After a new nadir was reached last week in Switzerland with Unitedai??i??s unceremonious elimination from the UEFA Champions League, itai??i??s now time to look forward at the challenges that lay ahead. Much press coverage has been devoted and innumerableAi??obituaries printed after the heartbreak at the hands of Basel.

No doubt the repercussions of that fateful night would be felt, even the fans’ concern is not totally ill founded but perhaps it wasnai??i??t the end of the empire as many have reiterated with shameful glee and perhaps with concealed envy, hopeful of the prophecy coming through than anything else.

Now after more than 10 days to the tragedy in Basel and with time to reflect and ponder upon, the anger and rage must have subsided amongst the fan base. The time for introspection and improvement is nigh. The weekend results in the league ensured optimism returned to the Theatre of Dreams with Red Devils around the globe detaching themselves from the umbilical cord of pessimism.

As things turned out the much maligned and under power United side trail the all conquering neighbors City by a mere 2 points and that should hardly keep Old Trafford faithful awake at nights. However the time to drive home the advantage and press on the gas is here with the most critical phase of the season staring us in the face.

Man United – Down but not yet out!

Sir Alex and Manchester United must face some of the demons that could possibly derail their campaign to an irrevocable position.

January Transfer Market: To Buy Or Not To Buy?

Itai??i??s the worst kept secret ever that the Red Devils are short changed in central midfield this campaign and some might argue thatai??i??s been the case for at least three seasons now. Nevertheless, after the start United made, those doubters and naysayers went missing as the young duo of Cleverley and Anderson looked to have solved the ai???Schrodinger’s cat paradoxai??? or so it seemed. However, with Cleverleyai??i??s injury and Anderson joining him in the medical room, the joy was short lived.

Furthermore, with the recent revelation regarding Darren Fletcherai??i??s long term absence from football, Fergusonai??i??s midfield options are like an oasis in a desert – scarce, to put it mildly. Fletcherai??i??s unfortunate and untimely absence is a colossal blow and perhaps the final straw that might finally tempt Ferguson into the market. As a whole, United family comes together to wish their beloved ‘Fletcherinho’ a speedy and fullAi??recovery, one wonders whether the club missed a trick in the summer by notAi??strengtheningAi??the squad further?

The walking wounded have now filtered down to bare bones with Michael Carrick and to some extent Ryan Giggs the only recognized CM options available to the gaffer. Phil Jones hasnai??i??t disappointed whenever he has been asked to step in and do a job, however the youngster has been asked to do too much too early one feels. Darren Gibson may make the bench on the odd occasion but thatai??i??s where his joy ends and come January the Irishman would perhaps be on his way out.Ai??A short term loan deal has been widely speculated but the options are limited and might not be an improvement on whatai??i??s already present in the squad, yet numbers in midfield might be needed and that could persuade the club into an unlikely foray in the January market.

The romantics at the club have echoed the name of one David Beckham on a short term loan deal and although there might be a few advantages in having the former United legend back to where it all belong, the realistai??i??s view and the ones who know the manager are confident that Becks wonai??i??t be bending it at OT once again.


Becks on loan- not impossible but highly improbable!

Other names such as Milos Krasic (a winger surprisingly) and Daniel de Rossi have been rumored with some regularity and although such moves generally never materialize in the winter, this window one can expect the unexpected. One rumour that refused to go away last summer was Wesley Sneijder arriving at the Theatre of Dreams, that however didn’t quite materialize. Be rest assured come January the name of Sneijder and United would be used in the same breathe on more than just the odd occasion.

Furthermore, with captain fantastic Nemanja Vidicai??i??s long term injury would Fergie indulge in a defensive addition to the squad? Gary Cahill has been mentioned in some quarters, unlikely it may seem as other departments ala central midfield have more pressing concerns at the moment.

