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Return To Glory : Manchester United

Manchester United's Return To Glory
Started on 20 November 2019 by OohAhCantona
Latest Reply on 16 September 2020 by Lankyman22
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Haha, you have to love a bit of a throwback kit.

2025-26 PRESEASON : SHADES OF ‘99


Definitely a bizarre preseason with the peak being a limp loss to CF Monterrey in the FIFA Club World Cup semi-final which featured an embarrassing patchwork of players thanks to overlapping vacations and international duty.

“I can’t really compete properly without a full roster, I was about to put my boots on. We had a long season, everyone needs a break and we probably should have planned better.”

Pochettino isn’t one to let one by, even in the preseason, but they didn’t have much choice. More weirdness as United did a preseason tour of Berlin right after playing Bayern Munich at Old Trafford… seems like a game that should have been in Berlin. A 2-0 win in the Community Shield would make it (6) in a row for United, their 27th title, to put them even farther ahead of Arsenal’s (13) for the most wins. A lopsided UEFA Super Cup win would also add some more silverware before the real season even started, a double is a nice way to head into the rest of the year.


Might need to rename it the United Shield at this rate.

FIFA Club World Cup (N) : CF Monterrey 4 - Manchester United 1
Friendly (H : Manchester United 6 - Bayern Munich 0
Friendly (A) : Burton Albion 0 - Manchester United 8
Friendly (A) : Galatasaray 0 - Manchester United 2
Friendly (A) : FC Nantes 0 - Manchester United 4
Friendly (A) : Avellino 1912 0 - Manchester United 9
FA Community Shield (N) : Manchester United 2 - Manchester City 0
UEFA Super Cup (N) : Manchester United 4 - AC Milan 0
Always nice to collect some silverware. I'm sure Monterrey celebrated their victory like no other ;)

SUMMER TRANSFER WINDOW : RENNAIS-DING PARTY & HIGH COMEDY

More silverware, more problems, once again nobody is shedding a tear for United but Mauricio Pochettino and Luís Campos had some internal issues to deal with that resulted in a clearing out of the second squad. Some of these moves just make good business sense, though the club would have preferred not to make them, the club continues to turn substantial profits off their ‘lottery ticket’ approach to their youth system.

The biggest name to move was “The Next Ronaldo”, Luís Nazário ended up doing a really good Ronaldo impression on and off the field after a (21) goal season pushed him to demand a massive salary increase. Seeing Mason Greenwood get a new deal for £14M/year didn’t help the issue and the transfer sharks started to circle with all the contract thrashing in the water. Transfermarkt had valued Nazario at £55M and United had him under contract until 2028 so he wasn’t going to be cheap, luckily for Campos a number of teams were more than willing to ease his concerns with massive piles of cash.

The next group of players became agitators as clubs put in bids for them, going all the way back to last January, and United is firm on refusing to hand out new contracts based on transfer bids. Venâncio, Pedro Durán, and Renato Leônidas were at the center of this with contract demands that included star caliber paychecks along with playing time which clearly wasn’t going to happen. Since they were already attracting offers it was easy to move them on for substantial sums.

The hardest sale was Álvaro Odriozola who has been so good for United, his only crime was being (29) with a contract expiring at the end of the season. There were some discussions but the club does not want to sign a player of his age to a long term deal when there are so many good players coming up through their system or available on the market. It was hard for everyone to let him go, but it was looking like he would leave on a free transfer rather than sign a new deal.


A fan favorite returns to Spain.

Obscuring the emotional sale of Odiozola was the bitter departure of Byron Caicedo. Pochettino is known to foster a great environment for his players with just about everyone absolutely delighted to play under him. Some inside reports point to an issue between Caicedo and Pochettino as starting out small, centered around some training criticism, and growing into a public outburst over the loss to Arsenal. Caicedo was rather vocal about blaming King Holland for Krzysztof Piątek’s double that turned the game for Arsenal and things really went south for him with the rest of the team after that.

