Manchester United’s weekend loss to Leicester City saw the club make the worse possible start to a six game sequence and one that could have major repercussions for manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The nature of the defeat heaped yet more pressure on the under-fire Norwegian, with the Reds’ scattergun attack, invisible midfield and leaky defence prompting questions from some quarters about coaching at the club.
And, if a report in today’s MEN is to be believed, we might be witnessing the first signs of cracks in the manager – club relationship.
The report claims Solskjaer is “privately unhappy Manchester United failed to sign a midfielder in the transfer window as he continues to struggle on a proactive partnership.”
United are said to have held talks with representatives of then-Rennes’ prodigy Eduardo Camavinga, only to find that the Frenchman only wanted to join Real Madrid.
West Ham’s Declan Rice is also thought to have been considered, however his £100m valuation and long-term contract pushed him out of reach.
The Red Devils were also linked with Bayern Munich’s Leon Goretzka. However, the German international ended speculation about his future by signing an extended deal last month.
Incredibly, the report also states that “the United recruitment department was unable to identify an attainable target without compromising United’s budget.”
A club of United’s stature, with eyes around the globe, being unable to find a single decent quality midfielder would be a pretty damning statement on the scouting department.
If rumours of Solskjaer’s dissatisfaction do have any substance it could be the first time his private misgivings about the club hierarchy have slipped into the public sphere.
Unlike his famously outspoken predecessor, Jose Mourinho, the Norwegian tends to keep grievances in-house, so the prospect of him burning bridges during a press conference is fairly remote.
Should the thunderclouds over Old Trafford darken, the current United boss is more likely to rely upon favour among the hardcore fan base.
Despite mounting online criticism, he’s still revered by a sizeable chunk of Glazer-sceptic match goers.
So, could this be the first shot across the bows, as he looks to ration blame for the current failings?
On one hand it’s easy to have some sympathy, as it was obvious to many outsiders that the side needed a quality defensive midfielder. The failure to recruit one is already proving to be a major oversight.
That sympathy has to have limits though. There’s enough quality in the current squad for much better performances than we’ve seen this season. It’s up to Solskjaer to find a solution.