Manchester United must strengthen in key positions to mount a title challenge next season

As we near end of the strangest footballing season ever, I can confidently say that I believe Manchester United will finish in the top four.

United are showing clear signs of progression, more so than at any point since the reign of Sir Alex and finishing strong is a way to state their intent.

Their noisy neighbours are serial winners, so if they want to reignite that fierce rivalry then getting their hands on a trophy is a must.

While the need for silverware is paramount, their recruitment this summer will also play a vital role.

Goalkeeper

The team are blessed with two very good shot stoppers, but who is better? Over the years we have seen how good De Gea can be, but he has a mistake in him.

Dean Henderson is new blood, impressive displays last year at Sheffield United have seen him get a chance, but lack of experience is perhaps a worry.

Verdict: For me it’s David De Gea. Experience is on his side having won the title before, and if he gets any where near his form of a few seasons ago then he beats Henderson for quality. It’s a tough choice and we might have to wait till the end of the season to really judge who deserves it.

Defence

The issue defensively comes in the central areas. It is calming to know that United have two of the best full backs in the league, and although many don’t rate Maguire, the skipper isn’t going anywhere.

With Eric Bailly injury prone and Lindelof just not good enough, the problem that needs solving is finding him a suitable partner.

Verdict: Several names have been banded around (Tyrone Mings, Jules Kounde and Sergio Ramos) but for me it should be Pau Torres. The Spanish international current plays for Villarreal, is good on the ball and has big potential at only 24.

There may be a fight for his signature, with interest from Real Madrid and Man City shown, but it would be well worth the investment. He also has a good left foot, something the United defence lack.

Midfield

The further up the pitch you go, the stronger it gets. United aren’t short of options in the middle and this is where their star quality lies.

Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba are the obvious ones, and despite not glowing there is still some hope for Donny van de Beek.

Verdict: Ultimately there are more important areas that recruitment need to focus on. Despite their being huge admiration for Declan Rice amongst the fanbase, a lot of recent arrivals to Old Trafford have been in this area.

Attack

The quality going forward for Manchester United is there, but it doesn’t compare to their rivals. They either have forwards with great potential (Rashford, Greenwood, Martial) or ones who are past their best (Cavani).

What’s lacking is a true goal scorer and a world class right winger. Mason Greenwood is for the future and it would be unfair to expect him to lead the line, while Anthony Martial is too inconsistent.

Verdict: This is arguably the crucial area that The Red Devils need to strengthen. Goals win you games and not only do they need a front three that has legs, but one that can consistently hit high numbers. That is what could propel them to their 21st league title.

The Manager

He is on the verge of signing a brand-new contract, but the rest of this season and the summer are the most important stages in Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s managerial career. They will likely determine his success or failure and winning a trophy would be a true sign of progression.

Next up they face AC Milan in the second leg of the Europa League Round of 32. Win that and the Europa League is very much within sights.