Another disappointing season for Manchester United?
It has been an unimpressive summer transfer window for Manchester United. After failing to win the Premier League over the last two years, this is possibly Jose Mourinho's last chance to win the league. But he has been left furious by his management as he believes the United hierarchy hasn't done enough to bolster the squad.
The only significant signing they have made is Fred from Shakhtar Donetsk. They have also signed Diogo Dalot and Lee Grant, but they are mere squad players. Right wing and defensive worries are not solved yet.
Furthermore, the pre-season was not a satisfying one as well. Most of the first team players were on vacation after the World Cup. Star names including Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku are yet to join with the squad.
There are only three days left before they kick-start the new campaign and Jose is in a spot of bother. Injury has ruled out Nemanja Matic and Antonio Valencia for the start of the season. It has added to his misery as well.
Although Manchester United managed to finish second in the last season, they had a deficit of 19 points from the champions, Manchester City. Their 'noisy neighbors' have acquired the signature of Riyad Mahrez which has further strengthened their squad. Pep Guardiola's men played brilliant football last season and once again, they look set to defend their title.
United's fiercest rivals, Liverpool, have also added several names to an already brilliant squad that appeared in the Champions League final. Arsenal, under Unai Emery, have reshaped their team and can certainly challenge for the title.
United will face a stern challenge as they failed to add any star players. For most of the window, they chased Toby Alderweireld, Gareth Bale, Ivan Perisic, Alex Sandro and Willian but none of them were interested in making a switch to the 20-time-English champions.
Mourinho drew criticism from the pundits for having a defensive mindset. The situation is unlikely to improve as there has been no attacking addition to the side. Anthony Martial is on the verge of leaving the club as he didn't get enough playing time.
After Daley Blind joined Ajax, Ashley Young is likely to start over Luke Shaw at left back. The England winger-turned-left back had some good games in the last season, but he is not the answer if United is eyeing the title.
Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof are to pair up in the heart of the defense unless United can pull out a deal for Alderweireld or Maguire. Lindelof had an impressive World Cup with Sweden but failed to cement his place in Jose's side after his arrival from SL Benfica.
Marcos Rojo could try his luck somewhere else before the transfer window closes. However, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling will remain at the Old Trafford.
Matteo Darmian has made up his mind to leave as he believes that Antonio Valencia, the club captain, will start ahead of him although Jose has promised him more game time. Diogo Dalot is recovering from an injury and yet to feature in the training sessions.
United had problems while defending and teams could expose them easily unless David de Gea guards the posts like he did last season. The Spanish custodian had a not-so-great outing in Russia and he will be keen to find his form back.
Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic can provide the anchor's role in the central midfield alongside Fred. Pogba played a pivotal part for France and won the World Cup. However, United's most expensive player has never lived up to his expectations donning the Mnachetser red.
The French midfielder had an open fall out with Jose after his inconsistent performances last season. Pogba still remains as one of the most important players for the Red Devils and if he can find his feet moving, United will emerge as a different side altogether.
Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini can play their parts as well whenever Jose wants to rotate his side. Andreas Pereira, after an impressive pre-season, can find his name on the team-sheet more than often this time around.
But at the end of the day, United have to rely on Romelu Lukaku in front of goals. The Belgian striker scored 27 times in 51 appearances. Even Alexis Sanchez failed to please his fans after his mid-season arrival from Arsenal. Sanchez is determined to prove his worth and he is the only positive from United's not-so-good pre-season.
The right wing remains United's major flaw after failing to sign Willian from Chelsea. Jesse Lingard, who enjoyed a break-out season, is likely to feature in the right with Juan Mata also as an option.
Marcus Rashford will wear the #10 jersey and, he will fancy his chances to establish himself as a regular starter for the 'Red Devils'.
As I said earlier, United's squad is nowhere near to those of Liverpool or Manchester City, and it seems that United have very little chances of reclaiming their glory. United have never found proper replacements for Ferdinand and Vidic.
Midfield lacks creativity and wing play looks dull. Apart from Lukaku, there are no backup strikers who can come in and score a winner in the dying minutes.
Jose has to come out of the shackles of his defensive approach. United must win against lower ranked teams if they want to win the title by any means. They have to bring back the fear factor at the Old Trafford and must shift gears. And if there is anyone who can help United's cause is none, but Jose himself.