It looks as if Manchester United have finally put last season’s David Moyes horror show behind them. Everything about the Red Devils feels that bit fresher this year. Player and indeed supporter confidence have sky rocketed and there seems to be a good feeling around Old Trafford again.
After a turbulent beginning, Louis van Gaal looks to have re-steadied the United ship. Van Gaal deploys his teams to play a more stylish style of play to that of Moyes, where you saw nothing but aimless balls lumped into the opposing penalty area, thus bringing the reds more joy.
However, the ship may be steadier but it still isn’t all plain sailing for Manchester United. Twenty six years of league titles and glory under Sir Alex Ferguson has left United fans worldwide greedy and hungry for trophies and rightfully so. Fergie set the standard so high, its often wondered will it ever be matched again.
In hindsight, a lot of United fans, who find it hard to let the days of the great Scot in charge go, will feel that the current third place position they occupy in the league is an underachievement. Not to mention many supporters will be experiencing withdrawals from the lack of European football on the red half of Manchester this season.
Who’s to say the Red Devils couldn’t be in their more familiar territory of challenging for the title right now if every squad member was giving it 110 per cent on a weekly basis? United could be doing a bit better but like every team, there is always some individuals not pulling their weight. Like at a lot of the top clubs, there are players taking home big pay cheques despite only being on the mere fringes of the action and contributing zilch to the side.
Thanks to my browsing on Google, I have acquired the leaked wage bill of Manchester United and like I did previously with Liverpool FC, I will expose the players who are not worth the weekly incomes they’re earning. Without further a do, it’s now time to analyse which so called stars are stealing a living at Manchester United Football Club
Marouane Fellaini: £80,000 a week
To be fair to the big man, his displays have slightly improved this season. However, he still hasn’t done near enough to justify such a large wage. The Belgian was brought in during the summer of 2013 as David Moyes’ pet from Everton. He was the Red Devils only signing of that particular window, costing £27.5 million.
United fans everywhere were very wary of the large price tag and they had every right to be. After only a few games it was evident that the reds had overpaid. Fellaini looked lost playing for such a big club. He was just big awkward looking man with a massive afro going around elbowing players and giving away silly free kick after silly free kick.
The six foot four inches tall midfielder had lost all of his confidence and the fans wanted him out the exit door. As previously mentioned, Fellaini has bucked up his ideas a little this season but he still has a long distance to go if he wants to become a player to be remembered at Old Trafford and to prove he is worth the cash the club is forking out for his services.
Ashley Young: £118,000 a week
Perhaps the most predictable winger in the Premier League, Ashley Young is really squeezing every penny he can out of the Manchester United board. Ashley Young was such a great player at Aston Villa but in his four years or so at United it appears as if he’s failed to live up to expectations at one of the world’s largest clubs.
Young put pen to paper with the reds in 2011 on a deal worth £20 million. It has gotten to the stage where Premier League full backs love to see him on the United starting 11. A few little step overs followed by a weak attempt to skin the defender is what Young brings to the United attack. In his time he has shown glimpses of what he showed in a Villa shirt but this is in rare cases.
The added competition of Mata and Di Maria in recent transfer windows hasn’t even been enough to inspire the English man to lift his game. It’s now or never for Young. He needs to start turning in respectable performances or else be on his way in order to free up the wage bill for someone more suitable to come in and do his job.
Anders Lindegaard: £40,000
Lindegaard isn’t the worst of those on this list, but paying a goalkeeper £40,000 a week to warm the bench is just too much. Lindegaard was purchased by United in 2010 for a fee in the region of £3.5 million and from day one it was clear he would be playing second fiddle to the legendary Edwin Van der Sar and later the young prospect, David de Gea.
The highlight of the Dane’s career at Old Trafford is an extended run in the side during the shaky start to life in Manchester for David de Gea. In this time Lindegaard managed to keep four successive clean sheets in four straight Barclay’s Premier League outings.
