Premier League Prediction: 6th
Manchester United head into a bold new era under the leadership of Dutch coach Erik ten Hag, looking to recapture the glory years after falling away from the Premier League title picture.
Last season was nothing short of a disaster from the Man United fans' point of view.
Club legend Ole Gunnar Solskjær was fired after a poor run of results in November with 17 points after 12 games and the club in seventh place.
Ralf Rangnick was promptly handed the reigns for the remainder of the season, and the German coach failed to get a tune out of the expensively assembled squad at Old Trafford eventually finishing in a disappointing sixth place, 13 points away from the top four places. Despite promises of a consultation role at the club, Rangnick left for the Austrian national team job and will not be returning to Manchester.
United have turned to former Ajax coach Erik ten Hag to revive the fortunes of the side. Well known for his high-intensity pressing style, ten Hag has had plenty of domestic success and will now try and transfer his philosophy and methods to a squad which has stagnated in recent seasons.
The Manchester United heirachy are under no illusion that the team needs a major overhaul and that ten Hag needs time and patience to get things right. It remains to be seen if Manchester United fans will have similar patience.
Rumors of Cristiano Ronaldo looking for a move away for Champions League football have somewhat overshadowed pre-season, and prompted high level talks between the Portuguese striker and the club last week. Ronaldo left the club at half-time during a recent friendly with Rayo Vallecano something that was branded as unacceptable by ten Hag.
For now, no club has shown concrete interest in the veteran attacker and agent Jorge Mendes will be working overtime to secure Champions League football for his most prized client. It could be best for all parties if Ronaldo is granted his move away from the club and be a clean break for United and the leadership of ten Hag.
In transfer news, United have cleared the decks in terms of outgoing players with Paul Pogba, Edinson Cavani, Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard all leaving the club. A youthful overhaul is needed and so far, ten Hag has turned to what he knows from the Dutch Erdivise. 22-year old left back Tyrell Malacia was the first signing of the summer and was a signal of intent on the profile of player that United would be signed this season. This was followed up with the smart free signing of former Ajax man Christian Eriksen and Argentinean international defender Lisandro Martinez also recruited from Ajax.
United are still actively in the market and will certainly be on the lookout for a striker is Ronaldo moves on. Right now, promising Slovenian teenager Benjamin Šeško is a target and the RB Salzburg attacker is the right profile that United is looking for as they look to overhaul their squad. Wolves midfielder Reuben Neves and Frenkie de Jong are also possible options in central midfield.
One to watch: Jadon Sancho
Following a faltering debut season at Old Trafford, Jadon Sancho needs to step up. The England international showed glimpses of talent that convinced United to spend 85 million euros on his services. At 22, Sancho is coming into his prime and has all the skills needed to be a devastating attacking player for his side. Providing the winger receives the right training and motivation under ten Hag he could turn into a key player for Manchester United this season.
First five fixtures: Brighton, Brentford, Liverpool, Southampton, Leicester
Tyrell Malacia (£13.5m, Feyenoord)
Christian Eriksen (free, Brentford)
Lisandro Martinez (£51.6m, Ajax)
Edinson Cavani (released)
Paul Pogba (free, Juventus)
Jesse Lingard (free, Nottingham Forest)
Nemanja Matic (free, Roma)
Juan Mata (released)
Lee Grant (retired)
D'Mani Mellor (free, Wycombe Wanderers)
Reece Devine (released)
Dean Henderson (loan, Nottingham Forest)
Dylan Levitt (undisclosed, Dundee United)
Andreas Pereira (£8.5m, Fulham)
Alvaro Fernandez (loan, Preston North End)
Manchester United total spent to date: £65.1m
Manchester United total received to date: £8.5m
Manchester United net transfer balance: -£56.6m
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