Man Utd misery after £400m transfer spend will make perfect sense to Ralf Rangnick


After a one-season hiatus when Manchester United were back on track at the start of the Erik ten Hag era, they have slipped back into lacklustre habits that have fuelled their cataclysmic decade-long decline. Saturday night's spineless 1-0 defeat to Newcastle United was no surprise to many, undoubtedly including Ralf Rangnick.

United looked destined for a bright future under Ten Hag when he guided the club to a third-place finish and ended a six-year trophy drought with the Carabao Cup last season.

But the Red Devils are seventh in the Premier League with six defeats in 14 games and on the brink of a Champions League exit as Group A's rock-bottom club due to one win in five.

Ten Hag has splashed around £400million in his first 18 months at the helm, but he has leaned on players he was happy to sell in the summer this season.

Andre Onana was his only recruit in the starting lineup at Newcastle. A cluster of the Dutchman's signings remain injured, but five watched on from the bench.

He inherited a United squad coming off their worst-ever Premier League campaign, having finished sixth with just 58 points under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Rangnick.

But nine players who started the defeat at St James' Park featured under Rangnick. Only Onana and Kobbie Mainoo arrived on the scene after Ten Hag's arrival.

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So, can United's worst performance of the season be treated as a shock? The answer is no.

Rangnick produced a memorable assessment of the state of United after a 4-0 defeat against Liverpool at Anfield in April 2022.

"You don't even need glasses to see and analyse where the problems are," the Austrian coach bemoaned.

"Now it's about how do we solve them? It's not enough to do some minor amendments – cosmetic things. In medicine, you would say that this is an operation of the open heart."

Ten Hag has conducted somewhat of an open heart surgery as United boss. The 53-year-old has completed 11 permanent signings across two summer transfer windows at Old Trafford.

In the same period, he's overseen 20 permanent departures, and yet there still looks to be plenty of work left to do before he finds his winning formula.

It was common knowledge Ten Hag would require patience and funding to send United on their way to realising former glories once more.

He's not going to make much progress if stars who have had their time and failed continue to receive opportunities, though.

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