Manchester United have confirmed that Richard Arnold will replace Ed Woodward as their most senior executive on February 1st and there are plenty of issues to be resolved.
Original article published 6 January 2022
The Red Devils have rung the changes this season, with manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer losing his job towards the end of November.
Woodward's decision to leave does not come as a surprise, with the United chief confirming his decision to move on last spring. His role in the doomed European Super League project did not help his cause, and it will now be Arnold's job to turn the ship around at Old Trafford.
The 50-year-old has been the club's managing director since 2013, and we take a look at five areas he needs to work on to try and improve the club's fortunes.
United, 15/8 to finish in the top four and 2/7 to secure a top-six spot, turned to Ralf Rangnick when they parted company with Solskjaer.
The 63-year-old signed a deal until the end of the season and he will stay on at Old Trafford for an additional two years in a consultancy role.
Rangnick has only lost one of his games in charge, but recent reports suggest the players are struggling to adapt to his tactics.
Rangnick and Arnold will need to work quickly to identify the club's new manager, and it is vital the German leaves the Red Devils in a good position, with European football a must for the club.
The Red Devils, 18/1 to win the Champions League, were not alone in their decision to join the European Super League.
United's fanbase and others were quick to slam the decision, and it is clear that Arnold needs to work on the club's relationship with the supporters.
Sections of the fanbase have protested in recent months, and United cannot afford to ignore the fans' appeals much longer.
While other clubs seem to tap into their former players' ideas and passion for the club, the Red Devils have been heavily criticised by their former stars.
The likes of Gary Neville and Roy Keane are now well-respected pundits, but Arnold could reduce some of the bad press by improving the relationship with some of the former players who may feel like they deserve a role at the 'Theatre of Dreams'.
Woodward's commercial work has been superb for the majority of his tenure, but the club's recent transfers have raised eyebrows.
The Red Devils spent £75million on the likes of Donny van de Beek, Amad Diallo, Alex Telles and Facundo Pellistri last season, and none of them have made an impact for the first team.
The year before that, they spent over £200million to sign Harry Maguire, Bruno Fernandes, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James.
Maguire, Fernandes and Wan-Bissaka have been below-par throughout the campaign, while James has since moved on to Leeds United.
United appear to have lost their appeal when it comes to world-class stars and Arnold cannot let the club miss out on deals to their rivals.
United's current debt is another area for Arnold to work on, and he can kill two birds with one stone as he tries to reduce the size of the squad.
Arnold will hopefully bring in suitable people to run the football side of the business, and that could help them reduce their current wage bill.
They have four first-team goalkeepers on their books, while Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, and Juan Mata look set for pastures new either this month or at the end of the season.
Financially, the club could put themselves in a healthier position by selling their fringe players, allowing Arnold to work on other areas such as improving both the training ground and Old Trafford.
Arnold's appointment looks like it has been planned for many months; for United's sake, let's hope he has spent the same amount of time working on a new strategy.