Sir Alex Ferguson managed Manchester United for an unprecedented 27 years and the vast majority of that timespan saw him enjoy total control of the club.
One of the Scot’s main rules for success was that his power and decision-making was absolute with no one player ever gaining excess influence within Old Trafford.
Time after time, Ferguson was prepared to sell a star player whilst never suffering a notable fall-off in results – each decision gave him more clout and banked credit for future moves.
Paul Ince, Jaap Stam, Ruud van Nistelrooy, David Beckham and Roy Keane were among the big names to be shown the door at United after falling foul of Ferguson.
The Scot’s trick was to continually reinvent his teams and source replacements for departing stars whilst never allowing the standards across the club to drop.
Contrast Ferguson’s tenure to the current version of United, less than a decade on, where multiple players are briefing media to undermine their teammates and their coaches.
The rule that no one player could ever become bigger than the club has not applied in some time at Old Trafford – where separate egos and agendas always appear to be at play.
It does not appear that United as a club – without a permanent manager in place and dysfunctional on and off the pitch – have learned from Ferguson’s lessons or their mistakes in the years since.
The club have been linked with a move for Barcelona defender Ronald Araujo, who is out of contract at the Camp Nou in the summer of 2023 and new deal talks have come to a standstill.
The Uruguayan rejected Barca’s latest contract offer in January and while there is still plenty of time for an agreement to be found, Araujo’s future is now lacking clarity.
The Catalan club’s president Joan Laporta has given an update on the future of Araujo and referred to the same mantra that Ferguson applied during his time in Manchester.
Laporta has explained this week: “All these renewals, the player has a lot to say.
“We have again set criteria for Barca’s first team. That is why I am very grateful to the players that we have been renewing.
“I hope to reach an agreement with them, but no player is bigger than Barca.”