"High salary, low returns”- The costly problem of underperforming players at Manchester United

Highlighting Manchester United's problems || Credit: Imago

"High salary, low returns”- The costly problem of underperforming players at Manchester United

Stephen Oladehinde 17:11 - 05.12.2023

Manchester United faces a lot of difficulties in covering the salaries of important players and balancing the roles of both the players and the manager in the team's recent performances.

Manchester United’s performance 2023/2024

Manchester United's 2023/24 season has faced a lot of challenges, with the high wages of their star players and their underwhelming performances on the pitch. 

This imbalance has fueled frustration among fans and intensified scrutiny of manager Erik Ten Hag's ability to manage this costly talent.

The price of unmet potential

Sancho (£350,000 per week), Varane (£340,000), Rashford (£325,000), and others draw salaries that place them among the highest earners in the sport. 

Yet, their on-field contributions have been inconsistent with these towering figures. This glaring disconnect between earnings and performance has rattled the club's fans, casting shadows of doubt over Ten Hag's managerial skills.

Manchester United manager Erik Ten Hag is under pressure || Credit: Imago
Manchester United manager Erik Ten Hag is under pressure || Credit: Imago

Underperforming Manchester United players

- Andre Onana (3/10): The summer signing has made costly errors against teams like Forest, Bayern, and Brentford, underscoring a rocky start

- Aaron Wan-Bissaka (6/10): Began the season on a high but saw a dip in performances post the opener against Wolverhampton Wanderers

- Diogo Dalot (6/10): Despite a few solid games, Dalot's tendency for defensive lapses remains a concern

- Raphael Varane (4/10): The Frenchman's campaign has been hampered by physical struggles and fitness issues, particularly against fast strikers.

Erik Ten Hag's Struggles

While players bear some responsibility, Ten Hag finds himself at the centre of criticism. With a squad of such calibre and cost, greater results are expected of the Dutch manager. 

His failure to instil a clear playing style and secure consistent results, despite the resources at his disposal, has intensified the debate.

Man United players sad || Credit: The Telegraph
Man United players sad || Credit: The Telegraph

Manchester United’s Season of Disappointments

United's season has been marked by disappointments, with the team losing six of its first 11 matches. Their performances in the Champions League have also fallen short of expectations, with losses to Bayern Munich and Galatasaray highlighting defensive frailties and a lack of direction on the field

The way forward for the club

The situation at Old Trafford is more than a sporting challenge; it's a testament to the intricate balance between financial investment and on-field success. 

The club's leadership, alongside Ten Hag, faces the difficult task of aligning their high financial outlay with tangible success, ensuring that the significant wages paid to these stars are justified by their performances.


This opinion piece, reflecting Pulse Sports' engaging style, offers a comprehensive look at Manchester United's current challenges, focusing on the disparity between player salaries and performances, and the managerial strategies at play.