It was a case of so close yet so far for Manchester United in 2017/18. The Red Devils were ‘best of the rest’ behind Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City but finished 19 points shy of their bitter rivals. To make matters worse, United fell short against Jose Mourinho’s former club Chelsea in May’s FA Cup final, ensuring a trophy-less season for the Old Trafford side.
But United will regroup after this summer’s World Cup as they bid to win the top flight title for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure in 2013. Mourinho has the credentials and title-winning experience to guide United back to the summit of English football but he will have to spend astutely during the transfer window to reduce that 19-point gap to City.
Defensively, United ended the 2017/18 campaign as one of the strongest teams in England’s top flight but fans will want Mourinho to invest heavily in a world class central defender. It is difficult to place too much faith in a centre-back pairing of Chris Smalling and Phil Jones; the latter is especially prone to making costly individual mistakes. A player of Mats Hummels’ calibre would do the trick.
Paul Pogba could be United’s difference maker next season; fans will be expecting a major improvement from the Frenchman come August. Pogba was very hit-and-miss last season and he may find his best form whilst playing for France this summer. As of June 12th, Les Bleus are 6/1 to lift the Jules Rimet Trophy for the second time and France will feature regularly in World Cup 2018 betting tips across the country.
Pogba cannot do it all on his own though and that is where summer signing Fred can step up and make an impact. The former Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder arrived at Old Trafford earlier this month and he will be looking to live up to his £52 million price tag. Alongside Pogba and the ever-reliable Nemanja Matic, Fred can flourish and the Red Devils should benefit directly from his influence.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) June 6, 2018
It is time for Mourinho to release Marcus Rashford’s shackles – the England youngster has the talent to mature into a world-class forward. His goal in England’s warm-up clash against Costa Rica was stunning and he will be heavily involved throughout the World Cup. Gareth Southgate is a big fan of the United starlet and he may return for pre-season training full of confidence after a successful tournament for the Three Lions.
Jose Mourinho will be looking to silence his critics in 2018/19 and Manchester United could be set for a huge season. Winning the Premier League title would mean so much to the fans and the Red Devils are building what looks like a title-winning squad. United aren’t there just yet but it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see a couple of high-profile names move to Old Trafford after the World Cup and that could swing the title race pendulum in their favour.