Of course United would end up pouring salt in the wounds of some players as they announced a slew of new contracts. On top of Greenwood’s new deal the club would extend Bruno Fernandes (£14.5M), Danny Ginger (£15M), Ousmane Dembele (£18M), Dayot Upamecano (£14M), and Jean-Clair Todibo (£14M) through 2030. With all of this going on Chelsea tried to slip in and make a mess of things with some aggressive bidding on Eduardo Camaving and Ousmane Kanté. When United rejected a £77M bid for Camavinga the London club came back with an eye-watering £93M bid that was easier for Campos to reject than you might think. Through it all Camavinga never asked to be sold and United were happy to move on. Chelsea’s next tactic was a £66M for Kanté that fell on deaf ears as well.

Senior / Major Transfers (Out)
Luís Nazário (CF, Barcelona) £90M
Pedro Durán (CAM, Real Madrid) £60M
Renato Leônidas (LB, Arsenal) £60M
Byron Caicedo (LW, PSG) £50M
Venâncio (CB, Juventus) £45M
Álvaro Odriozola (RB, Barcelona) £35.5M
Alanzinho (CM, Real Madrid) £27.5M
Juan Marín (LB, Juventus) £26M
Mamadú Candé (CB, Benfica) £22.5M

Senior Transfers (In)
None

Final Transfer List (Impact Signings)
Enis Gashi (CAM, Stade Rennais - France) £10.5M
Pawel Krupa (GK, Bayer 04 Leverkusen - Germany) £7M
Francis Valletaux (CF, Lyon - France) £4.8M
Jesús Gallardo Diablo (CAM, Villarreal - Spain) £3.4M
Ibrahima Camara (CM, Stade Rennais - France) £3M
Luis Miguel Catalán (GK, Valencia - Spain) £2.6M
André Begue (GK, Stade Rennais - France) £2.5M
Maxwell de Rood (LB, FC Twente - Netherland) £1.5M
Lionel Valderrama (CB, Stade Rennais - France) £250K
Danilinho (LW, Roma - Brazil) £550K

You start winning the Champions League and then you start strutting around like you own the place, and if you don’t own it you want to buy it. Stade Rennais went from a good relationship with Luís Campos, thanks to the Eduardo Camavinga deal, to having their pantry stripped clean. Valencia was in a similar position but demanded some pretty high prices for the prospects United identified so they were only able to make off with one, no doubt the presence of David De Gea helped that sale get done. The comedy in this window came with the signing of two players that are no laughing matter; Jesús Gallardo Diablo and Maxwell de Rood. While Villareal got a little more for their devilish attacking midfielder FC Twente definitely isn’t laughing after United triggered a release clause that left the Dutch club red in the face. Some scouts believe de Rood could have been sold for £15-20M, if not more, by next summer. With his move to United some have dubbed him the “Next Lancaster French” but the club are quick to avoid heaping too much praise on a player who hasn’t even played for them yet.
Some not too surprising departures, others perhaps more so but a lot of money made to spend on bringing in another excellent crop of youngsters.

2025-26 FIRST HALF : GROUP OF DEATH

Last season seemed like the kind of year you could never top, but Mauricio Pochettino seems to have conjured up the kind of squad that just keeps improving. Even beyond a perfect first half to the season a surprise individual performance would set up a chance to shatter records and become yet another club Legend.

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE DRAW

GROUP H
Manchester United (England)
Real Madrid (Spain)
Lazio (Italy)
Bayer 04 Leverkusen (Germany)

Ye Football Gods be cruel, Pochettino will not be able to walk through the Champions League group stage this year. Despite still being heavily favored a bad run of fixtures could put United in a bad spot with this group, there won’t be a single game off with everyone in the group having a chance at moving on. Real Madrid are the favorites to finish second but a bad break could have them out of the competition. Tottenham’s reward for a good season is a similarly brutal group with PSG, Borussia Dortmund, and Fenerbahçe. Arsenal (AC Milan, AS Monaco, Dinamo Zagreb) and Manchester City (VfL Wolfsburg, Ajax, Celtic) are favorites to win their group with Arsenal having the biggest challenge.

