So there you have it. Manchester United have gone another season without winning a trophy.
That’s four years without any silverware now, 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 reported to be ready to spend up to £150m (net!) in order to really challenge on all fronts.
You’d expect some big names to arrive if they follow through with it, and then it’ll really be time for Ole to prove he has what it takes to bring United back to the top of English football. Here’s how United could line up next season if they sign their reported transfer targets.
GK: Dean Henderson
United will have to make a decision on their number one goalkeeper next year.
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 Gigio Donnarumma is going free and 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: 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.
CB: Pau Torres
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could well end up signing one of the players who helped beat United in the Europa League final – Villarreal & Spain central defender Pau Torres.
Raphael Varane and Jules Kounde are the other two names in the frame to strengthen United at centre back, but Torres looks likely the cheapest option – and given United could end up spending big in other positions they may settle on the 24-year-old.
He’s left footed and good on the ball, which is what United will want. But he’ll need to prove himself as a dominant and able Premier League defender if he joins.
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.
CM: Paul Pogba
We just don’t know what the future holds for Paul Pogba at the moment.
He’s out of contract in a year and could end up walking away from United for nothing for the second time in his career, he could turn around and sign a new deal, or United could sell him this summer.
A big sale looks unlikely in the current financial climate though, meaning another year in red could be on the cards. United will be hoping to convince Pogba to renew with them for the long term, but expect any decision to come after Euro 2020.
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, it’s just probably about time United got this one done.
And if they do manage it, they’ll have saved a good £20m-£30m compared to Borussia Dortmund’s 2020 demands – United will come out of this deal smelling like roses.
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.