It’s just a game – but how are Manchester United recovering?

Ten Hag had a good first month before the start of the season. The pre-season was a success, his players support him, but what if those players aren’t good enough?

He needs time and support to do a very difficult job. Every United manager does that.

The transfer window should be assessed at the end. Then Murtough, the primary voice in appointing Ralf Rangnick (that relationship quickly deteriorated) and Ten Hag, should be judged on the deals he was able to get across the line. But then United would have been judged positively last September after signing Ronaldo, Sancho and Varane – but things got even worse.

Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong has been at the center of United’s recruitment plans all summer but he needs to be ousted from Barcelona who want to capitalize on him. Watch very closely if he starts in Barcelona’s opening league games because if he doesn’t it will be a change for him and he will have to consider moving to England.

United got rid of their leading scouts (and hundreds of contacts) in April – not that the club are responding to their recommendations for players like Rodri, Erling Haaland, Jack Grealish, Declan Rice, Jude Bellingham, Kai Havertz, Joae Cancelo and so many more would have . Jose Mourinho wanted Antoine Griezmann, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wanted Matthijs De Ligt, Youri Tielemans, Havertz, Grealish, Haaland, Ruben Neves and Callum Hudson Odoi. Ralf Rangnick recommended Christopher Nkunku, the 24-year-old Parisian midfielder/forward who is thriving at RB in Germany, and Aurélien Tchouameni, the 22-year-old midfielder who has enjoyed two outstanding seasons since joining the Monaco first-team and later French national teams. He moved to Real Madrid. Rangnick was surprised United hadn’t gone after Nkunku.

Moises Caicedo ran in midfield for Brighton on Sunday. United were also interested in him when he was 20 and before he joined the South Coast club for £4.5million. RB Salzburg’s Benjamin Šeško, 19, agreed to join RB Leipzig on Tuesday – United tried to sign him for the club’s academy before moving to Austria but the price became too high for an academy player and the agent to too big a problem.

Signing players is not an exact science and the competition is fierce. United beat City to Harry Maguire and Fred and Alexis Sanchez, three players who have been/are criticized by fans and there are dozens of players United were interested in who have not joined and have not found success elsewhere. But United have gotten it wrong so many times over the past decade that fans have little confidence in their recruitment.

That’s one reason why fans have long been fed up with the club under Glazer ownership and further protests erupted ahead of Sunday’s game. Two Glazer brothers made a rare appearance at Old Trafford and saw the power of emotion first-hand. Gary Neville spoke for many fans when he said it was time for them to sell and go. Their heavily leveraged takeover in 2005 should never have been allowed in the first place, but it was.

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