Chaos reigns at Man Utd - again! Antony & Jadon Sancho sagas the latest twists in shambolic Old Trafford soap opera that threatens to derail spiralling season

Man Utd chaos timeline GFX
The club that was once run with an iron fist by Sir Alex Ferguson keeps on making headlines for all the wrong reasons

What would Manchester United give just for a bit of peace and quiet? Since the end of last season, a memorable campaign which saw the team return to the Champions League and win a first trophy for six years, the club has been entangled in a spiral of negative story after negative story.

From the mishandling of the Mason Greenwood situation, to staying silent about the allegations against Antony, to haphazard dealing in the transfer market and the saga around Jadon Sancho, there has been a never-ending stream of reports coming out of Old Trafford that paint the club in a bad light.

GOAL looks back on three months of chaos at United which has left to yet more questions about the club's ownership and Erik ten Hag's ability to handle his squad...

  1. De Gea U-turn

    De Gea U-turn

    The first big story of the summer to come out of United was when the club decided to reverse their decision to hand David de Gea a new contract. The Spaniard waved goodbye to the squad after the disappointing FA Cup final defeat to Manchester City in June and said he would see his team-mates again for pre-season, having verbally agreed to extend his contract with the club.

    However, United never signed the deal themselves, and it was then withdrawn, replaced by another offer on significantly reduced terms.

    United had their reasons for not wanting to keep De Gea as the goalkeeper's form declined as the season went on, despite keeping more clean sheets than any other Premier League 'keeper. And replacing him with Andre Onana, arguably the best in the world with the ball at his feet, was definitely the right thing to do.

    However, the club should have decided to part ways with De Gea months previously. They could have given him the send-off he deserved after 12 years of service. Instead, they showed huge disrespect to a modern club great and made themselves look like an indecisive mess.

  2. Maguire stays put

    Maguire stays put

    United seemed to be taking a positive step when they agreed to sell Harry Maguire to West Ham in July. Ten Hag had already stripped the defender of the captaincy due to his diminished standing in the squad, having been relegated to the fifth-choice centre-back last season, even behind Luke Shaw.

    The Red Devils agreed a £30 million ($37m) fee with West Ham, way below the £80m ($99m) they had paid for Maguire in 2019, but at least they were moving on, giving the much-derided defender the chance to do likewise.

    However, Maguire refused to join the Irons, demanding he received his full wages from United before he left, which the club would not agree to. Now the club are left with a player whom they openly wanted to get rid of, who is facing unprecedented abuse on social media and mocking by rival fans, prompting his mother to speak out in his defence.

  3. Horrible handling of Greenwood

    Horrible handling of Greenwood

    The biggest decision United faced all summer was what they did with Mason Greenwood following their internal investigation into the striker after all charges against him were dropped. And they made a huge misjudgment of the public mood by leaning towards reintegrating the England international into the squad, only to change their minds following a fierce backlash to reports of their decision.

    United eventually facilitated Greenwood's loan move to Getafe on transfer deadline day, but the striker remains on their books and they are paying a large chunk of his salary. And even though he is no longer part of the squad - for this season at least - the public have not forgotten United's initial stance.

  4. Van de Beek move falls through

    Van de Beek move falls through

    As if the failure to sell Maguire was not bad enough, United's hopes of parting ways with Donny van de Beek were also dashed after Lorient were unimpressed with the Dutch midfielder's attitude.

    The Ligue 1 side had shown interest in signing the out-of-favour midfielder in mid-August, but according to L'Equipe the player preferred to wait for a better move. With time running out in the transfer window, his representatives made contact with Lorient, only to be told their offer was no longer on the table.

    Van de Beek had struggled to get game time under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Ralf Rangnick and Ten Hag, his former manager at Ajax, and now has little choice but to try and get back into the side following a serious knee injury in January. That, though, has been made more difficult after he was left out of United's squad for the Champions League group stages.

  5. Another bad start to the season

    Another bad start to the season

    Despite spending more than £165 million ($204m) on three big transfers before the season had begun, United made another poor start to the campaign. They scraped a 1-0 win over Wolves in their opening game, being let off the hook by a series of bad misses from the visitors - who had changed managers just days before the game - and by a fortunate penalty decision.

    Ten Hag's side were then beaten 2-0 at Tottenham, continuing their dismal away record against top-six sides. They managed to come from two goals down to beat Nottingham Forest 3-2 in their third match, but the performance and the fact they conceded twice in the opening four minutes asked yet more questions of Ten Hag's side.

    Then came the last-gasp defeat at Arsenal, leaving United with just six points from their first four games, as many as they had at the same stage of last season but with nothing like the same momentum that they had managed to pick up by the same stage.

