Despite spending £17m on Shinji Nagawa, United’s summer transfer dealings were on the underwhelming side of uninteresting. Until Alex Ferguson decided to buy a player he probably doesn’t really need in Robin van Persie. At least he prevented Manchester City from getting their hands on him and getting one over on his newest enemies has only added to his smugness. Kagawa could turn out to be the more important addition but for now United fans can bask in the glory of adding last season’s Premier League top goalscorer to their forward line. Even though there are other areas in far greater need of reinforcements.
Something to be positive about
Despite being roundly viewed as being fairly unimpressive and low in quality, United were just a few goals short of winning yet another Premier League title. And that was done with Nemanja Vidic staring threateningly from the sidelines rather than on the pitch. With their talismanic club captain back, van Persie in the squad and possibly a couple of exciting young signings, they should be a stronger team than last season so they’ve got every chance of unimpressing people all the way to another league title.
Something to be a bit worried about
You can never be too sure about how a player in his 30s will react after serious injury. You’d like to think Vidic will be fine, but it’s not always the case. Alongside him, Rio Ferdinand has been riddled with back and ill-advised tweet problems so he won’t be available for every game. Any combination of Phil Jones, Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling can fill in for a while, but their comparative youth is a concern if you’re relying on them for a sustained period of time.
An optimistic season bet
The Old Trafford trophy cabinet was as under-used as Rio Ferdinand’s spellchecker last season, but considering last season’s performance and the incoming players, it should get at least one run out this time around. The league will be the main target, but United are well able to add a cup to the haul. The Premier League and FA Cup double is 16/1.
A more realistic season bet
It looks likely to be between the Manchester clubs yet again and another nail-biter of a run-in is hard to rule out. Just who comes out on top of that battle this time around is anyone’s guess, but taking the Dual Forecast bet of Manchester United and Manchester City to occupy the top two places at 13/10 eliminates fully having to nail your colours to the mast.
Nick Powell (Crewe, £4m)
Shinji Kagawa (BorussiaDortmund, £17m)
Packing their bags
Tomasz Kuszczak (Brighton, free)
Michael Owen (released)
Richie DeLaet (Leicester, undisclosed)
MattyJames (Leicester, undisclosed)
Fabio da Silva (QPR, loan)