Manchester United: Misguided spending
For many United fans, the easy answer here would be the unpredictability of their manager, Jose Mourinho. Yes, the Portuguese is extremely accomplished and has won everything, but he’s shown a frightening pattern of imploding every third season with a new squad. Mourinho knows how to twist media narratives and dig deep into the inner psyches of his opponents, but he sometimes struggles with keeping the players under his watch happy and performing at the highest level. Look no farther than Anthony Martial. Mourinho had a major dispute with the Frenchman earlier in the season, but has recently warmed up to him. Why? Well, Martial has three goals in his last two games and looks to be providing some serious attacking impetus for a team desperately in need of it thanks to the misfiring Romelu Lukaku.
But Mourinho isn’t United’s biggest fear. That would be their shockingly high wage bill is. United are one of the richest clubs in soccer, so complaining about salaries can seem trivial. But once you take a look at the types of salaries they’re paying to underperforming players week after week, any person with an ounce of finance sense would start having nightmares. Alexis Sanchez is somehow the highest earner on this team, earning an estimated $350-400k per week.
That’s a wildly high number for someone that can’t even sniff the pitch anymore. The much-maligned Paul Pogba has turned his form around as of late but he’s still making an outrageous amount of money for someone that’s consistently inconsistent. This wouldn’t necessarily be a problem, except for the fact United decided not to spend on the players Mourinho wanted this summer. United aren’t going to run out of money any time soon, but the way its being spent indicates the larger dysfunction at the club. Until someone gets that side of things in order, it’s hard to seem them challenging for the Premier League title.