For fans of a certain generation there is no club in the world that can be hated quite as much as Manchester United.
A certain Scottish manager’s abrasive personality, the annoying tendency to score goals at the very end of stoppage time and the fact that United always seemed to win helped foster a deep level of hatred. Yet it was the vibrant, attack-minded manner in which they won that most enraged opposition fans and helped cultivate the most intense of dislike – one that stems from jealousy.
Nowadays though the scenes on display at Old Trafford are remarkably different, the slow, monotonous and at times fearful approach is lulling fans to sleep (literally in one fans case).
For many fans seeing United reign as king of the jungle is all they have known, yet under the stewardship of Louis van Gaal the club have appeared more like an old, decrepit lion, whose fangs and claws have been severely blunted. A fan on 5Live summed it up quite nicely when he said that United are a club “heading for mid-table irrelevance.”
Manchester United seem to lack either the will or the personnel to captivate the fans. Moments that steal the breath from your lungs and remind you why you love football are becoming as rare as hen’s teeth.
Anthony Martial looks capable, yet remains as raw as a butcher’s steak, Memphis Depay’s form has plummeted from a cliff after initially impressing, while the man the club have so often turn to for salvation, Wayne Rooney, looks as though he has lost a great deal of pace, both in his legs and in his speed of thought.
If reports are to be believed, United have targeted the £60million-rated Borussia Dortmund marksman, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, as the player to once again reignite the passions of the Old Trafford support.
While on paper this deal looks ideal I just cannot see this one happening, there are just too many variables that go against it. Firstly, and most importantly is the uncertainty surrounding the manager’s role.
It looks guaranteed that Louis van Gaal will abdicate come the summer and the new gaffer may not want the Gabon striker in his squad.
Secondly is the fact that Aubameyang may not wish to join the Salford club.
They look as though they have no real drive, no overriding plan to achieve success. It all looks a bit slapdash, as though their targets are spouted from a random word generator. Add the fact that the player has said on multiple occasions that he sees his future (if that is indeed to be away from the Signal Iduna Park) at one of Spain’s two monoliths.
There is no question that Aubameyang would be a terrific signing, he is quick, skilful, rangy and has added an obscene number of goals to his game that now makes him one of the deadliest strikers on the planet. His 20 Bundesliga goals can only be bettered by Robert Lewandowski’s 21. Not only would he be a great player in his own right, but he could also be utilised as a template for what Martial could become.
I would love to see Aubameyang ply his trade on these shores, sadly I fear that it will not be for some time yet.