United’s draw does have some good storylines with former United midfielder Angel Gomes now at Bayer 04 Leverkusen. Gomes continues to have a strong relationship with Mason Greenwood, so having both of them on the field should be fun.

MATCH(ES) OF THE FIRST HALF

Premier League (H) : Manchester United 8 - Manchester City 0


The first half of the season was full of big wins over big rivals, a 2-0 win over Liverpool at Anfield really set the tone and things only got worse for everyone else from there. Arsenal (4-1) and Jürgen Klopp’s Spurs (6-0) all fell victim to Pochettino’s ways, but this game was a serious statement game. Massimiliano Allegri’s tenure at Manchester City would hit a nadir in this game, making United’s “noisy neighbors” look more like a Championship side and further cementing United’s status as the best team in the world.

It’s hard to really pinpoint a single issue in an 8-0 beating, the loss was so comprehensive it was more like an excellent game by United combined with a bad game from City. Allegri went with a fairly defensive formation, a 5-3-2 with a defensive midfielder deep, but it managed to achieve the complete opposite and hamstrung City on offense. King Holland scored first at 6’ and the remaining 84’+ turned into an utter blood bath that had light blue clad fans heading for the exit at halftime down 5-0. United didn’t allow a single shot all game, City’s offense died time and time again in the midfield with Dominik Szoboszlai and Houssem Aouar looking lost. The shots allowed stat isn’t that new for United, but what made it most startling was the roughly even possession. The back three and wingbacks helped City hold possession deep, but they ended up dwelling on the ball or starting very deep in their end after a failed United attack.


Time to rethink Allegri?

Champions League (A) : Real Madrid 2 - Manchester United 3


Santiago Bernabéu would play host to quite a spectacle in Champions League group play. So much for the Group of Death, Pochettino’s side would go through Group H like a hot knife through butter. Bayer 04 Leverkusen (5-0), Lazio (3-0), and Real Madrid (5-0) would surrender (13) goals without scoring once themselves and Michael Laudrup would head into this game needing a win to quiet the calls for his head. A third place finish in La Liga last year wasn’t helping the situation, even a substantial injury turned out to be little to no advantage with United losing Mason Greenwood just before their previous fixture. Greenwood would suffer a broken leg on England duty a little over a week before the game, Marco Overmars would suddenly find himself Pochettino’s top striker with a solid push into the deep end of European football and a stunning double in their 5-0 beating at Old Trafford.

The bad news would keep coming for Laudrup as the Greenwood injury would rapidly vanish in the rear view mirror, Overmars would top his double against Real Madrid with a mind-blowing (4) goals against Brighton & Hove Albion to ascend from Wonder Kid to Fan Favorite. The Bernabéu is not Old Trafford, and Brighton & Hove Albion weren’t walking through the tunnel today, Pochettino would miss the clinical finishing of Greenwood but in the end defending would be the biggest issue. Jadon Sancho would get things going just 10’ into the game with a wonderful overlap thanks to Lancaster French. French would cut inside with the ball, heading for the penalty spot and collapsing the central defense and play a cheeky backheel to Sancho looping behind him for an easy shot at a goal that Thibaut Courtois had left mostly open to stand on the right post. Real Madrid did their best to hold on, and keeping the score 1-0 was a victory considering the outcome of their first meeting. At 38’ former United youngster Cho Jung-Bin would beat French to a loose ball after Dayot Upamecano failed to head a cross into the box clear. The header would float perfectly over De Gea and into the upper corner on the opposite side, there was no way De Gea could have stopped it short of being a hand taller.

