If Manchester United really do have a plan to return to the top, it’s hard to see it.
The Red Devils are in a reactive state right now, simply lumbering from manager to manager until one eventually sticks.
Ralf Rangnick’s arrival hasn’t yielded the turnaround many expected and there will be further change in the summer when a permanent manager is brought in.
More money will be spent but will things actually change on the pitch? Who knows.
But it’s not just on the pitch where United are a shadow of their former selves.
Dressing room leaks
There have been several leaks in recent months, leading to reports that the players don’t like Rangnick’s training methods and have given his assistant Chris Armas the nickname ‘Ted Lasso’.
Sir Alex Ferguson wouldn’t have stood for it. The club hasn’t been been the same since the Scot’s retirement in 2013.
Lukaku exposed United in 2019
Yet these issues aren’t exactly new. Back in 2019, Romelu Lukaku exposed the mess that United have become during a podcast appearance just before he signed for Inter Milan.
The Belgian striker’s goalscoring record at Old Trafford wasn’t terrible – he scored 42 goals in 96 games – but he was never able to win over the fans and left after two seasons.
Lukaku revealed all on the LightHearted Podcast, explaining how he was made to feel like a scapegoat for United’s struggles and why he had to leave.
“They have to find a culprit. If they want to put the blame on me, f*** it. I know what I’ve been through and this is just soccer,” the striker said.
“I’m here and playing, but at one point I will go. I’ll do something else. For me it was just s***.
“The team has so much potential to do great stuff. A lot of talent, but it’s not only talent, it’s about building a team.
“A lot of people don’t think I can be part of that team. For me, I’m just saying, if it’s like that, then we can go our separate ways.
“You guys can find someone who really fits the bill and I can go.”
Lukaku, who just won the Club World Cup with Chelsea, continued: “They have to find somebody. It is [Paul] Pogba or me or Alexis [Sanchez] – it’s the three of us all the time.
“For me, the thing that makes me laugh a lot is how the hell is s*** going bad with my team, but when I’m with my national team it’s good? I’m happy.
“Then something is wrong, is it me? I didn’t play the last three weeks of the season and I had another three weeks before I went to the national team. But I was there and rolling. Nobody complains.
“When I go and play for my country, we play the style of play that we want to play probably with Man United and I do well over there.”
‘I want to go now’
Lukaku also spoke about his disappointment with United for failing to react when rumours of his departure surfaced.
“I think a lot of stuff has been said, where I didn’t feel protected,” Lukaku added. “A lot of rumours, ‘Rom is going to go there, they don’t want Rom’ and nobody came out and shot it down.
“It was for a good three-four weeks. I’m waiting for someone to come out and shut it down. It didn’t happen. I just wanted you to say ‘Rom is going to fight for his place’, but it never happened for four-five months.
“It was all ‘he’s got to go, he doesn’t deserve to be there’. Well OK, then I want to go now.
“There is fighting for your position, but also being somewhere that people want you to be. I told them it’s not good for me to be at a place where I’m not wanted.
“We’re not stupid. They consider us dumb, but we are not dumb, we know who is doing leaks and stuff. I told them, you can’t be working like this, it’s better for me to go now.
“You don’t want to keep an unhappy player and you clearly don’t want me to be here either.”
Leaks. Scapegoats. Lack of cohesion.
That was three years ago. Nothing’s changed, has it?