Ahead of Manchester United's game at White Hart Lane on Sunday, the Red Devils find themselves in familiar territory again: fighting for a coveted place in the top four.
Whilst this is not what Manchester United fans are used to, this has become the reality of life post-Sir Alex Ferguson.
Although United haven't performed badly this season, Louis van Gaal has been guilty of putting 'square pegs in round holes' on many occasions and in order to really challenge for the title next year, here are three positions that need sorting out and three players that could help transform their fortunes:
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Although starlets Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford have been a something of a revelation at Old Trafford this season, United lack a real talisman up front.
Furthermore, United can not rely on these youngsters game-in-and-game-out. Whilst they have been outstanding at times, the consistency of performance is not yet there. That is to be expected, consistency is bred through confidence, game time and maturity.
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Whilst Wayne Rooney is still a very good player, he is not a natural centre-forward. Rooney is at his best as a number-10, dropping into little pockets of space and using his passing range to really influence the game.
What United really need is an old-fashioned centre-forward. The Red Devils need someone in the mould of club legend Ruud van Nistelrooy. What the Dutchman would guarantee is 20-plus goals a season and an ability to be in the right place at the right time.
Manchester United could do worse then do look at experienced Swede Zlatan Ibrahimovic. It is well known that the PSG man is looking to leave the Parc des Princes this summer and United certainly fit the bill for the flamboyant striker. What Ibrahimovic will guarantee is goals. He has delivered wherever he has gone and also has the experience and know-how to help guide the likes of Rashford and Martial.
If you look at Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur, they both have their very own talisman (Jamie Vardy and Harry Kane respectively) who have been at the very heart of their success. Whilst they can not take solitary credit for their upturn in fortunes, you need a striker who is going to be clinical in front of goal when needed. Leicester's recent flurry 1-0 wins is a testament to this.
Chris Smalling has been exceptional for United this year. The ex-Fulham man has really matured and thrived with the responsibility of being awarded the vice-captaincy from Louis van Gaal. However, his partner in defence remains a problem.
Whilst Daley Blind has filled in admirably at the heart of the defence, you can't help but think that the Dutchman is a short-term fix.
The former-Ajax man seems much more comfortable when deployed as a holding midfield player. Physically, when pitted against tall, strong centre-forwards, Blind has struggled this season. Also, his passing range and vision is somewhat wasted at centre-back.
With both Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones both struggling with form and fitness, it seems this is an area of improvement for United and an area in need of investment.
The only problem is good centre-backs, like strikers, are few and far between. If United fail to qualify for the Champions League, which is a distinct possibility, then they may struggle to attract top quality players.
Perhaps someone Manchester United should look to bring in is young Brazilian star Marquinhos. The PSG man has gone down in the pecking order at centre-back this season, behind Brazilian duo Thiago Silva and David Luiz.
Marquinhos may well be getting frustrated at being deployed at right-back in the absence of Serge Aurier. What United could offer him is regular football at centre-back and an opportunity to really grow his game and fulfil his potential.
The Brazillian is a natural defender, blessed with strength and a strong reading of the game. Together with Smalling, they could form a formidable partnership at the heart of the United defence.
3. WORLD-CLASS WINGER
Part of United's problem this season has been the delivery. Going back to title front-runners Leicester and Tottenham, Vardy and Kane have benefited from the excellent service. In Leicester's case, Riyad Mahrez has been outstanding, whilst Marc Albrighton has consistently produced dangerous balls in and around the six- yard box.
In the case of Tottenham, the likes of Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen have been outstanding, offering a constant output to Kane.
With Manchester United, this seems to be missing. Louis van Gaal doesn't seem to know the best position of both Martial and Rashford, often interchanging them between wings and playing upfront.
Whilst Anthony Martial has been mesmerising at times this season, he has a tendency to drift in games.
It is a similar story with Memphis Depay. The Manchester United number seven is a real confidence player. When on song, he can terrorise defences, but all too often he doesn't produce, or takes one touch too many.
Again, the fact that these players are very young means that inconsistency is to be expected.
The ironic thing is that in Angel di Maria, United perhaps had the answer, before selling him to French champions PSG. The Argentine winger is quick, skilful and produces world class delivery.
Despite a great start to English football, he struggled in the second half of last season. Whether or not he wanted to be here in the first place is an entirely different debate.
Although this is not worth dwelling on. Perhaps Real Madrid star James Rodriguez would be an ideal fit for Manchester United?
The Colombian would certainly suit United's commercial model and is young enough, but also experienced enough to really make a difference to this current United team. Rodriguez has genuine quality in the final third which is something United have really missed this season.
What is key to the summer transfer dealings is who will be in the Old Trafford hot-seat next summer. Time will tell on that one!
Who do Manchester United need to sign in the summer for a title push next season? Have YOUR say in the comment section!
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