With Ole Gunnar Solskjaer going into his second full season as the manager of Manchester United, the pressure will be on him to deliver another top four finish whilst aiming for success in the domestic cup competitions. Given that rivals Liverpool and Manchester City are levels ahead of the rest of the teams in the Premier League, it is impossible for the Red Devils to mount a title challenge with the current squad, unless they decide to go all out in the remainder of the summer window.
The previous campaign resulted in the side finishing in third place as well as reaching the FA Cup semi-final, Carabao Cup semi-final and the Europa League semi-final. However, looking at the present and current circumstance, it is highly unlikely for Manchester United to surpass the progress they have made last season, as they have only signed one player so far this summer window whilst the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs and Wolves have been quite proactive and positive off the pitch.
It is now time to look at what the 2020-21 season has in store for Manchester United…
The new addition – linked players
Unlike the previous summer transfer window, the signings completed by both Manchester United and Solskjaer have not been appealing at all, which has resulted in a lot of discontent and frustration between the United fanbase. The team are in need of two to three players to upgrade the starting line-up as well another two players for the bench, in order for them to compete for the league title.
The Red Devils have so far brought the one signing in Donny Van de Beek, who has come from Eredivisie side Ajax, for a fee of around £35million to £40million. With a couple of weeks remaining until the transfer window comes to an end, Solskjaer will be hoping that the United board, especially Ed Woodward, are more than capable of delivering two more players for him.
The two players are looking likely to be Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho and Real Madrid’s Sergio Reguilon, who have actually been linked with a move to Old Trafford throughout the summer. Thiago Alcantara has been linked with the club too, but it does not seem like the club will buy two midfielders in one window.
Focusing further on Van de Beek, he is the ideal backup player to have for both Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba, as Solskjaer will need to rotate and keep the squad fit in between the league fixtures, the Champions League matches as well as the domestic cup competitions. On the other hand, the Dutch midfielder may be expected to be a regular starter, with the reports rising around the club that Solskjaer will be looking into ways of playing a midfield three of Bruno, Pogba and Van de Beek.
By now, it should be no secret that Manchester United’s key player happens to be Bruno Fernandes. Since the Portuguese international moved to Old Trafford in January, he has single-handedly transformed the side’s mentality and style of play, which has helped all parties in many ways.
In 14 Premier League appearances, the 26-year-old playmaker went on to produce eight goals and seven assists, resulting in the side to make a monumental comeback into the top four position and finish in 3rd place. Without Bruno Fernandes and his much needed contributions, it can comfortably be said that the team would have finished outside of the top four, around fifth place and seventh place.
Who should be sold?
At this moment of time, the ideal individuals that should be sold are the likes of Chris Smalling, Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones, three centre-backs that are not in the long-term plans of the club and the manager. Not only that, but they would be seen as players that are far down the pecking order, with the main defenders actually being Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly and Axel Tuanzebe.
Manchester United’s strongest XI
With the current squad members, here is Manchester United’s strongest XI for the new season –
David de Gea; Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw; Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial.
Premier League prediction
When looking at how strong Liverpool and Manchester City currently are, as well as how Chelsea have incredibly backed Frank Lampard so far this summer window, the best that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Manchester United can aim for is a top-four finish. Although, the critics expect the Red Devils to be aiming for trophies every season, which they should be doing so, performing consistently and at a higher level in the Premier League is more crucial, as the side have not finished in the top four in back-to-back seasons since the last two campaigns under Sir Alex Ferguson.
Premier League – 4th place
Champions League prediction
United’s current squad would suit them better in the Champions League rather than in the Premier League, where they can overcome the opposition over one game or two legs instead of the 19 English teams they will have to face home and away. With the likes of Bruno Fernandes, Greenwood Martial, Rashford and Pogba available for Solskjaer, it should not be a problem for both the club and manager to succeed the group stages and reach the Quarter-finals of the European competition.
Champions League – Quarter final