With their European dream coming to an end in the defeat to Sevilla and with the EPL title apparently out of reach, the big question for Man Utd fans right now is whether they can win the league next season. What are their current chances looking like and what could success depend upon?
What Have We Learned for This Season?
It should be remembered that not too long ago, the team was looking good for a quadruple trophy haul. While the EPL has looked like a long shot for some time now, they could still win the FA Cup and the Carabao Cup is sitting in the trophy room. Erik ten Hag, grabbing his first trophy in charge at Old Trafford, could set things up nicely for a stronger title challenge next season.
This was their first piece of silverware since the 2017 Europa League final, and seems to confirm that the team is playing better than it has at any stage since the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson left. There have been plenty of good games this season and glimpses that the team could be getting back on track.
While the 2021-22 season was generally regarded as being an overall terrible experience, this year has been more rewarding for fans. This has led to a sense of renewed optimism, but will the summer transfer window help them to take the steps forwards needed to turn this into an EPL title?
A Key Transfer Window
Former Old Trafford defender Gary Pallister certainly believes that the summer 2023 transfer window could a massive success if the Dutch coach manages to entice Jude Bellingham to Manchester. The Borussia Dortmund midfielder is in demand, with Real Madrid, Liverpool, and Manchester City among the other top teams linked with him.
Pallister thinks that the addition of technically excellent Bellingham will further bolster a midfield that’s improved this season thanks to the arrivals of Casemiro and Christian Eriksen. However, he also feels that a top striker is needed to throw down a marker and let everyone know that Man Utd are ready to compete at the top of the league.
Harry Kane and Victor Osimhen are among the forwards regularly linked with a move to Manchester so far. This perhaps ties in with recent comments from another legend, with Paul Ince suggesting that United have been too reliant on the goals from Marcus Rashford this season and need someone else to score regularly.
That would leave the defense and goalkeeping situation to be resolved, with Harry Maguire and David de Gea both coming in for plenty of criticism for individual errors in the disastrous 3-0 loss away to Sevilla that put them out of the Europa League.
Maguire is still the world’s most expensive defender, but his loss of form and confidence means that it seems increasingly likely that he will move on. Injuries to Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez have left Ten Hag short at the back at times this season and there have been plenty of rumors of new defenders being linked.
As for de Gea, his current contract expires this summer, and he could leave for free although United have the option of a further year. He joined in for £18.9 million and at the start of 2023 stated that he was keen to stay at Old Trafford for the rest of his career. The goalkeeper has set the current club record for most clean sheets and despite those recent, high-profile mistakes he’s expected to stay on.
Taking It One Game at a Time
After the highs and lows of this season, we’d expect to see Manchester United carry out a more sustained title challenge in the 2023/4 season. Of course, a lot can happen during a season in terms of form and injuries, so expect to see ten Hag and his players talking about taking things one game at a time if they get off to a good start.
Fans who like to bet on games could use the same approach. If you’re confident that the team is ready to win the EPL again, you might want to bet on this outcome at the start of the season. Otherwise, you could take it one game at a time and bet on each result or on markets like the number of goals scored or corners awarded.
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The improvements we’ve seen in the Man Utd team this season make us believe that next season could be exciting. Before that, we’ve still got some big games to look forward to at the end of this season, followed by the drama of the transfer window.