We know all about last season, but where is Manchester United going now? They spent millions this summer, lost or let players leave who have been associated with success, employed a world renowned head coach and gave their favorite son the title of assistant manager.
What Exactly is Manchester United Changing Into?
The Press said they had to spend; now they have splashed the cash, those same journalists wonder why they are not sticking by the youth system that created the incredibly consistent success under Sir Alex Ferguson. The simple answer is that the players who have come through in the last five years aren't good enough. Many players I have spoken to say the Class of 92 was a once in a generation collection of players with the right mental approach, obvious talent and a manager who they feared and looked up to in equal measure.
When you look at the soccer odds surrounding Louis van Gaal and his future, he is 7/1 to leave the club this year, 10/3 to say goodbye in 2015, 4/1 to leave Old Trafford in 2016, the favourite year of departure is 2017 at 15/8 and you can get 11/5 for 2018 or beyond. The Dutchman said in March this year, he would retire if he didn't get a job in the Premier League. He also said he wanted to win the league in a fourth country, so he's no quitter. Let's say this season is a consolidatory one and they go for the title in 2015/16. If they have strengthened further, I can genuinely see him going very close. So 4/1 to leave after winning the Premier League at the age of 65 seems the best soccer pick there, albeit it's a while to wait to be paid out.
Bookmakers are betting on who will eventually replace LVG and with Giggs the favourite it's hard to oppose. He's already been entrusted with the job once; he's second in command and would be a natural choice. The argument against him is that he was hardly inspirational on the documentary that followed him, but I suppose he was caught in the headlights a little. Also if van Gaal does well, then the hierarchy may favor a foreign manager. The list of potentials is a long one then. Guardiola, Mourinho, Simeone and others who maybe haven't yet come to the fore.
Back to this season and I think they will finish in the top four, but they need to get going soon. Whatever their defensive frailties, they will blow teams away with the attacking power they have. Falcao is arguably the best finisher in world football and as Angel di Maria proved against Germany he can single handedly win games. Add Rooney and van Persie and they could legitimately go with a front four and Mata in just behind. They probably won't do that though!
I'd expect the club to be very close to more signings in January and they will be based around midfield and defence. The likes of Mats Hummels and Kevin Strootman have already been mooted and suddenly they look a very good side.
If van Gaal gets his side motoring in the next few weeks, I think Manchester United are a great bet for the FA Cup. Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal will have too much on their spinning plates to put full strength teams out and while van Gaal fielded a weak team in the League Cup; I don't think he'll do the same in the FA Cup. It's worth noting the Cup was his first trophy in Spain, Germany and Holland.