Manchester United appear to ‘only’ have their sights set on a top four finish this season, as the club prepares to be sold by the Glazer family.
As speculation mounts around the potential sale of the club by the American owners, Erik ten Hag and his squad are looking at Champions League qualification as a minimum requirement by the season’s end.
And with the 17-year Glazer ownership of the club looking certain to come to an end, Duncan Castles says the team are looking to immediately restore European glory, as he says in The Times.
After last week’s revelation that Joel and Avram Glazer were searching for credible suitors in a potential sale, the players have been told that finishing outside of the top four in this year’s Premier League will not be accepted.
And it is a stark reminder of how far removed the clubs fortunes are from the success enjoyed under Sir Alex Ferguson.
United are still reeling from Cristiano Ronaldo alluding to as much in his recent bombshell interview with TalkTv, revealing that he saw “no evolution at the club” since the Scot retired nine years ago.
“You have some things inside the club which don’t help United reach the top level [like] City, Liverpool and even now Arsenal. In my opinion, it will be hard for United to be in the top of the game in the next two, three years”, explained the Portuguese superstar.
Castles went on to question not only the motives behind the planned sale, but also any future owners and their credibility.
“Was it coincidence that Manchester United, ‘one of the most successful and historic sports clubs in the world’, according to their own press release, formally became available for sale on the same day they allowed arguably the most successful footballer of all time to tear up the club’s most lucrative playing contract?”, asked the journalist in his article.
And United fans could be forgiven for thinking that Castles has been quite observant, given the timing of the Glazers recent statement.
With the American billionaires stating that they were “commencing a process to explore strategic alternatives for the club”, including “new investment into the club, a sale, or other transactions involving the company”, the stormy tenure coming to an end has excited fans around the world.
But as has been pointed out, it will take a person, or persons, with incredibly deep pockets to take the reins at the Old Trafford club.
With reports suggesting anything up to £10 billion would be needed to acquire the club lock, stock and barrel, an official asking price of £5 billion was “floated to the market”.
And with Castles bringing into question the level of ambition within the club, despite who is in charge any prospective new owners will surely need to bring success back to Old Trafford, post haste.