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What Are Manchester Unitedís Chances in the 2021/22 Season?

 

2018-19 was United's worst performance for many years, finishing 6th, with 66 points and 10 losses. The 2019-20 season started in a similar fashion, losing 2-1 to Crystal Palace, drawing 1-1 against Wolves and a 10-man Southampton, losing 2-0 against West Ham, 1-0 to Newcastle, and 1-0 to Bournemouth. 

Things changed towards the end of the season and the Red Devils managed to climb into third place by the end of the season, though still with 66 points. 

2020-21 eventually saw some improvements, though it was a bit tough early on in the season with a few worrying moments like when Tottenham Hotspur trounced United at home 6-1. Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s men eventually finished the season in second place, behind their neighbours in sky blue and five points clear of the Kopites. 

After returning to form and the controversy of the European Super League in the club’s rearview mirrors, what can we expect from Manchester United in 2021/22?

What Do the Bookies Think?
Betting on football is big business, with many of us having a flutter on the odd game or on the overall winner of the Premier League. To set their odds, all the bookmakers employ teams of handicappers and oddsmakers who will examine every possible factor, including the players, injuries, current form, prospective transfers, and more. 

Other handicappers work as expert tipsters to give insights into upcoming matches and the futures markets that fans use to help them make their betting decisions. 

With a few months to go, Manchester United is the fourth favourite among most bookmakers in the UK, with odds around 19/2. Chelsea, Liverpool, and City are ahead with odds of 28/5, 11/2 and 10/13 respectively. 

Off the back of three Premier League titles in four seasons, deep pockets, and little changing at the club, it’s clear why the bookies are looking favourably on the Sky Blues. That said, fourth favourite is a decent starting place and could present a good opportunity for some fans that feel the Red Devils are underrated. 

Transfers
So far, only three players have left the club ahead of the new season: Joel Pereira on a free transfer to RKC Waalwijk, Tahith Chong on loan to Birmingham, and Sergio Romero who is currently unsigned. 

The 35-year-old goalkeeper Tom Heaton has joined from Aston Villa on a free transfer, while Andreas Pereira, Diogo Dalot, and Facundo Pellistri have all returned to Old Trafford after their loans ended in June. 

The midfielder Juan Mata also signed a one-year contract extension in early July. The Spaniard who turned 33 in April had made 273 appearances for the club, scored 51 goals, and made 47 assists. However, he only played in 18 matches in the 2020-21 season, but his presence in the squad is believed to be important for Solskjaer as he has a positive influence on the younger players. 

At the halfway point in the transfer window, most of the movements are still yet to happen and United appear to be planning some big deals. 

The club has held initial talks on acquiring Raphael Varane from Real Madrid. The defender still has one year left on his contract for the Spanish side, but the French side Paris Saint-Germain is also reportedly interested in him. 

Also in early July, United penned a deal for Jadon Sancho. The forward joined the team from Borussia Dortmund after the Euro 2020 tournament and has cost the Red Devils £73 million. He was reportedly the club’s number one target for the summer as he will add a new dimension to the side’s attacking force and will work well with Mason Greenwood. 

Sancho has also been incredibly consistent during the second half of the 2020-21 season, with eight goals and 11 assists for Dortmund. 

That’s not the only change that United wants to make up front. It is no secret that the club is trying to sign Harry Kane from Tottenham Hotspur. The striker became a national treasure during the Euro 2020 tournament, particularly after his winning goal in the semi-finals against Denmark. 

Kane was the Premier League’s top goal scorer last season and could provide a good replacement for Edinson Cavani who has suffered with a string of injuries and is likely to retire in a few years. 

The Brit is also open to leaving Spurs after scoring 221 goals for the club, after all, despite the personal achievements, he’s yet to win a trophy and United offer better prospects for that than Tottenham. If the Red Devils can strike a deal, they will become a formidable force in the Premier League and will likely see their odds shorten dramatically. 

There are a couple of things that could get in the way of this though. Firstly, Tottenham are believed to want a lot in return for the striker. Some sources have quoted as much as £100 million and two “first-team stars” in exchange for Kane, which is a lot even for Manchester United. 

Secondly, Manchester City are also believed to be interested in him and they could be in a position to pay more. 

Other areas that may need some focus are centre-back and central midfield, though United are reportedly targeting Declan Rice and Pau Torres for those positions. 

How will Manchester United Fair in the 2021/22 Season?
It is, of course, impossible to predict the future, though we can make some solid predictions based on what we know. With the same squad as last season, Manchester United has become a side that is a genuine contender for silverware again. 

With a few changes here and there, Solskjær will be at the helm of a team that will strike fear into its opponents, just like it did under Sir Alex Ferguson. 

There is, therefore, a lot riding on the signings that United can make during the summer transfer window, and with over a month to go, a lot could still happen. One thing is for certain though, the Red Devils should not be written off.

 
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