There is also another aspect that the wily old Scot wouldnai??i??t overlook before indulging himself in any transfer activity. The likes of Tom Cleverley, Ravel Morrison, Paul Pogba and Anderson are the future of the club, would buying another and that too an established midfield option block their path? Tom Cleverleyai??i??s return is not far away and although putting all our eggs in one young basket might not be a clever option so to speak but the Englishmanai??i??s talent is unquestionable and shouldnai??i??t be held back from blossoming into the future of Unitedai??i??s midfield.

The Europa League Conundrum ai??i?? In It, To Win It, Really?

The Mickey Mouse Cup, the NPower Championship of European football, call it what you may but United have to face the harsh reality and face it now. Although the fans may feel that Manchester United should be playing amongst the elite in the Champions league but right now this is what United deserve after their shoddy and at times disrespectful performances in the group stage. The albatross around the neck is hung and there in no way to undo whatai??i??s gone wrong but do it right from here on.

ai???Thursday nightsai??? it is then and although the Old Trafford club might be a butt of few jokes from Merseyside to London, one must be magnanimous enough to take it on the chin after dishing it out for years. Whatever one says it is after all a European competition, one which this club has never had the opportunity of placing on its mantle. Ergo, the manager Sir Alex must decide the strategy for the Europa League, are United in it to win it really or will it be an unwanted distraction which the players and the manager be better without?

There are two schools of thoughts as always, Europa League is an European competition at the end of the day and the club must give it a real go. Back in 1991, before all the success that the following decades brought with them, the European Cup winnersai??i?? Cup is where it all began with a memorable victory over Barcelona. That was the catalyst and United havenai??i??t looked back since. Back in those days travelling to unknown European destinations was a thrill in itself for the fans and every European excursion was cherished and savored, has the continued success spoiled the fun and flavor of football forever?

There are a plethora of big European power houses in the mix for the title and there shouldnai??i??t be any embarrassment to be challenging with the likes of Valencia, PortoAi??and Ajax. The game must be treated with respect and always played with the intention of giving your best and winning it.

1991 UEFA Cup Winners Cup – The first taste of success!

The other point of view reckons United should field their youngsters to give them valuable European experience and prepare them for the future and in the process rest the first team regulars for an all out assault on the league title. Protecting our domestic crown should be a priority and this unwanted Europa League diversion shouldnai??i??t be allowed to stand in the way of the main goal.

Prioritizing is the name of the game and the League title stands a few notches above the second tier of European football in precedence. Playing Thursday nights and back again over the weekend is a humongous task and the first team regulars must be spared the burden especially with the appalling injury situation at the club.

This is where one of the greatest manager of all time – Sir Alex Ferguson earns his bread, the outline must be sketched precisely and the intentions must be clear so that the fans are not left in the lurch and know what exactly they should expect from their side in the hitherto unwanted prize- the Europa League.

So the dust has seemingly settled and the smoke cleared after the catastrophe in Europe. Manchester United will never die and the fans must feel the pride in supporting such a great club and get behind their team through the proverbial thick and thin, through triumph and despair and through Champions League or perhaps if the need be through the Europa League.

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2 Responses to “Manchester Unitedai??i??s Corner: Short Term Challenges For Sir Alex Ferguson And The Red Devils”

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  1. Utkarsh says:

    Very well written article, mate !!
    Yes, be it the CL or the Europa League, it is after all a competition and we must be in it to win it.
    Breaking the bank this time would probably answer a few questions but Fergie traditionally as we know isn’t a big fan of the January window. Again we need someone who can fit right in with the team and deliver at the start itself. Not all that easy to achieve.

  2. Mayank says:

    Top-quality article , echoing sentiments from different brand of MUFC supporters.

    With a hectic schedule starting now till end of season , the January transfer window activity could actually prove the big difference come end of the season. We need a Henrik Larson kind of signing but from a Premier League club . I’m not sure if Glazers do financially back the club as much as Sir Alex says they do . A marquee signing in january would silence those critics as well.