Analyzing Manchester United’s offseason with under 48 hours to go

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There is certain unease about Manchester United, whose fortunes have dipped wildly after a remarkable 20-year run as one of the best sides in the world.

The Red Devils’ have maintained their status as one of the biggest clubs in the world, but have finished 7th, 4th, 5th, 6th, 2nd, and 6th in the six seasons since it completed a run of 13 Premier League titles in 21 years.

[ MORE: Manchester United season preview ]

At this point, it seems that United chairman Ed Woodward is more or less going all-in on the idea that his most recent firing, Jose Mourinho, was the problem and not the club he assembled for the Portuguese veteran, while also heeding Mourinho’s advice that the team badly needed to address the defense.

New boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s credentials going into the new season are three:

  1. He immediately led United on a 12-match unbeaten run against a lot of PL clubs he was supposed to beat, and Spurs.
  2. He engineered an unlikely comeback against Neymar-less PSG in the Champions League to bring some magic to Old Trafford.
  3. He’s not Jose Mourinho.

United has spent big on Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, two of the best in England at their respective positions, and also picked up young winger Daniel James from Swansea City.

Gone are Ander Herrera and Antonio Valencia, a far cry from the expected departures when the window began earlier this summer.

The Red Devils have the talent to contend for a place in the Top Four, but they’ll need a lot of things to go their way including the continued development of young players. It would be a boon for Romelu Lukaku to remain at the club in the hopes of an expected bounce back season, but it seems that United believes Marcus Rashford will take even bigger strides after a pair of 13-goal seasons at Old Trafford.

They’ll need that, as well as continued growth from Scott McTominay and Diogo Dalot (On the flip side, Alexis Sanchez turning back the hands of time sure would be nice).

There are two days left in the transfer window, one which as it stands has been a decent success. That could of course change if Pogba is sold, or if Lukaku lands them a haul such as the rumored Mario Mandzukic and Blaise Matuidi switch.

If not, was their offseason enough? You’d have to say probably not, or only if Paul Pogba asserts himself as one of the best midfielders in the world over 38 matches, seizing the chance to prove his doubters wrong.

And if the season does not deliver, then it might be the final straw for Woodward.