Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has been in a prickly mood for much of the summer and it’s easy to see why.
The Red Devils finished 19 points behind Manchester City in the Premier League last season, but the club has failed to deliver many of Mourinho’s chosen transfer targets this summer.
United need to strengthen at centre-half, and links with the likes of Yerry Mina and Kurt Zouma haven’t filled the club’s fans with much enthusiasm.
However, Fred looks a solid signing in midfield, while Diogo Dalot could soon be challenging Antonio Valencia for his place at right-back.
Mourinho will hope for improvements from Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof this season, and it will be interesting to see if the Portuguese can get Paul Pogba performing as well for United as he did for France at this summer’s World Cup.
Fred could be the perfect foil for Pogba and if talk of a move to Barcelona hasn’t affected his mindset, the Frenchman could finally prove his worth in a United shirt.
Key player – Alexis Sanchez
Mourinho is confident that Sanchez will be a key player for United this season despite failing to make an impact following his move from Arsenal last January.
The Chilean forward scored just three goals in 18 appearances last term, but he has looked in good shape during the pre-season and will be eager to make his mark for the club.
Chile’s failure to qualify for the World Cup meant that Sanchez enjoyed his first summer off in nine years and that could be to United’s benefit this season.
There are plenty of question marks hanging over United heading into the season, but if everything falls into place they could mount a sustained challenge for honours.
However, a 19-point gap to City is a big deficit to claw back and the Red Devils may have to settle for second place again.
Title odds: 7/1
First fixture: Leicester City (H)