Seven things Manchester United must to do to challenge for the title next year
Seven steps United need to take in order to close the gap on Chelsea and win the Premier League next season
1. Keep David de Gea
United’s Spanish goalkeeper has suffered a dip in form in recent weeks, but he remains the team’s player of the season, so losing him to Real Madrid would be a major setback. Personal issues could see De Gea push for a move back to Spain, but with the 24-year-old still uncertain about his future, United should fight hard to keep him.
2. Find a goalscorer with pace
United’s 3-0 defeat at Everton highlighted the need for a cutting edge up front, with the team dominating at Goodison but failing to break through. United lack pace in attacking positions, so a 20-goal a season striker with the ability to get behind defences would give them a huge boost.
3. Cut down on the injuries
No team has suffered as many injuries as United this season. Whether that has been due to bad luck or bad preparation, next year has to be different if they are to challenge for the title.
4. Recruit defensive reinforcements
Efforts are already underway to boost United’s defensive options, with Mats Hummels and Nathaniel Clyne high on their hit-list. Both players are a must as United have operated without an established right-back all season and have suffered from a lack of experience at centre-half.
5. Break the bank for Bale
Prising Gareth Bale from Real Madrid will be easier said than done, but the Welsh winger could transform United into serious title challengers. If Louis van Gaal gets even a glimmer of encouragement that Bale will move, United should – and will – pull out all the stops to get him.
6. Get the best out of Angel di Maria
The £59.7m British record signing has endured a miserable first season at Old Trafford, but the Argentine is expected to stay for a second campaign. Having been such a key player for Real Madrid, it would be folly for United to give up on the winger after one bad year, so Van Gaal must find the way to get the best from him.
7. Stop harking back to the Ferguson era
United’s incredible success over the past 20 years under Sir Alex Ferguson is now history and the club’s supporters must accept a new reality. The club will always challenge, but they can no longer expect such dominance in a league as competitive as the Premier League.