A look at how Manchester United can move closer to City next season

As the 2020/2021 season concludes, clubs will be looking at what’s gone well this season and maybe what hasn’t. This analysis will inevitably play a part in where clubs strengthen their squads in the upcoming transfer window.

Recovering from a poor start

United started the season off poorly, losing 3-1 at home to Crystal Palace and then two weeks later suffering a 6-1 thrashing against Tottenham. At this point, odds on the Premier League markets indicated United were unlikely to challenge for the title as they weren’t among the favourites. However, they improved over the following months and their fans started dreaming about a first title since 2013.

A 2-1 defeat against Sheffield United in January was a sign that they still have a fair way to go before they reach City’s level. The South Yorkshire club have been rooted to the bottom of the table since the early stages of the season. The English Premier League relegation odds placed them as one of the favourites to get relegated from these early stages as their performances were abject and lacked the character that had made them tough to beat at the beginning of the season.

The impact of Edinson Cavani

The securing of Edinson Cavani’s services for another season was a huge move for United due to the experience he provides, as well as his finishing and movement in the penalty area. As a result of Cavani staying, their attention might move elsewhere as they need to strengthen the right-wing. Jadon Sancho is an achievable target and is reportedly available for just under £80 million. Cavani alongside the likes of Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford will no doubt appreciate the extra creativity provided by Jadon Sancho.

The need to improve defensively

Some pundits believe that United’s defence is the weakest part of their squad. The injury to Harry Maguire has since added to their concerns. The recent 4-2 defeat against Liverpool highlighted the problems they might continue to have next season unless they strengthen in this area.

The club will also need to decide on their first-choice goalkeeper for next season. Both De Gea and Henderson have represented their countries and the club will find it difficult to keep both happy. Henderson was another player who came in for criticism during that 4-2 defeat against Liverpool. Will this impact United’s decision-making over the summer?

The impact of the European Championships

Nearly all clubs will be watching the summer’s European Championships to cast an eye over potential transfer targets. It will give clubs an indication as to how their targets can handle the pressure of playing at the highest level. Should a player like Jadon Sancho impress for England, you might start to see his value increase as more clubs become more interested.

Back in 1996, England hosted the European Championships and one of the most iconic international tournaments of all time. During that summer, the performances of Karel Poborský took the Czech Republic to the final of that tournament and his form persuaded United to sign him. Things didn’t really work out for him, perhaps providing a sign that you shouldn’t be swayed too much by a small number of games in a tournament. Will any players shine this summer and persuade United to take a punt?

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