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Man Utd have given up! Red Devils’ acceptance of mediocrity is official

Robin Bairner
Erik ten Hag, Man Utd, 2023/24
© ProShots

Manchester United have decided to throw the towel in for this season.

The January transfer window may not be over, but given the club’s stance on making improvements to the squad, it is clear that the current hierarchy are content to risk finishing behind David Moyes’ West Ham and a Brighton side that has not reached its previous heights.

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Man Utd lie eighth in the Premier League standings, and that seems to be OK.

The Glazers are playing out time, with the fanbase apparently pacified with the knowledge that a sale is coming, and with that in mind, they have no intention of strengthening the squad. The owners, it seems, are happy to drift along in this limbo.

The acceptance of mediocrity at Old Trafford is now official. It is an embarrassing situation at one of the world’s biggest and richest clubs.

Manager Erik ten Hag is not under any particularly acute pressure and the board are unwilling to bolster the squad in the transfer window.

At least, that’s what the Daily Mail indicates as it states that the Red Devils are not about to fund a replacement for the injured Anthony Martial, who has undergone groin surgery that has effectively ended his Old Trafford career.

For the second half of the season, United are set to lean solely on Rasmus Hojlund as a natural centre-forward option, despite the youngster having only two Premier League goals to his name.

Hojlund will improve – of course he will, he’s too good not to – but he’s not going to turn into Erling Haaland overnight, and even if his form did somehow replicate his Norwegian neighbour’s, relying solely on one player for goals is a risky endeavour.

Man Utd fail to land Benzema

Man Utd have reportedly turned down the opportunity to sign Karim Benzema from Saudi Pro League side Al-Ittihad, with the club concerned over the “exorbitant” sums required to sign the 36-year-old forward.

The Sun reports that Financial Fair Play guidelines are one of the reasons that the former Real Madrid star, who won the 2022 Ballon d’Or, is not being targeted for a January transfer.

Benzema, meanwhile, claimed on Wednesday that reports indicating that he wants out of Saudi are false.

United, though, are not simply restricted to exploring one option. Given their pull, they should be able to manufacture some kind of deal to fuel an improved conclusion to the season.

Everyone understands that the real revolution will come in the summer, when Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Sir Dave Brailsford properly get their hands on the transfer policy of the club, but the stronger the base they have to work with, the better.

In the meantime, it looks like Man Utd have just given up on this season.

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