Manchester United are finally fixing a problem Ralf Rangnick spotted five years ago

There are just five games left in the 2023–24 season, thus Manchester United will soon be concentrating on the summer transfer window and preparations for the following one.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the new co-owner of United, is eager to get his hands dirty and make this summer one of the most significant in the team’s illustrious history. He has lofty goals to revive the M16 together with United’s revamped leadership.

Irrespective of the manager, United must make long-overdue changes this summer. This is despite the majority of external discourse centered around Erik ten Hag’s future. The composition of the squad has to be changed in terms of both arrivals and departures.

Record sales are anticipated this summer for United, as stated in a February story published in the Manchester Evening News. Ratcliffe believes exits might hit double digits and that United should take a more aggressive stance in the seller’s market.

It’s known that the Ineos Group has recognized sellable players in the team and is prepared to entertain bids for practically all of the starting lineup. It is believed that only Rasmus Hojlund, Alejandro Garnacho, Kobbie Mainoo, and Andre Onana are invincible.

United is not actively trying to force any of its big-name stars out of the club, even though they are willing to entertain offers for them. It would also be impossible to replace nearly every member of the team in the same time frame after they were offloaded. Ratcliffe’s endeavor will require several windows of time.

Still, United’s intention to take the initiative in a seller’s market is a positive move. In recent years, the club has been accused of hoarding players and not being able to recover reasonable transfer costs.

Manchester City and Liverpool, for instance, have mastered the art of two-way recruitment in recent years, whereas United has unable to reach that level. One such instance is when James Trafford, who had just returned from a loan at League One club Bolton Wanderers, was sold by City to Burnley in the summer.

Ratcliffe is eager for the number of departures this summer to surpass ten, as United must progress and change. Even if the team needs new players, there are some appealing possibilities among its ranks.

With that said, they are finally in the process of heeding the warning outlined by former interim manager Ralf Rangnick, who revealed concerns about United’s recruitment strategy long before he had any affiliation with the club. Back in 2019, while reflecting on the club’s woes in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era, the German highlighted the importance of perfecting the art of recruitment, pointing out where the Reds had gone wrong.

“Since Sir Alex left they were underperforming,” said Rangnick. “They haven’t won the title since he left.

“At any club, if you cannot get the right players, then you should at least not sign the wrong ones. You are in trouble if you do that in one or two or three consecutive transfer windows.

“Club building is about building the right squad by transferring the right players away and having more than 50 per cent success rate of bringing in the right players. Then you must have the best possible coaches to develop these players.”

United have refrained from selling players at the right juncture too often in recent years. Jesse Lingard was a prime example.

His status was at an all-time high, he had admirers, and he had thrived in the second half of the 2020–21 season while on loan at West Ham United. However, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the former manager of United, convinced him to stay by promising him a significant role that never materialized. The next year, he left for no apparent reason.

That encapsulates the mistakes made by United. A team of any other caliber would have taken advantage of the situation and received payment before his contract was set to expire in a year.

Regaining the mindset of an elite club is imperative for United, and mastering the art of recruitment will be crucial. But the fact that so few people will be spared from being shown the exit door this summer indicates that those long-overdue adjustments are about to happen.

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