This feat proves that Lindegaard is a steady custodian and is a good person to have waiting in the wings incase his services are required. But the main point here is, £40,000 is too much capital to be paying out to your second string goalkeeper.
Rademal Falcao: £280,000 a week
Last summer really was an exciting time for United fans. A New and improved gaffer, the arrival of the wizard Di Maria and of course the loan signing of highly rated Colombian forward, Rademal Falcao. On paper United’s attack looks scary but the man who was expected to come in and bang in a vast amount of goals hasn’t yet delivered as such.
He has looked dangerous in spurts but to be fair he came to Manchester as one of the finest strikers on the planet and you would expect him to always be on top form if he carries a title as massive as that one. Four goals so far in the famous red shirt is simply not worthy of £280,000 a week and being known as the second highest paid player at the club.
Despite not always showing his class, he is obviously popular amongst the Old Trafford faithful as United fans were visibly fuming at his exclusion from the match day squad for the home defeat to Southampton. The Monaco man has a few months left to improve his goal scoring tally and possibly persuade the board to pay a hefty fee for his full time services.
Luke Shaw: £50,000 a week
It all appears to be too much too soon for the young full back at Manchester United. The youngster appears to have a love/hate relationship with Louis Van Gaal. The whole scenario at the beginning of the campaign where Van Gaal publicly announced that the 19-year-old is out of shape and not yet ready for his place in the team must have been a real kick in the gut for the left back.
Despite these acquisitions, big things are still expected of Shaw. He is still expected to become England’s next leading left back on the international stage and United did pay £30 million to bring him to the club so they must see him as a long-term investment. He will come good but at the moment he’s not doing enough to be on that kind of money.
Adnan Januzaj: £50,000 a week
Another example of too much too soon for a youngster at Manchester United. The young Belgian was a regular in the tenure of David Moyes but he appears to be an afterthought under Louis van Gaal. He was handed a new contract last season following a string of promising displays. This of course meant a substantial pay rise for the youngster.
This season though, Januzaj appears to be on the fringes of the squad. He is desperately trying to break in but alls he can do is watch on from the outside. The best solution would be to ship the Belgian out on loan as he still has plenty of untapped potential left in him. If Van Gaal manages him correctly he could still have a great player on his hands for the future, but at this present time, that is a big if.
Wayne Rooney: £300,000 a week
They say you leave the best for last. This one will really divide opinion for many out there. Wayne Rooney is a prime example of a modern-day greedy footballer. The England captain has held the club ransom a number of times in his career. He would often appear to be on the way out the exit door, looking to be heading to Stamford Bridge in a lot of cases.
However, just as you think you’ve seen the back of the number ten, the club offer him higher wages than the ones he had on his previous contracts and all of a sudden Rooney is happy once again. Many a year ago when he was a teenager at Everton, he was expected to become one of England’s greatest ever strikers by the time he hangs up his boots.
Now, he still has time left to leave his mark but Rooney will be turning 30 years old this calendar year and the time he has remaining is swiftly running out. As of now he has been hot and cold for United at club level and has flunked on a regular basis for England on the international stage. Tell me, how does this justify his whopper pay cheque? Heck, he is one of the highest paid players in world football. It truly is astonishing.
The squad of Manchester United looks like a potentially lethal grouping on paper. Unfortunately, paper does not win football games or league titles for that matter. It still isn’t too late for the reds of Manchester to make a surge at Manchester City and Chelsea, shaking up the title race in the process.
The club are also in with a great opportunity of lifting the FA Cup, following a mass exodus of top clubs in the fourth round. For these things to happen, the group of players will have to pull together and perform consistently from now till May. Every player will need to pull their weight and prove their worth, most notably the ones listed above.
The players that are struggling to get into the team will have to bide their time and take their chance when they get it. As for the Rooney like figures that are already firmly in the starting 11, they will have to put plenty of heart into the cause. Should be no problem if you are earning £300,000? Right?