After a seventh place finish in premier league play, Manchester United will miss the Champions League for the first time since the 1995-1996 season. The club is expected to lose over $60 million in revenue by not competing in the all-European league. United is already working on a plan that will include spending quite a bit of money in order to bounce back next season.
United head coach Alex Ferguson announced in 2013 that he would retire after 28 years with the team, the club brought in the Everton manager David Moyes. Moyes had a devastating start with United and could not fill the shoes left by Ferguson. After 10 months of his six-year deal with the team, Moyes let United to a disappointing finish out of Champions League contention for the next season. The blame was directed at Moyes, who was let go before the end of the season. United striker Ryan Giggs stepped up to manage the team as a player to end the season.
United has already started working on plans to fix the problems that arise under Moyes. Reports are coming in that the team is very close to signing Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal to lead the team on the sidelines next season. Van Gaal, who is preparing the Holland National Team for the FIFA World Cup tournament in Brazil this summer, has already expressed a desire to replace Moyes with United. Giggs, who has played for the team since 1990, was in Holland to speak with van Gaal about the open position with United earlier this week.
The expectation is that van Gaal will be offered the position of manager for Manchester United soon. The announcement may come as early as next week or could wait until the Netherlands’s World Cup play has ended. Whichever way it goes, signing the 62-year old manager would be the team’s first move to bounce back after such a disappointing season. It will not stop there. There is chatter coming from the club that Giggs may be offered an assistant position, depending on if the 40-year old midfielder will return to play next season. United will also attack the transfer market with a large wallet in an attempt to entice players to join the struggling club.
The top target for United is Marco Reus. It would take a lot of money to entice Reus to join the lads in Manchester next season. The explosive midfielder has talked down transfer rumors and has expressed his desire to stay with Borussia Dortmund next year. United would likely have to dig deep in the team coffers to bring the German to English soil. Arda Turan of Atletico Madrid, Claudio Marchisio of Juventus, and Raphael Varane of Real Madrid are just a few of the players along with Reus that are being targeted by United during the transfer window.
Attempting to make transfers now is difficult for many of the clubs. The window, which opened when the season ended, will not close until the end of August. Many of the players United is targeting may not be interested in talking about a transfer right now. The top players in the crosshairs by the club may be focused on things other than transfers right now. With national teams preparing to head to Brazil for the World Cup in less than a month and players preparing for the upcoming Champions League final game, players may not be willing to talk transfer at this time. With United missing out in the Champions League next season may not put the club at the top of potential transfer’s priority list right now. If Manchester can entice some big name talent to transfer to the club, it may not be announced until near the end of May or even closer to the close of the window in late July.
The expected moves by Manchester United may conclude with record-setting amounts being thrown around. In order for the team to bounce back to the level of play that they are accustomed to, the money will need to be spent. United cannot afford to not spend the money to put together a squad to return to the top of the Barclays Premier League and secure a spot in the Champions League again. The club did see an increase in profit this last season despite the seventh place finish and missing the Champions League, and that profit will not last long as United starts work on a return to dominance in European soccer.
Commentary by Carl Auer