Erik ten Hag is the new man in charge of Manchester United (6/4 – Top four finish) and the Old Trafford hierarchy will be hoping he can finally guide the club back to the top.
By the time May comes around, it will be 10 years since the Red Devils last won the title in what was Sir Alex Ferguson’s last season at the helm and, after a disappointing sixth-place finish last term, it will take a huge improvement for the current side to end that barren spell.
Last season was a sorry affair as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer lost his job in November then Ralf Rangnick was apppointed interim boss. However, bringing in the German coach was an experiment which failed miserably.
Ten Hag has been identified as someone who can adopt the ideals of Manchester United and play the right style of football to get them winning, although he has been clear to point out it’s a long-term project.
Hopes for the new season
Despite the changes and the transitional feel around Old Trafford, a club the size of Manchester United should still be aiming to finish in the top four.
There has been a fairly sizeable exodus of senior players, including Paul Pogba and Juan Mata, and the Dutchman will need to time to mould together a squad in his style.
Christian Eriksen has joined from Brentford to give more spark, while defenders Lisandro Martinez and Tyrell Malacia have arrived from the Netherlands as Ten Hag looks to get players in who he can trust.
The future of Cristiano Ronaldo remains uncertain while the long-running pursuit of Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong has been frustrating with United unable get the deal over the line.
Premier League Betting Odds
Even though they have underachieved in recent years, this is still a side that is littered with quality and Ten Hag will be hoping they can get off to a fast start against Brighton on the opening weekend of the season (Manchester United 1/2, draw 16/5, Brighton 5/1 – Match betting).
Arrivals and departures
Tyrell Malacia – £13m – Feyenoord
Christian Eriksen – free – Brentford
Lisandro Martinez – £45m – Ajax – pending.
Paul Pogba – free – Juventus
Nemanja Matic – free – Roma
Jesse Lingard – free – Nottingham Forest
Juan Mata – released
Edinson Cavani – released
Lee Grant – released
Andreas Pereira – £10m – Fulham
Dean Henderson – loan – Nottingham Forest.
Even though there remains plenty of uncertainty surrounding his future, Cristiano Ronaldo (14/1 – Premier League top goalscorer) is still the shining light at Old Trafford.
He scored 24 goals in 38 games last term to underline his ability to be a game-changer, even at the age of 37.
This season is set to be the first in his professional career he won’t be playing in the Champions League, which is behind his supposed desire to leave.
However, Ten Hag has openly said he wants the Portuguese superstar to stay and, if he can focus, he will still be a massive player.
Ten Hag arrives into the job with a huge reputation for playing Dutch-style ‘Total Football’ and for bringing through young academy players at Ajax. United officials will want him to replicate the success he enjoyed in the Netherlands as soon as possible.
His run taking Ajax to the Champions League semi-finals cemented his reputation as one of the most progressive coaches in Europe and he has made a positive impression over the summer with United enjoying a good pre-season so far, winning three of their four friendly games.
Last season – 6th
Football Betting Odds