After pulling level Laudrup had Real Madrid press hard and high, giving United the kind of trouble at the back they tend to cause against the opponents. Upamecano and Jean-Clair Todibo struggled to move with the ball, often passing it off quickly only for their target to be pinned in as well. This approach burned Real Madrid first at 43’ with a failed press at the back opening the door for a United counter attack. Ousmane Dembélé would find Overmars streaking by three Real Madrid defenders for an easy goal, but as he peeled off to celebrate the 2-1 lead a call for VAR left United’s fans whistling. Pochettino joined the chorus when Overmars was ruled offside to send the teams into the break level at 1-1.

Just a few minutes after the half at 45’ Overmars was right back at it, starting at Dembélé again and ending with a header off a Holland cross the Dutch striker would reclaim the 2-1 lead with no VAR to spoil it. At 55’ United opened the door again with a poor attempt to clear the ball. A hopeful cross into the box by Juan Manuel Vilches would sail over all the Real Madrid attackers and find French at the back post. French’s sad attempt at heading it clear just put the ball right at the feet of Róber on the right who set up a great cross from Gedson Fernandes back to Vilches on the left. The confusion at the back made it easy for Vilches to beat De Gea to the left post and suddenly it was 2-2 with the hosts holding the momentum. Things evened out but the hosts started to get tired near the end of the game with Laudrup using all his substitutes on defense, but Overmars would not be denied. The man who seemed trapped behind Luís Nazário was turning into an assassin on the biggest stage, with stoppage time coming to a close Overmars would once again team up with Dembélé to sneak the ball into the far corner off the post for a crushing goal. The goal would be Overmars’ 18th on the season and clinch a 3-2 win, likely winning the group for United.

OVERMARS CATCHES A BREAK & RISE OF DEMBÉLÉ

A number of things went down at United that are starting to become mundane. The team finished the first half with a perfect record, just about crushing everyone they faced while allowing a miserly (4) goals in all competitions. Half of those came in the 3-2 win over Real Madrid, but this was starting to become commonplace under Pochettino. The big story of the first half turned out to be the Greenwood-Overmars situation. When Greenwood broke his leg in a game against Sweden on England duty things seemed very bleak on the striker front. Overmars was highly rated, but nobody assumed he could take Greenwood’s place and his substitute for the second squad (Valentin Martinique) was definitely in over his head. Overmars did not get the memo. Overmars would log (34) total goals in the first half in just (16) games, most of them coming after the Greenwood injury in October. His (21) league goals in (10) games would put him (9) clear of Liverpool’s Sergey Kuleshov and his rate of (2.1) would more than double Harry Kane’s record of (0.97) if he could keep it up. Overmars would be on pace for (42) league goals, and absolutely astounding total for a player who started the year as a backup.

The story that flew under the radar a bit, though Jadon Sancho did plenty to get noticed, was the steady rise of Ousmane Dembélé. Sancho finished second on the team with (14) goals to go with (8) assists, but the level of consistency Dembélé has achieved since his tumultuous days at Barcelona is impressive. There were some sneers when Dembélé was handed the #7 shirt upon his arrival but since then he has logged double digit goals and assists every year aside from the 2022-23 season, when he missed quite a bit of time to injuries, and his average rating has slowly ticked up to over 8.00. His defensive contributions have been key as as he ages he continues to grow as a savvy defender on the wing. Dembélé is probably never going to be as flashy as Bruno Fernandes or Overmars, but his level of play really helped United take a (27) game winning streak in the Premier League through the first half.



FIRST HALF AWARDS & PLAUDITS

The only thing that broke up the Overmars fanfare was Manchester United adding another Ballon d’Or winner to take the award three years in a row. Bruno Fernandes would take his crown back from Danny Ginger to join the two-time winner club. Franz Beckenbauer, Alfredo Di Stéfano, Kevin Keegan, Ronaldo, and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge are quite the names to be listed next to as Fernandes further cements his status as a United Legend. Kylian Mbappé and Jadon Sancho would finish just behind Fernandes, with Sancho getting used to finishing third behind his teammate when Fernandes also took FIFA’s Best Player award. The weirdest twist to the awards season was Owen Flowers topping David De Gea and Marc-André ter Stegen for FIFA GK of the Year. The most expected award winner was Marco Overmars, he would land the European Golden Boy by a wide margin along with the FIFA U21 Player of the Year.


