The Reds had a Premier League title winning squad in 2013 but despite spending billions of pounds on recruitment, have not looked like challenging for domestic glory in the past decade. Theres been expensive flops, loan head-scratchers and a plethora of players who were simply not good enough.
Most of Uniteds rivals have leapfrogged them in the transfer pecking order while even the likes of Brighton and Brentford have recruitment policies superior to the one at Old Trafford. The ownership apathy, managerial changes and lack of a clear top down focus and identity are some of the factors that have hampered United and Sir Jim Ratcliffe, when his 25 per cent is ratified and he assumes control of football matters, must work to find a solution.
United are seeking to become better at offloading players, while they are understood to be targeting younger signings in the mould of Rasmus Hojlund to ensure the possibility of a return on investment if a move doesnt work out. Its a move away from signing established stars with little regard for the future or the squad complexion.
The topical case of Raphael Varane is a case in point. No-one can deny his quality, he played in a World Cup final last year and has won it all at Real Madrid.
But the Spanish giants were happy enough to sell to United and bank more than 40million for a player approaching 30 with little resale value. His injury record since arriving at Old Trafford has been patchy and speculation suggests he may move on in the summer having fallen down the pecking order this season.
Its a lesson United must learn and fast. Casemiro, for all his success last season, falls into a similar bracket given the 60million shelled out and the lack of resale value.