Manchester United go into this campaign with little expectation on them given last season’s sixth placed finish, but with the acquisitions of Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka in defence, it’s hard to argue the Reds have not strengthened well in the transfer window.
With this in mind, the question must be asked – are Manchester United now genuine title contenders?
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola certainly seems to think so, congratulating his cross-city rivals on securing Maguire’s signature, and a widespread belief in football that the 26-year-old’s arrival could spell the end of the Old Trafford men’s defensive woes.
The England international is excellent in the air, and fits into Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s philosophy of playing out from the back. A potential partnership with Victor Lindelöf and further solidity from the promising youthful full-backs Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw could provide United with all that they’ve been missing in recent years. Should David De Gea rediscover his best form, then the Reds are likely to concede far less this campaign.
However, as the saying goes, one swallow doesn’t make a summer. United have strengthened well at the back, but it is in midfield where they’ve looked short in pre-season. With the Paulo Dybala deal up in the air, Ed Woodward and his board room must act fast in order to bring in one or two more attacking players before Thursday’s deadline.
United have been heavily linked with Sporting Lisbon’s Bruno Fernandes, but nothing concrete has yet come to fruition. Should they secure his signature or any other attacking threat alongside Maguire’s, then it may well be argued that on paper, United should be contending.
Defensively, there is lots of potential and with the back line relatively youthful, it is only going to improve. Paul Pogba staying is a massive boost for United, plus if Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial can refind the form from when Solskjaer first took over, then coupled with the likes of Mason Greenwood and Dan James, the Reds could be electrifying on the counter.
Should they recruit one or two more, United are most certainly going to be among the argument for this season’s Premier League title.
Maguire does their chances no harm, but there are other areas that need reinforcements. A win against Chelsea this Sunday would set the ball rolling nicely.