  6. Eternal takeover saga
    Getty Images

    Eternal takeover saga

    In the background, the takeover saga continues to rumble on with no end in sight. It has been 10 months since the Glazer family announced they were "commencing a process to explore strategic alternatives for the club", including a sale. And it has been seven months since the club received multi-billion dollar bids from both Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani and INEOS.

    But there has been months of silence from the Glazers and the Raine Group organising the sale, with sources close to both bids reporting that they have heard nothing about the process. And a recent report that the Glazers were considering taking the club off the market led to the biggest ever drop in the club's share price. Fan protests, meanwhile, are a regular occurrence at home games, both outside and inside Old Trafford.

  7. Injuries pile up
    Getty Images

    Injuries pile up

    United also began the season with injuries to key players, including two of their biggest signings. Most embarrassing was the fact that Rasmus Hojlund, their new star striker who had cost £72m ($89m), arrived carrying a back injury which prevented him from training until late August. The Denmark striker finally made his debut for United off the bench against Arsenal, almost one month after completing his move from Atalanta.

    Young stars Kobbie Mainoo and Amad Diallo also suffered untimely injuries during the pre-season tour of the United States. Mason Mount, who many people believe United have overpaid for after agreeing a £60m ($74m) fee with Chelsea, then injured his hamstring in the second game of the season against Tottenham, ruling him out for around a month.

    Shaw also picked up a muscle problem against Tottenham while Tyrell Malacia was also injured before the season began, leaving United with no recognised left-backs. Ten Hag then lost Raphael Varane to a muscle injury, the Frenchman being forced off after the first half against Forest.

  8. Last-minute transfer scrambles
    Getty Images

    Last-minute transfer scrambles

    The injuries to Shaw and Malacia forced United to make an emergency signing with almost no time left in the transfer window, and were left choosing between Chelsea flop Marc Cucurella and Tottenham reject Sergio Reguilon, eventually opting to sign the latter on loan.

    Reguilon was far from the only player United signed on a frantic transfer deadline day, also bringing in Sofyan Amrabat, who they had been targeting all summer but waited until the last-minute to sign, on loan from Fiorentina, as well as Turkish goalkeeper Altay Bayindir.

  9. Shocking Antony allegations

    Shocking Antony allegations

    Just three days after agreeing to let Greenwood go out on loan to Getafe, United faced another serious problem with one of their forwards when Antony's ex-girlfriend gave a shocking interview in Brazil. Gabriela Cavallin shone more light on accusations she had made against the winger of alleged threats and assault. It also emerged that Greater Manchester Police were making enquiries into her complaints.

    United made no public pronouncement on the accusations, which first emerged in June, for 48 hours until issuing a brief statement merely saying they were aware of the allegations but without stating whether or not Antony would be suspended. Their words came a day after a number of domestic abuse charities urged the club to take action.

    Two more women then came forward to say they had also been assaulted by Antony, who denies all the allegations. United then announced that the player had been given a period of absence to deal with the accusations, leaving them without their second-most expensive signing of all time, who joined from Ajax for £85m only one year ago.

  10. Inviting paedophile ex-coach to women's match

    With the club's image already suffering serious harm from their handling of the Greenwood case and the accusations against Antony, yet another damaging report came out. It was revealed by The Times that United had invited their former women's coach, Geoff Konopka, who is a convicted paedophile on the sex offender's list, to the first-ever women's match at Old Trafford last year.

    Konopka, the manager of Manchester United Ladies between 1983 and 2001, was sentenced to four years in jail in 2011 and put on the sex offenders register for 10 years after being convicted of offences of indecent assault and gross indecency against girls aged under 16.

    United said that they were unaware of Konopka's conviction when they invited him to the match and would "have no further connection with the individual", adding that the club "expresses its heartfelt sympathy to the victims and all those affected by these abhorrent crimes".

  11. Sancho fallout
    Getty Images

    Sancho fallout

    Ten Hag then arguably created a problem for himself when he openly criticised Jadon Sancho's performances in training after being asked why the winger was not in the squad for the trip to Arsenal. Sancho immediately fired back in a rare post on social media, accusing the coach of making him a "scapegoat" for the team's problems.

    The manager had been understanding with Sancho last season, but his patience with him had worn thin and he was believed to be furious with the player's reaction. Sancho, who has reportedly refused to apologise to the manager, is now training apart from his team-mates and is unavailable for United's next few matches.

    Together with the absence of Antony, Ten Hag is now without two wingers who the club paid a combined £160m ($198m) for.

  12. Martial turns up at the wrong time

    Martial turns up at the wrong time

    Considering everything else that has happened at United lately, Anthony Martial turning up at the wrong time for training on Thursday was the least of their worries. But the fact that a first-team player could not know when he was supposed to be reporting for work was yet another sign of the disarray at the club.

    On the plus side, at least Martial was serious about being on time and there was no danger of him turning up late. Unlike Sancho...