The club’s top two scouts were fired a day after Ralf Rangnick announced that up to 10 new players could be needed in Manchester United’s redevelopment.
Perhaps it was the thrashing the club’s recruiters received from Graeme Souness and his team after the 4-0 loss to Liverpool that did it.
Jim Lawlor, the top scout, and Marcel Bout, the head of global scouting, are both out.
They had worked at United for a total of 24 years.
But it’s what’s happened in the last nine years that’s been the issue.
During that time, £1 billion has been spent on various projects.
What did United have left for their match against Liverpool, their fierce rivals?
Two players who began at Anfield, Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic, are set to leave this summer.
As is Jesse Lingard, who came on after ten minutes to replace the injured Paul Pogba.
Phil Jones had only started his second game of the season and had to be pulled at halftime for his own safety.
Aside from goalkeeper David de Gea, you couldn’t identify a single player who would get into Liverpool’s, Manchester City’s, or even Chelsea or Spurs’ teams. As Gary Neville phrased it, the team is “nothing.”
So, where does Erik ten Hag, the new boss, begin?
Ask any enraged United supporter right now, and De Gea, Cristiano Ronaldo, and a few young lads would be the only ones left at Carrington.
However, Ten Hag must strike a balance between how much better he can make what he inherits and those who are lost or “broken” — Neville’s description — and simply irreparable.
Everyone will have an opinion, and it is far easier to simply tell someone to “Get out” than to give them another chance.
Take Marcus Rashford, a Manchester United player who recently made his 300th appearance.
He’s had a terrible season, summed up by his poor first touch when put through at Anfield in the first half.
On game day, Rashford’s self-assurance is shattered.
Despite this, Rangnick still has a high opinion of the player based on what he delivers in practice.
Is it possible for a fresh coach like Ten Hag to translate that into games? Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw have both had bad luck this season.
Last season, Shaw was perhaps Europe’s greatest full-back, and Maguire’s arrival in summer 2019 coincided with an immediate improvement in defensive showing.
Are you able to resurrect and reboot them?
You can’t win a title with Scott McTominay and Fred in midfield, according to Roy Keane, but you’d want them in your squad.
Raphael Varane, on the other hand, is starting to resemble Alexis Sanchez.
Big name, great money, but no big performances, and while Maguire is forced to play through injury, Varane is frequently benched.
Rangnick’s comments regarding why so many United players are injured compared to Liverpool, who are firing on all cylinders as they chase a historic Quadruple, were intriguing.
Is it possible that that pull or strain hurts a little more when a team is struggling and the sidelines can be a safe haven?
Another important subject Ten Hag must address is Ronaldo.
While his presence appeared to shake up Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s set-up and objectives for the season, his goal return cannot be questioned.
Some players, like as Pogba, Edinson Cavani, and Lingard, are simply unavailable, so there is no need to make a decision. Others will need to be shown the way out.
Ten Hag will be familiar with his fellow Dutchman Donny van de Beek, although he is unable to play in the Premier League, as Everton is discovering during his loan time there.
After a disappointing period at Manchester United, Anthony Martial will be lucky to find a new club after a disastrous loan spell at Sevilla.
And, more importantly, what happened to Eric Bailly? So many new players, so much disappointment, so many poor acquisitions.
When Sir Alex Ferguson was seeking for a player, talent was only half of the equation.
Before making a decision, he wanted to do a thorough dive into their personalities.
Would he have signed Sanchez, Romelu Lukaku, Angel Di Maria, or Paul Pogba, all of whom he had already let go?
Too many of the players brought in following Fergie’s retirement have lacked the character to thrive at Old Trafford.
There are so few leaders, and so many eager to hide the manager and hang him out to dry.
United are considering investing another £350 million to assemble a new club, with a couple of free transfers thrown in for good measure.
Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur, Declan Rice of West Ham United, and Ruben Neves of Wolves are all apparent striking targets.
Christopher Nkunku of RB Leipzig is unquestionably a Rangnick.
This season, he has 17 goals and 13 assists while playing all over the front line.
United may sign Antonio Rudiger from Chelsea, whose contract is expiring, and Ten Hag’s own Noussair Mazraoui from Ajax, both of whom are free agents.
At £36 million, Paris Saint-Presnel Germain’s Kimpembe could be a centre-back option.
This rebuild is a significant duty, and failing to do it would result in more years in the wilderness. All you can do is wish Ten Hag luck.