clubs ambitions and this should force the hand of the Glazer’s to keep up. It’s time to no longer tolerate such mediocrity and relishing in lowered expectations.

Ronaldo & BaleIf I were the gaffer I would start with making big changes to United. First off I would break the bank for either sign Ronaldo or Bale. Secondly, Thiago would be another priority. But more so than signing Baines, Strootman, Garay and even Lewandowksi, we must first cut adrift those players who have done little for the club of late and who carry high wages and lowered expectations with them. Anderson, Nani, Bebe, Young, Evra, Lindegaard and Rooney must go. And if I were gaffer, I would personally add Evans, Welbeck and possibly even Valencia to that list (although I would probably give the latter one season to rebound from a bad year).

Many of you would think me insane for such a hard and radical take with so many controversial and bold changes considering we are the Premier League champions. But if that is all that concerns is the Premier League and all you require is being competitive and boring, well even that may be hard to attain with these deadbeats taking up time and space on this club.

Fergie is gone and we no longer need to think about his feeling on the subject. It’s time for an injection of new and world-class blood if we are to be considered like wrestler CM Punk, to be the “Best in the World”. The most recent German blitz of London should have woken us all about how to build teams and how to play the game.

I like what Jupp Henckes had to say recently after winning an unprecedented German Treble. “It was nice winning the Bundesliga title but our ambitions at Bayern were always about winning it all in Europe.” And Jupp mein gut freund, I couldn’t agree with you more mein herr. Bayern attacked Barcelona, they didn’t capitulate to them like we did in two finals. A positive attacking mindset and the purchase power to buy quality talent will do that for you.