Thursday, January 28, 2021

Man United – Can young guns fire them up the table

Manchester United come into the new season with a refreshed energy as a new youthful transfer policy seems to have taken hold. Next up on our list of Premier League previews, Ole Gunnar Solksjaer and his Manchester United side.

State of Play

As mentioned above, United seem to have adopted a new transfer policy – not before time too. It seems as though they’ve decided to move away from their normal “commercial” transfer blueprint. Instead of buying players who will help boost shirt sales – they’ve opted for young players who they see as the future of the club.

So far, they’ve brought in Harry Maguire (£80million) from Leicester, Aaron Wan-Bissaka (£50million) from Crystal Palace and Daniel James (£15million) from Swansea. That’s two 21-year-old’s with their whole career ahead of them, and a 26-year-old central defender who’s entering his peak – almost certainly touted to be future United skipper.

In pre-season, United managed an impressive five wins from six games, including wins against Spurs and Inter Milan. The one game they didn’t win saw them play out a 2-2 draw with the other Milan side, AC, on Saturday.

Manchester United Signing of the Summer

You may think I’d be tempted to say Harry Maguire here, but I simply can’t come to terms enough with that ludicrous figure to touch that. For me, the best signing of United’s window is Aaron Wan-Bissaka – the boy is already one hell of a player, and he’s only going to keep getting better.

One of the foremost tacklers in the league last term, not many players managed to find a way past AWB. His tough tackling, no-nonsense defensive approach caught the eye of many a spectator, including those in the scouting office at Carrington. With right back having been a bit of a weak spot in the side for a few years, it’s now set to be one of their strongest positions for many years to come.

Kieran’s verdict

Having finished sixth in the Premier League last season, United really need to finish in the top four this time around. Champions League football is expected as something of a minimum at Old Trafford and if Ole fails to deliver that again, he won’t be in charge very long – legend or not.

This time out, they come up against not only the other five sides in the fabled top six, but also the likes of Wolves, Leicester and Everton as the rest begin to catch up with the best.

I personally don’t think United will manage to make the top six this season, and unless they can win the Europa League, they’ll be playing in Europe’s second tier for at least another year. For me, they haven’t strengthened enough from an offensive perspective. With Romelu Lukaku seemingly on his way out, they’ll need to play Anthony Martial or Marcus Rashford through the middle this term – and I’m not sure either of them can carry that weight.

*All transfer information taken from https://www.transfermarkt.co.uk/manchester-united/transfers/verein/985

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