Long, one-club careers in football are a rarity these days. Buying and selling players has become the commodity of the day and may be necessary to offset the calamity that FIFA fair play brings to the top teams. Club policies of today rarely substantiate or reward players seeking a career at a single club. Even so, there still has to be a business model of buying players to assimilate value on the field and at least break even if it does not work out. Presently, Manchester United is losing the value of their players and offloading in a fashion that assists other clubs that will take the time to mature the investment. Unfortunately there is not enough talent in the reserves to make up for the experienced players that are at risk in the first team. The examples below are just a fraction of what has become a horrible model of scouting talent and developing top professionals. Some of these players have won domestic league titles in top premier leagues in Europe and regularly feature in international play. Many have begun to descend into the pits of the footballing graveyard at the expense of bad policy.
Shinji Kagawa was a star under Jurgen Klopp’s reign in a rising Borussia Dortmund side winning the Bundesliga in 2012. A spirited and charismatic play maker in the German league was brought to Manchester United to become that same play maker. Consistently played out of position and rarely getting 90 minutes has brought the confidence of Kagawa to an all-time low and to the brink of loan or transfer.
Javier Hernandez was a brilliant signing and scored 13 goals in 27 games for Manchester United during his first season. His international goal tally plummeted after joining Manchester United and hardly played in the 2014 World Cup garnering a grand total of just 75 minutes. Chicharito is a tireless worker on the pitch when given the confidence of the manager, but has played with less charisma with looming transfer talk and recent merry-go-round of managers.
Anders Lindegaard is a solid goalkeeper that was on track to play a long career with Manchester United following the departure of van der Sar in 2011. Usually starting in low key cup tournaments and the occasional first team appearance in the Champions League , the Dane showed great promise as an up and coming stopper. With only 28 starts in 4 seasons with United, transfer talk looms about as the second choice to David DeGea is rumored to be unhappy. Another international career that stopped completely in 2011 after Lindegaard joined United.
Wilfried Zaha played 126 games while in the Championship with Crystal Place. He has only played in 2 Manchester United games since joining the club in 2013 and looks to be on his way out of the club. No one has really seen Zaha play since joining United and there is little data to compare how he stacks up against Premier League opponents. Zaha has speed and technical talents but are they being fostered at Manchester United? Qualifying for the England national team, Zaha has only played two games in as many seasons and without playing time at Manchester United, speculation exists that he wishes he has chosen to play for Ivory Coast.
Marouane Fellani was a first team regular for David Moyes during his stay at Everton and a starter for the Belgium national team in the 2014 World Cup. The likes of which he plays with numerous stars such as Courtois, Vermaelen, Hazard, and DeBruyne. A towering presence in the midfield and ability to go box-to-box, Fellani now sees himself on the chopping block with transfer rumors to Italy. With a 28 million dollar price tag, could there not be any motivation for Manchester United to develop this player into the Van Gaal style and create value on the deal?
Alex Buttner was brought into the squad in 2012 and sold for an estimated 5 million to Dynamo Moscow in June, 2014. This situation may just be a matter relating to the public discontent between Van Gaal and Buttner over some international omissions from the Dutch national team. A starter already for Dynamo Moscow, he is getting Europa League playing time and will no doubt feature in first team games. He will continue to gain experience in the Russian league beside players like Chris Samba and Russian World Cup star Kokorin who is a personal favorite of Fabio Capello.
Richie De Laet was sold in mid-2012 and helped Leicester City win promotion back to the Premier League. De Laet was voted the Manchester United reserve team player of the year in 2010. With United now struggling to field solid defenders, letting De Laet go and not continue to mature was a huge mistake. Leicester City may have found the right formula for De Laet and a first game draw to Everton may see the former United man gaining stock.
Why is it that these talents only look bad under the lights of Old Trafford, if they even play at all? How can so much spend consume talent abroad to see it falter and fail under a system that is publicly beginning to show signs of wear? BUY BUY BUY is the talk of the day with United showing a thin squad that barely has the depth to play additional domestic cup games effectively. Just take a look at the last two years of player and squad management and it is becoming easier to see that there are some serious problems at the club. Van Gaal has his work cut out for him and there will be an enormous amount of work to do just to MAKE do. The club had better do it and do it fast or one will perhaps see the likes of new signing Rojo follow the trend into career sobering “stardoom”.