Jadon Sancho, Jack Grealish: Man Utd predicted to challenge Liverpool for PL title

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Manchester United are hoping to challenge for the Premier League title next season.

The Red Devils ended the domestic leg of the 2019/20 season with a flurry, qualifying for the Champions League with a third-place finish and not losing a single league game after January 22.

The arrival of Bruno Fernandes seemed to galvanise Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men with the likes of Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood also experiencing an upturn in form.

United chasing Sancho

But this is United we're talking about, arguably the biggest club in world football with 13 Premier League trophies, so it's inevitable that they're not resting on their laurels with a bronze medal.

Nobody is under any illusion that the United squad in its current form can challenge for league glory, but just a few signings could be the difference between fighting for the top four and Liverpool's title.

The name on everybody's lips right now is Jadon Sancho and although the deal seemed to take a wobble on Tuesday night, there's still good reason to think the Red Devils will go all-out to sign him.

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United challenging for the title?

The Borussia Dortmund youngster is one of the highest-rated players in Europe right now, producing an incredible record of 20 goals and 18 assists in all competitions this season.

Meanwhile, there's hope that a potential deal for Jack Grealish could be secured, though there's no denying that Aston Villa dodging relegation had made United's job a lot harder.

But let's imagine for one second that United do indeed get both deals over the line - would it actually be enough for them to start challenging Liverpool and Manchester City for the title? 

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Football Manager 2020 predicts

Well, that's exactly what the Manchester Evening News sought to work out by using Football Manager 2020 to simulate the 2020/21 season with Grealish and Sancho at Old Trafford.

FM20 is, of course, by no means a perfect system, but their rich banks of data mean it's near enough the closest we can get to predicting the unpredictable: Premier League football.

So, strap yourselves in, because here is what the digital world expects from a bolstered United side next season: 

Sancho and Grealish's individual displays

Sancho really hit the ground running for United, making 51 appearances in all competitions as well as providing 13 goals, 10 assists and an average match rating of 7.59. 

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Grealish was equally successful across 47 outings, chipping in with 11 goals and turning provider for a further 17, while his own average rating of 7.22 also ranked him amongst United's best.

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In fact, only Fernandes was more creative for the Red Devils than Sancho and Grealish.

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The Portuguese was surprisingly the club's top goalscorer, too, with Martial and Marcus Rashford not far behind, though Sancho and Grealish finished in fifth and seventh respectively.

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Man Utd's overall performance

Here's where things get exciting, though, because Football Manager predicts that United will be genuine title challengers next season if they can get their mitts on Sancho and Grealish. 

Admittedly, Liverpool were predicted to retain their crown, but United finishing just nine points behind and above City in second place for the first time in eight years is pretty impressive going. 

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United even scored the same amount of goals as Liverpool's title-winners, though their defence let them down, while also winning the Carabao Cup with an emphatic 3-0 win over Everton in the final.

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GIVEMESPORT's Kobe Tong says

Yeh... no.

Look, shock horror, I do not have the calculative powers nor the data knowledge of Football Manager, but I don't think I'm alone in doubting that United will finish above City next season.

Solskjaer has made it crystal clear since day one that his tenure is a long-term project and signing the likes of Sancho and Grealish isn't suddenly going to turn his side into title challengers.

Besides, United might have placed third this season, but they still finished on the same amount of points as 2018/19 when Jose Mourinho was sacked and Solskajer crumbled late on. 

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However... signing Grealish and Sancho would be a massive step towards breaking that City-Liverpool duopoly and I fully expect them to start achieving that during the 2021/22 season.

Even that is on the condition that they sign another world-class defender, mind.

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