The healing process at Manchester United has begun in earnest following the decision to appoint club legend Ryan Giggs as interim coach, and the soon-to-be-deposed champions are well fancied at 4/11 to win their first game since David Moyes’ sacking, at home to Norwich.
However, after a flurry of early money on the Welshman to be handed the Old Trafford gig long term, Giggs is now 12/1 for the permanent post, with Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal the 8/11 favourite to occupy one of the hottest seats in world football.
Whoever takes over at the ‘Theatre of Dreams’ will require a hefty chunk of transfer funds to rejuvenate an underperforming squad on the verge of break-up.
In goal, David de Gea has followed up his PFA Team of the Year award from last season with another excellent campaign.
Of the keepers plying their trade at top-half clubs in the Premier League, only Everton’s Tim Howard and Spurs’ Hugo Lloris have made more saves than the young Spaniard, who has had to endure an ever-changing backline in front of him under Moyes.
Right-back Rafael has to be given another chance after a disappointing but injury-ravaged campaign, while Jonny Evans was an ever present at centre-half during the Red Devils’ six-game December winning run and has also struggled for fitness, so he stays.
Nemanja Vidic’s exit to Inter Milan has long been confirmed and veterans Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra could both follow him out of the door, meaning defensive reinforcements will be a must for Man Utd’s new manager.
Vidic’s injured fellow Serb Neven Subotic has missed Borussia Dortmund’s last 16 games, but United have been tracking his progress for some time and could make their move this summer regardless, while Fabio Coentrao has been further frozen out at Real Madrid this term and looks gettable.
The champions’ deficiencies in midfield are no secret, and rumours refuse to go away that Bayern Munich’s Toni Kroos will leave the comfy confines of success for a massive pay-rise at Old Trafford, while reports have suggested that a deal for Sporting Lisbon’s young Portugal international William Carvalho has already been done.
Robin van Persie’s future at the club seems to depend on who gets the top job, and with his international coach currently odds-on to be made manager, the 31-year-old – who was clearly unhappy under the new/old regime – may well end up seeing out the last two years of his deal.
Wayne Rooney and Juan Mata will have to fight amongst themselves for the number 10 spot behind their teammate, with the loser likely to be shunted out to the right-forward position, but teenage sensation Adnan Januzaj may have to settle for another season on the sidelines.
This United team will need an injection of pace that the young Belgian – who will also probably end up as a number 10 – cannot provide, so the new boss must prioritise bringing a Champions League-worthy left-winger to the club, with Barcelona’s Pedro the obvious choice.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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