Pre-season challenges that United boss Erik ten Hag faces at Old Trafford
Manchester United launch their latest attempt at a reset on Monday, when their non-international players return for the start of pre-season training and the beginning of Erik ten Hag’s time at the club.
The former Ajax coach has accepted the challenge of becoming the fifth permanent manager to try to restore United to something like the club they were when Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013.
But already there is a sense of nervousness amongst fans. Players have left or are leaving - and, as yet, while some bids have been made and interest expressed, no signings have been made to replace them, while rivals Manchester City and Liverpool have already strengthened.
Discontent with the Glazer family who own United is growing. As they receive £11m in share dividends, new chief executive Richard Arnold felt the need to head off a planned protest by some fans at his house by meeting them in a local pub and admitting the club had “burned” the best part of £1bn.
It is not the ideal backdrop for Ten Hag to begin his work, which takes him to Thailand on 12 July for a meeting with Liverpool and on to Australia and Oslo before their Premier League campaign begins.
Last season could hardly have ended any worse for United as they finished sixth and their trophy-less run extended to the fifth season.