FIFPro Team Of The Year

FIFA Ballon d’Or : Bruno Fernandes - (23) goals, (34) assists, 8.43 rating (BEATS Mbappe & Sancho)
FIFA Best Player : Bruno Fernandes
FIFPro Player Of The Year : Bruno Fernandes
FIFA U21 Player Of The Year : Marco Overmars - (35) goals, (2) assists, 8.34 rating
FIFA GK Of The Year : Owen Flowers (beats De Gea and ter Stegen)
European Golden Boy : Marco Overmars
French PoY : Ousmane Dembélé - (19) goals, (16) assists, 8.07


Outside of the major injury, which we will get to again, Pochettino had yet another great year in terms of health. August only saw youngster Kasim Pasha miss (2) weeks with a pulled thigh before September hit hardest in terms of numbers. Jadon Sancho would suffer a pulled hamstring on England duty, a running theme for this year, missing just (2) weeks including some of the international break. Ferdy van Velde would also pull a hamstring, but he would miss just a little more than a week. Florentino Luís would get the worst of the month with a pulled calf against Lazio, Pochettino would keep him out for a full (3) weeks just to be safe. October brought disaster, as mentioned previously, with Mason Greenwood breaking his fibula midway through a game against Sweden. He would be ruled out for 4-6 months, likely ending his season, and earning a battlefield promotion for French youngster Valentine Martinique. At the time it seemed like the sky was falling for United until Overmars turned into the next Marco van Basten.

MID SEASON TRANSFER WINDOW : ZERO T’S GIVEN

An incredibly sleepy transfer window only made fans of transfer rumors more annoyed when Manchester United quietly reported £402M in commercial income. Their enormous transfer budget sat mostly dormant with Mauricio Pochettino uninterested in signing anyone else for the senior squad no matter how serious the rumors of buying Kylian Mbappé sounded. The only real attempt to move someone came when Bayern Munich were reported to offer £63M for Eduardo Camavinga, inside sources say that neither the club or player were interested in the move.


Never gonna happen.

Senior / Major Transfers (Out)
None

Senior Transfers (In)
None

Final Transfer List (Impact Signings)
Frédéric Fontaine (CAM, Nîmes Olympique - France) £15.5M
Adnan Ziyech (LB, FC Utrecht - Netherlands) £2.5M

The quiet window was punctuated with a noisy purchase thanks to Nîmes Olympique holding out for as much as possible. United seem really interested in Fontaine who some see as a long term successor to Bruno Fernandes and one of the most promising French players in years. Despite the amount of money paid for him Fontaine will be given plenty of time to mature and make his way to the first squad.
Quite a bit of money spent on Fontaine. I suspect he will be a star given the money spent on such a young talent. Looking forward to seeing his development.
2020-09-03 14:52#277640 ScottT : Quite a bit of money spent on Fontaine. I suspect he will be a star given the money spent on such a young talent. Looking forward to seeing his development.

So far, outside of one expensive true youth prospect expense has not equaled talent.

2025-26 SECOND HALF : DUTCH REVOLUTION

The performance of the season, which might just be a performance of the century, continued on for a result that nobody could have seen coming. Outside of a single “bad” result, a dreaded 0-0 draw, Mauricio Pochettino’s side continued their march toward being considered the greatest club side of all time.

MATCH(ES) OF THE SECOND HALF

Premier League (H) : United 3 - Spurs 0


It wasn’t quite Liverpool, it did involve Jürgen Klopp, but this is how United Legends are made. Some of the storyline coming into this game was the return of Albin Elmander, but the excitement around Marco Overmars’ form was undeniable. As things turned out, the headliners would be front an center not long after the game started.

