After last night’s struggles against Burnley, you’d worry that something might get into the heads of those at Old Trafford that a bit of retail therapy is just what the team needs.
Despite their recent upturn under Ole, it would be easy for Man United to relapse into that old pattern of destructive behaviour – signing players just for the sake of it.
They’ve fallen for panicked purchases in windows past. J**e M*****ho will be on the Christmas card list of Alexis Sanchez’s bank manager for life thanks to the deal the Chilean struck last January, while Falcao took a year’s R&R while coining it at United’s expense when they freaked out in the summer of 2015.
£28m for Marouane Fellaini doesn’t look so bad, does it? We haven’t seen a bigger bunch of useless mugs since that Bovril stand at the International Vegan Convention.
Even Juan Mata was bought without much of a clue as to how he’d be used, just because Chelsea wanted to sell him and Moyesy’d been messed around the previous summer.
United should know there’s nothing wrong with what they’ve got now – results under Solskjaer have shown it. But a desperate compulsion to splurge can pop up at pressurised moments, so the interim manager must do everything in his power to resist any inlcination or inkling those around him may have to squander more moolah on emergency signings.
1 – Twist Ed’s noodle
Ed Woodward’s the guy pulling the purse strings at the club – and he’s been too happy to yank them wide open whenever an agent’s fluttered his client portfolio in the past. He gets a bit giddy around deadline day.
The only thing Woodward enjoys more than overpaying clapped out players is sticking the United badge on as much tat as possible. Take advantage of that by contacting as many noodle manufacturers across the world as you can find and tell them Ed wants a word. That’ll keep him tied up well past the January 31st.
2 – Cold shoulder agents
There’s nothing agents like more than good natter about the deal they’ll do you on the striker with the dodgy knee.
The only way to handle this is to go to ground. Turn off read receipts, stick the out-of-office “Gone Training” message on, coach Mike Phelan to act like a rabid dog whenever someone calls – that is what he’s on staff for, right? – essentially live like a hermit for the next few days.
You can’t sign anyone if no one can contact you. Simple.
3 – Glazed over Glazers
While the thought of encasing the owners in a glass box would appeal to some fans, the better strategy is to warp their minds with and endless stream of nonsense.
If that’s not a job for Brexit I don’t what is.
24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week, there’s non-stop sh*t chatted about something that no one seems to know anything about.
While that could just easiy describe Sky Sports News, you should make every effort to ensure the monotony of the UK/EU conflab is present on every screen within reach of the Glazer family at all times. Not even United’s dull-as-Danny Murphy owners can resist the relentless tedium of it and their minds’ll be so melted they’ll never think of interfering with the club.
4 – Suppress the press
There was no one better at managing the media than Alex Ferguson. Any reporter who said or wrote the wrong thing had their credentials revoked quicker than an underling gets fired for leaving a mic on.
You can only ban so many reporters though. For the rest, you’ve got to feed them some outrageous rumours – United to sign a player who has barely played a game at any decent level for £7m – stuff that’ll never happen, and that should keep them occupied.
5 – Trust the players you’ve got
Your paranoid predecessor won’t agree, but take off the tin-foil hat and sh*t-tinted spectacles, and United don’t have that bad a squad.
Sure, you wouldn’t fancy Phil Jones to clear a spillage in aisle five most of the time, but with the rest of the team full of confidence, that takes the pressure off the weaker links.
Results have shown how having faith in the squad is already paying off.
Plus, if you p*ss Pogba off with the wrong signing, you’re definitely sacked, so minimise the risks for now.
6 – Log off
Hard as it might be to believe, you’re really, really not playing Football Manager – you’ve actually gone from Molde to Man United! It’s like Cardiff was just a bad dream.
You may find it difficult to resist giving an ultimatum to the board to sign more players for your top four push, but you’ll risk ruining the new found harmony in your team.
Sure, send your scouts on a six-month South American mission for a young RB, even hand the teamtalks over to your assistant. Whatever you do, don’t be tempted into signing former FM wonderkid Carlos Vela even if he’s willing to consider the move from LA to Manchester.
Fire up your Molde save instead and hunker down for a quiet few days.