Sir Alex Ferguson has now told Manchester United to follow the ‘important’ blueprint that Arsenal have established under Mikel Arteta with Bukayo Saka to win titles again.

The Red Devils have produced a largely barren spell since Ferguson retired in May 2013 after 1,500 games in charge. He called time on a trophy-laden 26-year tenure at Old Trafford. The Scot had won 13 league titles, five FA Cups, four League Cups and two European Cups there.

Yet since Ferguson bowed out after lifting the Premier League title, Manchester United have only won the FA Cup once in 2015/16 and the League Cup twice in 2016/17 and 2022/23. In the same time, Arsenal have won the FA Cup three times with titles in 2015, 2017 and 2020.

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Arsenal have come closer to winning the Premier League title than Manchester United since 2013

Arsenal have also come closer to winning the Premier League title than Manchester United since Ferguson’s final triumph in 2012/13. The Gunners missed out on the crown in 2022/23 under Arteta by just five points. The north London outfit even topped the table for 248 days.

Both Arsenal and Manchester United had also had runners-up finishes before last term. The Gunners ended the 2015/16 campaign second to Leicester City by 10 points. While the Red Devils were second to rivals Manchester City in 2017/18 by 19 points and by 12 in 2020/21.

Nine points separated Arsenal in second to Manchester United in third in 2022/23, as well. But Arteta’s squad outscored Erik ten Hag’s by 30 goals, too, having rippled the back of the net 88 times. The Emirates Stadium team and Old Trafford natives both conceded 43 times.

Marcus Rashford provided 17 of Manchester United’s 58 goals in 2022/23 as Ten Hag’s top scorer. The 25-year-old was also their only player to hit double digits. Martin Odegaard and Gabriel Martinelli were Arsenal’s top scorers (15) ahead of Saka (14) and Gabriel Jesus (11).

What has Alex Ferguson told Manchester United about Arsenal?

Manchester City v Manchester United: Emirates FA Cup Final
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Ferguson claims Saka is also a prime example of Arsenal’s blueprint that Manchester United should follow to win titles again. Arteta has put strong faith in young players to take Arsenal back to glory. The Gunners have not won the Premier League since the 2003/04 Invincibles.

“People talk about when we had [Ryan] Giggs, [David] Beckham, [Paul] Scholes, [Nicky] Butt and the Nevilles [Phil and Gary], people thought they made a great team,” he stated on NBC Sports, via quotes by the Mirror. “But what made it a great team was the spirit they created.

“They brought you a spirit and they never forget you for giving them a chance in life. All the young players you get, like Arsenal at the moment have got a lot of young players – Saka, in particular – who will remember the manager who gave him his chance.

“That’s the important thing and I think that most clubs have a very good scouting operation. But if a scout recommends a young player to you and you take him but don’t play him, [the] scout’s wasted.

“You’ve got to have the confidence and the trust in your scouts to present this player to you. And if you’re producing young players, give him a chance because there’s no point in having them [otherwise].”

Academy players hold first-team roles at Emirates Stadium and Old Trafford

Arsenal FC v Nottingham Forest - Premier League
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Odegaard, 24, Martinelli, 22, and Saka, 21, further highlight the youth in Arsenal’s team that Arteta hopes can now deliver the Premier League title in 2023/24. The Gunners boasted the joint-youngest average squad age for the 2022/23 term with Southampton at 24.6 years old.

Manchester United ranked 13th with an average age of 26.6 in Ten Hag’s first season at their helm. While Arsenal started the 2023/24 campaign with an average age of 24.3 as they beat Nottingham Forest 2-1. The Red Devils beat Wolves on Monday with an average age of 25.9.

Arteta further has a number of Arsenal academy graduates in his squad, besides Saka. They have also provided Eddie Nketiah, Emile Smith Rowe, Reiss Nelson and Folarin Balogun first-team roles. Manchester United also have a vast amount of youth products besides Rashford.

Jonny Evans has returned to Old Trafford to feature alongside fellow Red Devils alumni Scott McTominay, Tom Heaton, Dean Henderson, Brandon Williams and Alejandro Garnacho. Both clubs also have a further clutch of academy products on the fringes of their first-team folds.

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