Just 3’ in Overmars continued his dizzying scoring streak with a sneaky little move to embarrass Elmander. Jadon Sancho would beat Andrea Panetta at the left side of the box and send a hard low ball to Overmars just outside the goal area. Elmander was marking Overmars, but he quickly snuck backwards and Elmander lost sight of him while looking at the advancing Sancho. When Elmander looked for Overmars he burst forward and managed to get between Elmander and the ball to deflect the pass into the near corner. Overmars would have numerous chances to add to that with one more going in just before the half.

Champions League (N) : Manchester United 5 - Barcelona 1


This may have been one of the oddest Champions League finals in quite some time. Carlo Ancelotti would guide the Catalonians back to the final for what would essentially be a home game, Camp Nou would host the event and it felt like the entire city came out for this one. Anyone wearing red or the name “GINGER” on the back of their shirt was going to get an earful all the way from their hotel to the ground. Adding to the oddity was the sheer number of former United players on the other side of the field (Álvaro Odriozola, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Luís Nazário) and a few on loan (Keenan Maynard, Gérson) there was a little too much pregame palling around.

Like so many other opponents, things went south almost immediately for Barcelona. Just 3’ into the game and they would go down 1-0 thanks to a fortunate deflection for United. King Holland would race around Júnior Firpo on the right and get off a shot at the corner of the right goal area, he would try a hard shot into the top of net with Marc-André ter Stegen starting to get low but the experienced keeper would be quick enough to get a hand on it and deflect it into the crossbar. Unfortunately for ter Stegen it bounced down toward the far post where Sancho was more than happy to put it in. Marco Overmars would make it 2-0 at 21’ with a bit of Route One offense, a long boot would release the speedy Dutchman for a near one-on-one with Presnel Kimpembe chasing helplessly behind him. Clément Lenglet would pull one back at 22’ off a free kick expertly placed into the box as Barcelona began to compose themselves and get back into the game. After that initial flurry keeping it 2-1 seemed like a win, but then Lenglet gave it right back at 37’ with an own goal to forget. A deflected low cross would hit the Frenchman in the back and head in the wrong direction.

All those former United players may have helped Ancelotti in the first half, but Barcelona completely fell apart on set pieces in the second half. Own goal aside, the hosts were actually playing very well but just couldn’t get into United’s third to threaten. A throw in would result in a Bruno Fernandes goal at 65’ and Dayot Upamecano would finally make good on a corner at 89’ to seal the game. Barcelona were lucky to only give up (2) in the second half with ter Stegen putting in some amazing saves. The beating would keep United on top of Europe and bring them closer to passing Liverpool.

THE COMPS ARE INSANE

Winning the Champions League and running roughshod over the league has become a little commonplace in one half of Manchester lately. Fans have become a little numb to it, or entitled depending on who you ask, but nobody was immune to the wonder of watching Marco Overmars catapult himself into the history books. Overmars would finish the season with (62) goals across all competitions to blow past the previous gold standard set by Lionel Messi in the 2011/12 season (50), making him an early favorite for the Ballon d’Or. He fell short of Dixie Dean’s (60) league goals in 1927/28, but he blew way past the Premier League record of (32) set by Mohamed Salah to set the bar at (44). Knocking a Liverpool player off their f*cking perch only made it sweeter for the fans, along with that record Overmars would pass Denis Law’s club record (46), Premier League player of the match record (13), and set a new team Player of the Match record (17) across all competitions. The game that will not be forgotten soon was a 12-0 win over Nottingham Forest, the biggest win in league history, where Overmars scored (4) and still didn’t win the PoM thanks to a (2) goal / (4) assist performance by Danny Ginger. Overmars had an incomparable season, one that will go down in history even if he never plays another second.

The extreme brilliance of Overmars managed to overshadow the progress Ousmane Dembélé has made toward a claim to being United’s best, or at least most productive, #7 in club history. While few will rush to name him above Eric Cantona, who finished his career with (64) league goals and (50) assists, the Frenchman is close to behind passed by Dembélé who finished the season with (44) goals and (34) assists. He has a way to go to catch David Beckham (62/67) and Cristiano Ronaldo (84/45), but at this rate both of their places could be in danger. Dembélé continues to quietly be one of Pochettino’s most reliable players outside of the injuries that pop up from time to time.

