After a mixed start to the new season, some things always seemed inevitable for Manchester United in the early months of the season.
In a progressive first full season under the tutelage of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, fans got used to big results in big games, a trait that has been repeated this season even if the worryingly foreseeable failure to beat smaller teams persists.
Solskjaer will point to the intense schedule as the reason for United’s mixed start, and he’s right that critics need to look at the bigger picture before questioning them too closely.
United are ninth in the Premier League table, but they are still ahead of Manchester City and Arsenal and score points with Everton despite having played less than Carlo Ancelotti’s side.
Manchester United were hit by a double Neymar fool when they lost 3-1 to Paris Saint-Germain in their crucial Champions League game on Wednesday.
That means United are traveling to Germany and need a point from their last group game against RB Leipzig to qualify for the last 16.
Before that, the Reds have a difficult Premier League trip to West Ham to negotiate over the weekend.
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The obvious comparison is with Chelsea; However, the team against which they advanced to third place last season lost in the FA Cup semi-finals. United are still only three points away from Frank Lampard’s side after playing one game less and spending significantly less over the summer.
The mitigating factor is that Chelsea made up for lost time in the summer months after their previous transfer ban, while United took a conservative approach closer to that of other European elite club teams.
While spending on Stamford Bridge, United fans watched jealously as they walked out of their own shop late in the window and signed four new players on the deadline.
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While many fans wished they had compared Chelsea to so many high profile attackers over the summer, it was a free transfer that was perhaps the best deal.
Like Edinson Cavani, Thiago Silva is a serial winner in English football. His experience instantly strengthened a weakened area of the pitch.
Just as Cavani revolutionized United’s attacking options, Silva has changed the fate of Chelsea behind the scenes with a calm and authority that hasn’t existed since John Terry three years ago.
The Cavani signing deadline is already paying off for United with two stellar performances in a week as the Uruguayan cleared fears of being a transfer flop with an incredible work rate and his own good individual talents.
Many fans had been put off by marquee signatures like this in the past following mistakes like Bastian Schweinsteiger, Angel di Maria, and Alexis Sanchez, but Cavani’s immediate impact resurrected the debate for such uncomplicated additions.
Likewise, Silva’s immediate impact on Stamford Bridge has opened the possibility for United to sign a short-term option to resolve their problem with the center-back while they wait for a younger target like Dayot Upamecano to become available.
The ongoing loss of matchday revenue means United will have to think outside the box on next year’s transfers, with swap deals and free agents being far more attractive in the current financial climate.
As a result, it could be a perfect time for United to make another seasoned addition, with Sergio Ramos currently the leading candidate for such a role.
The 34-year-old is expected to leave Real Madrid when his contract expires at the end of the current season. A saying in English football could address the series winner, who celebrated 22 major honors during his time in the Spanish capital.
Unlike many of United’s previous flops, Ramos, like Cavani, is a born winner and could bring the much-needed experience to an area of the field that remains relatively weak.
Ramos could immediately partner with club captain Harry Maguire, allowing Victor Lindelof to join the last three if necessary, or simply establish himself as the club’s best rotation option.
Thoughts on Ramos? Let us know in the comments here.
The Spanish veteran’s experience could also help immensely in the development of the young duo Axel Tuanzebe and Teden Mengi, as the possible arrival of Ramos on a short-term contract could not affect their development at the club too much.
Of course, any signing would depend on United driving on deadwood like Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo and Eric Bailly, but the lack of a transfer fee for Ramos would make it more acceptable to suffer a loss if the trio did leave.
Solskjaer has the right to continue his entire cultural reset at Old Trafford, but just because veterans failed to sign doesn’t mean they are now completely worthless.
United needs to be creative to stay competitive in the transfer market while keeping revenue limited. It might be time to say “vamos” to Ramos.