With so much attention paid to both Manchester City and Chelsea following the big-money signings of Jack Grealish and Romelu Lukaku respectively, it’s easy to forget that Manchester United finished second last season.
Indeed, despite strengthening a squad to have finished as the ‘best of the rest’ through the additions of Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane, it’d be fair to say that Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side are largely seen as third-favourites for this year’s title.
Jamie Carragher, though, appears to have little time for that kind of notion.
Speaking on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football last night, the Liverpool legend suggested it was in fact United’s manager holding them back rather than their rivals generally being so much stronger.
“It seems whenever I listen to Gary or maybe Roy [Keane] or Manchester United fans, the answer is always ‘go and spend £100m on someone’,” he said.
“That’s always the answer every time I’m on the show – go and blitz the transfer market.
“You’re talking about Chelsea buying Lukaku and – all of a sudden – on the back of yesterday and a good start to the season, it’s all about Chelsea going to win the league, it’s going to be them or City.
“Man Utd finished above them last season. They bought Varane and Sancho.
“I don’t get this feeling of Man Utd can’t compete. I feel if Pep Guardiola or Jurgen Klopp or maybe even Thomas Tuchel had Manchester United’s squad, you’d feel they could win the league.”
Certainly, the United boss does not boast the kind of track record any of the names Carragher mentioned do.
While it’s important to note the improvement the team have enjoyed since the Norwegian took over from Jose Mourinho – as well as their imperious away form – United have often been accused of lacking much of a structural attacking plan outside of relying on individual quality.
Perhaps that can explain how they are equally capable of ripping apart an expansive Leeds United team but struggle to break down a well-coached Southampton outfit.
Clearly, Solskjær has the support of the United bosses, having only recently signed a new long-term deal. If he cannot add another string to his bow, however, it’ll be interesting to see just how long that lasts.