Even with a 6th straight Premier League win the heartwarming story of the season was the slow return of Mason Greenwood. He would come on as a sub for the first time since his injury during the 2nd leg against Porto in the Champions League and be met with a massive cheer and extended applause. At first his broken fibula seemed very series with some pundits thinking it might end his career at an elite level, but he managed to make it back in (5) when the initial estimate was upwards of (6) months. He would eventually replace Valentin Martinique as the second squad striker, starting in an Emirates Cup quarter final against Liverpool and then scoring a double in a 3-0 win over Spurs in the semifinal. Pochettino was careful to manage his minutes, but the surgical finishing looked to still be there with the likelihood he returns to the 1st squad next year.


Pochettino’s luck on the injury front continued to be terrible, the team continues to do better than average but losing key players is never easy. David De Gea would be first go down after twisting his ankle in January, being out for (3) weeks left Owen Flowers as the only senior keeper. Flowers did well enough to ease any concerns the club might have about a De Gea free future, but the former captain is still an integral part of the club. The worst injury came in February when Bruno Fernandes suffered a lower back stress fracture that would cost the talisman (6) weeks even with the use of a specialist. He would be followed by Dayot Upamecano (pulled calf, 3 weeks) and David Strange (pulled ankle ligaments, 2 weeks) for an unpleasant first two months of the year. Dembélé would have his customary injury in April, this time on international duty, but the timing worked out well and his sprained ankle only kept him out for (2) weeks thanks to a week of overlap with the international break. Florentino Luís would actually end up getting the worst of the injuries, outside of Mason Greenwood, as a double hernia would cost him (4) weeks of May and rule him out for the Champions League final.

2025-26 YOUTH INTAKE & U-23/U-18 PERFORMANCE

After having some down classes Mauricio Pochettino finally has a solid crop of players to look forward to. There doesn’t appear to be a Danny Ginger level player in this group but it might be the deepest crop of high-end players the club has seen in some time, maybe not a Class of 92’ but fans can hope. The fact that United opted to sign (9) of their players should be a good sign, they certainly don’t need warm bodies to fill roster spots on the U-18 squad.

Marko Mitrovic (CB - Montenegro) : Fans, or the FA, will grumble about yet another promising CB who isn’t from England but Pochettino can’t put too much into place of birth. Mitrovic might be the best player to come out of Montenegro in years, but the bar is extremely low. He’s another physical specimen with some work to do on the pitch, he’s tall and strong but currently need to be paired with a faster CB. His quick but lacks the pace he would need to handle the faster forwards out there, he has the toughness and aerial ability that will do well in the Premier League but without furthering his tactical acumen he could be a dud.

Dávid Simon (RB - Hungary) : There is a very high physical ceiling with Simon, but he has a lot of issues with understanding the game. He has the speed Pochettino loves along with a comfort on the ball and skill with crosses that could make him very good, but his mental attributes and positioning make him a liability at the moment. Being very fast along the sidelines will give him a cushion, but if he continues to be a sub-par defender he will be caught in a bad place at United and likely won’t make it out of the youth system.

Gonzalo Pérez (CB - Equador) : Pérez finds himself in an odd place despite being a very promising defender. If Pochettino played with an anchor man he could be a future star, but for now he will need to try and make it work as a CB. Pérez isn’t nearly as tall as most CB at United (5’-10”) but he could challenge for the fastest in the youth system. His height and slender build mean he can get knocked around a bit, but his speed, positioning, vision, and passing ability make him an interception machine who easily converts them into progressive passes. This would be an excellent set of skills a little further up the field, his ultimate future might not be at United.

U-23 : The U-23 side did their best again and took England by storm. Winning the League 2 Division 1 title, the Leasing.com Trophy, the EPL International Cup, and the Premier League Cup made it a pretty successful year. This group has been a little depleted by sales and promotions but still contains a number of good players, most of the better ones are out on loan but that doesn’t mean some aren’t ready to contribute.

