Carlo Ancelotti would be a disaster for Manchester United

Few will need reminding that Manchester United are an institution renowned for their quite frankly mind-boggling decision-making.

The myriad of mistakes the club have made since, and probably before, the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013 need little more explaining but appointing Carlo Ancelotti at this stage would be up there with the worst of them.

Now, Ralf Rangnick’s rebuild hasn’t exactly gone to plan, but it is equally as important to ask: was it ever going to?

The German, of course, cannot be absolved of any blame but at least it’s clear what he’s been trying to do. There may be limitations in that Rangnick simply hasn’t coached much over the last ten years, but he does have a strong pedigree when it comes to crafting a long-term strategy built on some very specific principles.

That radical a turnaround using a squad built on celebrity just doesn’t look like it’s going to work.

Clearly, a new manager will arrive and both Mauricio Pochettino and Erik ten Hag look suitable candidates. Again, it would be foolish to suggest merely the presence of either will fix the problems that stem from the top of the club, but both have ideas and styles that seem in keeping with the modern approach Rangnick’s arrival, and imminent consultancy, was supposed to bring.

Ancelotti, meanwhile, does not.

While undoubtedly one of the most successful managers of all-time, the 62-year-old is not a man renowned for his rebuilding jobs. A superstar name perhaps but not one suited to the gritty restructuring United have to do.

An almost thirty-year managerial career across Europe’s leading clubs have yielded only four league titles, which point to Ancelotti’s struggles in the rough-and-tumble of domestic competition.

Granted, three Champions League wins is an eye-catching achievement but the nature of cup competitions, as well as how unfairly stacked they are in the favour of top teams, make it hard to build a body of work from.

Frankly, conquering Europe with the freakish squads AC Milan and Real Madrid had at the time Ancelotti was there in knockout competition is entirely different to rebuilding a club in a mess.

While Madrid’s stunning comeback against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League round-of-16 was certainly impressive, that had largely been built on the French side’s utter hopelessness, as well as Karim Benzema’s brilliance.

Latching onto that, along with some of the other impressive results Ancelotti has had in Europe, would be foolish.

United need to be built from the ground up. For too long, they’ve turned to superstar names and neglected building a coherent structure. There may be doubts about Pochettino following his fairly miserable stint at PSG, but the likes of Ten Hag also fit the mould.

Short-term pain for a long-term build is the only way United can match Manchester City and Liverpool. Even Arsenal are showing signs of returning to the top, albeit they have some way to go, having followed that kind of pattern under Mikel Arteta.

In many ways, Arsenal provide the perfect template. Perhaps their decline, while as stark, was more gradual and less shocking given Arsene Wenger appeared to lose his touch in the latter years, but at least they’ve tried to do something to change it.

United fear short-term pain so much they are prone to rash decisions. A stitch in time saves nine is concept almost entirely lost on those who run it.

Plumping for Ancelotti would be the worst decision United could make. His influence just doesn’t reach down far enough, there is far too much work to be done.

Author: Lucas Carlson