Sir Alex Ferguson was the manager of Manchester United for an unparalleled 27 years, during which time he had complete control of the club.
One of the Scot’s primary guidelines for success was that he had absolute power and decision-making, with no one player ever having too much power at Old Trafford.
Ferguson was willing to sell a star player time and time again while never seeing a significant drop in results – each decision giving him more clout and praise for future moves.
After falling out with Ferguson, famous names including Paul Ince, Jaap Stam, Ruud van Nistelrooy, David Beckham, and Roy Keane were let go at United.
The Scot’s strategy was to keep reinventing his squads and finding replacements for leaving players while never allowing the club’s standards to slip.
Compare Ferguson’s tenure to the current United club, which is less than a decade old and has many players briefing the media to criticize their colleagues and managers.
At Old Trafford, where various personalities and ambitions constantly appear to be at play, the rule that no single player can ever become greater than the club hasn’t applied in a long time.
United as a club, which is currently without a permanent manager and is dysfunctional on and off the field, does not appear to have learned from Ferguson’s lessons or failures in the years since.
Barcelona defender Ronald Araujo, who is out of contract in the summer of 2023 and has yet to sign a new contract, has been linked with a move to the club.
The Uruguayan turned down Barca’s last contract offer in January, and while there is still time to reach an agreement, Araujo’s future is uncertain.
Joan Laporta, the president of the Catalan club, has provided an update on Araujo’s future, repeating Ferguson’s catchphrase from his tenure at Manchester United.
“All these extensions, the player has a lot to say,” Laporta said this week.
“For Barca’s first team, we’ve set new requirements. That is why I am grateful to the players who have renewed their contracts with us.
“A footballer will stay at Barca if he wants to.” Gavi and Araujo, I hope, are the same as Fati, Pedri, or Nico.
“I hope we can come to an arrangement, but no player is bigger than Barca.”
Laporta’s final remarks are crucial: no player is bigger than the club, and the club should not try to dominate the players rather than the other way around.
With a number of Manchester United players out of contract this summer, including star midfielder and club record signing Paul Pogba, this could be something to consider.
Pogba had departed United in 2012 after failing to reach an agreement on a new contract, and while he went on to excel at Juventus, United won the Premier League in the year after his departure.