U-18 : A mixed year for the lowest youth group with some sadness and some big wins. The club regretfully announced the retirement of Tony Whelan as an U-18 coach after almost (27) years at the club. He started in 1998 when the club opened their Center of Excellence and leaves as a much loved member of the staff. Adding to the sense of loss was promising CB Jorge Ríos suffering a damaged ACL, it will take him 6-7 months to make it back but many remember László Puskás suffering a similar injury which effectively ended his time at United. Even with the emotional hits the group managed to reach the heights of performance yet again. They would win the U-18 EPL Cup, the FA Youth Cup, and most importantly repeat in the UEFA Youth League with a 5-1 win over Bayer 04 Leverkusen.


Thank you for your service!

2025-26 POSTSEASON

What’s left to be said about Mauricio Pochettino’s side? A perfect Premier League season (38-0-0), a record points total, record average attendance (91,635), and a sextuple seem almost commonplace. Their 8th Champions League victory would pass AC Milan (7), pull them level with Liverpool, and see them only (5) back of Real Madrid’s astounding total. Saying “only” seems crazy, but the level of dominance Pochettino has achieved makes (5) more seem like a reasonable assumption. It isn’t just the first choice squad, United’s second squad has logged (5) straight FA Cup titles to pull even farther ahead of Arsenal in total wins.

With so many young players, some of them playing like a peak veteran, and a virtually unlimited amount of money available for transfers (reportedly over £1B) the future of United seems limitless.

SECOND HALF AWARDS & PLAUDITS

Few surprises in this group after the season United had, David De Gea is the only one who can complain after losing the Golden Glove to Alisson. Marco Overmars’ absolutely insane season took him from promising youngster to a household name in England, he’s also on the European radar after taking the Champions League Golden Boot as well. Danny Ginger was a little overshadowed by Overmars’ goal scoring, but he quietly put together a great season and earned some recognition over Jadon Sancho and Bruno Fernandes in two categories, the United Legend certainly isn’t going away yet and upon closer inspection get a lot of credit for picking out Overmars with some clinical passing.


Premier League Team of the Year


Champions League Team of the Year

Manager Of The Year : Mauricio Pochettino
Premier League Top Goalscorer : Marco Overmars - (44) goals
Champions League Golden Boot : Marco Overmars - (11) goals
European Golden Shoe : Marco Overmars
Best European Player : Ginger - (17) goals, (22) assists, 8.44 rating
Premier League Player Of The Year : Danny Ginger - (10) goals, (17) assists, 8.44 rating
English Player Of The Year : Danny Ginger
English Young PLayer Of The Year : Danny Ginger
Champions League GK : David De Gea
Champions League Defender : Jean-Clair Todibo
Champions League Midfielder : Danny Ginger
Champions League Forward : Marco Overmars
It's going pretty well over in Manchester so I thought you would forgive me for being picky :)

"Overmars would finish the season with (62) goals across all competitions to blow past the previous gold standard set by Lionel Messi in the 2011/12 season (50), making him an early favorite for the Ballon d’Or."

Messi actually scored 73 goals in all competitions that season, 50 of those in the league.

Good luck Overmars and Poch!
Well, looks like my research was bad. Not the first or the last time!

It is with great sadness that I must announce the retirement of Mauricio Pochettino. The global pandemic combined with work issues have made it difficult to maintain two stories and try to get to my ten year goal, though I did manage ten years across two clubs. On top of all that I seem to have returned a little too much glory and some of the fun / challenge has been drained out while these posts have become very repetitive. Thank you to everyone (or just ScottT?) who has read / viewed, you make FM even more enjoyable.

Since I put in the work here is a dump of all the remaining kit designs through the 2030-31 season.


2026-27


2027-28


2028-29


2029-30


2030-31

You are reading "Return To Glory : Manchester United".

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