The Treble column: June 20, Manchester United opinion on three topics, every weekday.
Richard Arnold’s actions speak louder than his words
Covering Manchester United is usually a joy, but the start to this summer has been somewhat discouraging. Amid high hopes the club would actually get organized and start refreshing the squad, fan patience is being tested.
I took a break at the weekend, predicting that by time Monday rolled around, nothing would have been accomplished when it came to signing players.
One news item which filled the void was CEO Richard Arnold meeting with fans at a pub, attempting to ward off a planned protest at his home, BBC Sport reported.
Arnold came out of the meeting with credit, with short clips leaked online. He paid lip service to the club’s problems, and came across as a CEO who cared, and a decent bloke – but that is the least you expect from an official who steps into a role where Ed Woodward was paid £3 million per year.
He insisted work was ongoing with regard to signings, and team improvement, and while we take that at face value, ultimately the club has to deliver.
It is now Monday, and as predicted, no tangible progress has been made with cracking the Frenkie de Jong transfer, or any other.
If United can’t get the job done off the pitch, then it doesn’t matter what Arnold has to say. And signings are just one part of it. Credit to him to having a chat to protestors, whether he was aware he was being filmed or not.
This is an important summer for Arnold. He can’t afford a repeat of Woodward’s 2013, where a new manager was let down terribly. He has to make sure his actions speak loudest, because all the words and empathy he can offer to supporters counts for nothing if the club can’t deliver.
Richard Arnold will be judged not on what he says this summer, how he says it, or who he says it do. He has to deliver and set Ten Hag up to succeed, and that’s it. No excuses
Timber needs more self-belief
Jurrien Timber’s move to Manchester United is offfor now, with the defender spooked by Louis van Gaal’s warning about his World Cup chances.
If there’s a lesson to be taken here, it’s that Timber needs more self-belief. He should have backed his own ability, to break into a defense which leaked goals for fun last season at Old Trafford.
Van Gaal keeps on selecting Nathan Ake in his Netherlands squads, despite his bit-part role for Manchester City.
Donny van de Beek was dropped because he started only four Premier League games for United in 18 months. The same fate wouldn’t befall Timber under Erik ten Hag, the manager who picked him more than 30 times as a starter last season for Ajax, and handed him his debut.
No wonder Ten Hag feels let down by the defender’s decision to stay at Ajax. It’s a shame, and while United could revisit a move after the World Cup, that will depend on whether another defender tempts Ten Hag into a move this summer.
Lingard shows why United won’t miss him
Jesse Lingard leaving Manchester Untied on a free transfer is well overdue, with his departure announced earlier this month.
While the midfielder waits to announce his next club, he confirmed at the weekend he has signed… up for TikTok.
We can only wonder what took him so long. The video platform is made for Jesse Lingard’s dancing antics.
But it reinforces why United are well rid of him. The dancing footballer act has worn thin. He is 29 now, and along with Paul Pogba, was one of two players who infuriated Wayne Rooney in 2017 when he found them dancing in the dressing room after a defeat.
Rooney told The Times: “I do remember one time. Coming into training at United the day after a defeat, still feeling very annoyed and walking into the dressing room with Michael Carrick. We found Jesse and Paul dancing in there with the music on. I went over, turned it off and took the speakers out of the dressing room — because that’s my mindset, that’s how I’ve grown up in football.”
Manchester United need an overhaul, and getting shot of Pogba and Lingard at long last is part of the fresh start. Now to start getting their replacements in…