Opinion: Has Solskjaer been set up to fail by Woodward?

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has seen firsthand how difficult it has been to sign players swiftly and a lot of this goes down to Ed Woodward’s inability to be a great negotiator.

As things stand, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has only two players to show for in the summer transfer window. Daniel James was brought from Swansea City while Aaron Wan-Bissaka finally arrived after a lot of bickering between the Red Devils and Crystal Palace.

While James is a young prospect who is going to be given time to get settled at his new club, the same cannot be said of Wan-Bissaka.

United parted with a lot of money to sign the young full-back and the club expects him to get down to business right away. The England Under 21 international is a long-term replacement for Antonio Valencia and is expected to officially render Ashley Young obsolete.

However, the club’s problems are far from over. Solskjaer is aware of the club’s much publicized defensive struggles. The Red Devils do not have a consistent defender other than Victor Lindelof. The Swede has proven to be a great signing but the same cannot be said about the rest of his teammates.

Eric Bailly has simply gone backwards, Marcos Rojo is a two-footed accident waiting to happen while Phil Jones is always one over-exuberant tackle away from pulling a muscle. Chris Smalling on the other hand, blows hot and cold. Axel Taunzebe had a great season with Aston Villa but playing for Manchester United is a different ball-game. The youngster isn’t expected to be a regular straightway anyway.

Solskjaer has been urging Ed Woodward to sign a defender. Initially, the club made contact with Kalido Koulibaly’s agent. The Senegal international wants to leave but Napoli’s asking price forced the club into looking elsewhere.

Matthijs de Ligt was always going to be a bridge too far given his burgeoning reputation.

However, the most infuriating part of all this for the club’s supporters is the case of Harry Maguire. The England international has been linked with a move to Old Trafford for two years now. However, the Red Devils might miss out on him too after it transpired that the Leicester City man might make a move to Manchester City. If that happens, it would be Ed Woodward’s latest episode of failing his manager.

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It happened with Jose Mourinho last season and it seems that it is happening with Solskjaer. While the Norwegian has gotten himself two exciting players, that is not enough. The club needs to invest in defense and find the right midfielder who can actually show more consistency and less glamour than Paul Pogba.

So far, Ed Woodward has been haggling with the owners of reported targets. The CEO of one of the richest clubs in the world is not willing to pay the current market price for players who might be sold to other clubs who aren’t being as thrifty as the residents of Old Trafford.

Moreover, it has been rumored that Woodward is likely to leave the manager out of most transfer decisions in the near future. That is another thing that is completely mind-boggling if not insane. A manager is supposed to come up with a list of players (in terms of profile). If input is not taken from the manager, one cannot expect the club to succeed.

For months, the club has been looking to bring in a technical director. Woodward is not a football genius and needs someone more experienced to tackle the sporting side of things. So far, he hasn’t been able to find the right man for the job. Tons of candidates are out there but at present, no one is close enough to getting the job.

Clearly, the club is in turmoil and a lot of it is down to Ed Woodward’s inability to see beyond the marketing gimmicks that the club so proudly displays.

Woodward staying in charge of signing players and making the final decision on how much a player is worth is a recipe for disaster. At the end of the day, the manager is going to be the fall guy for the club if the season starts with Solskjaer not getting most things from his wishlist.

It has happened before…twice to be precise!

And Ed Woodward has always been the one constant every time the club fails to bring in required players.

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