Manchester United have now gone four years without winning a trophy.
And while Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is technically making progress in terms of form and consistency, the pressure will ramp up for the 2021/22 season – because Manchester United are a club that expects to win things.
United are tipped to go big in the transfer market this summer following a second place Premier League finish and Champions League qualification, with the club ready to spend up to £150m (net!) in order to really challenge on all fronts.
They finally struck a deal for long-term target Jadon Sancho, and as of now their priorities have turned elsewhere to strengthen weak areas of the squad. Here’s how they could line up in 2021/22.
GK: Dean Henderson
United will have to make a decision on their number one goalkeeper.
David de Gea and Dean Henderson have been sharing duties for most of the season, but both are said to be unhappy they are not the go-to choice. De Gea is not what he once was and doubts over whether Henderson has what it takes remain within the club.
Perhaps United’s most sensible option would be to jettison both – a De Gea/Jan Oblak swap has been suggested, while Henderson would fetch a pretty penny from one of many interested parties – but do you really think United are smart enough to pull off deals like that?
Probably not. Henderson might just have the edge.
RB: Aaron Wan-Bissaka
United want cover at right back – Kieran Trippier, perhaps? – but it’ll only likely be someone to push £50m man Aaron Wan-Bissaka; who improved last season despite obvious deficiencies remaining in his game.
He needs to improve his defending on crosses and continue developing going forward, but United like the former Crystal Palace man, and this position should be his for a long time to come.
CB: Raphael Varane
Out of contract at Real Madrid in one year, word on the street is that the French World Cup winning centre back wants to follow Sergio Ramos out the door and take on a new challenge.
United have wanted Varane for 10 years, and missed out on him to Madrid in 2011. But this time around they’re in hot pursuit of the 28-year-old and it looks set to actually happen.
It’d be one heck of a signing if they pulled it off. And considering a deal could be done for around £40m, it’d be wonderful business.
CB: Harry Maguire
United’s club captain was sorely missed after getting injured in the closing weeks of last season. But he’ll return and continue to quietly impress next season, even while he’ll get mocked for a price tag he had no control over.
LB: Luke Shaw
Last season was Luke Shaw’s best in a United shirt, and he’ll be hoping to stay injury free and continue to prove himself as one of their most important players as he enters the peak years of his career.
DM: Declan Rice
Also wanted by Chelsea but with a massive asking price to contend with, United are hoping to strike a deal for Declan Rice.
Perhaps it’s more hope than expectation at the moment, but Rice is sure to jump at the chance to move to a bigger club if the opportunity arises. He may prefer a move back to former club Chelsea, but United will be hoping to pull off a deal themselves.
If he’s too expensive though, they could look elsewhere. Eduardo Camavinga has been touted.
CM: Saul Ñiguez
It’s starting to look like Paul Pogba‘s second tenure as a Manchester United player is coming to an end.
He’s out of contract in a year (with little chance he’ll sign a renewal) and could end up walking away from United for nothing for the second time in his career. With PSG interested, the writing may be on the wall this summer.
Atletico Madrid star Saul Ñiguez has been among the most heavily linked to United, and has the elite-level experience, work rate and versatility to thrive in United’s midfield, even if he is a very different operator to Pogba.
AM: Bruno Fernandes
Bruno’s impact on this team has been remarkable.
United want him to sign a new deal as a reward for his form, but he’ll want to be joined by a number of new players of great quality in order to get United competing for major titles.
He’s an important part of this team’s future.
RW: Jadon Sancho
Let’s be honest, this one was long overdue.
United are set to come out of this deal smelling like roses, as they’ll have made an over £30m saving on what they’d have had to pay to bring Sancho to Old Trafford last year. £72.9m is great business.
LW: Marcus Rashford
All-round brilliant fella Marcus Rashford had a strong season last year, but has admitted he was struggling with injury for a large chunk of the campaign.
What we have learned over the last couple of seasons is that his best position is on the left side of attack – where he’s able to pick up the ball, run at defenders, and cut inside to shoot or play a pass.
United will be hoping he can rest and recover to have an even better season next term.
ST: Edinson Cavani
While his signing looked a move of desperation for United last summer, Edinson Cavani’s move to Old Trafford has actually worked out pretty well to date.
He’s got one more year on his deal – and that’s just enough time to allow United to concentrate on strengthening other positions before buying a big-name new striker next summer.
Cavani’s experience will continue to be crucial to Mason Greenwood’s development, and another year working together will do the teenager a world of good.