With Paul Scholes having announced his retirement in the wake of the Champions League final, the willingness of punters to place a football bet on Manchester United to win the title is likely to be influenced by the calibre of his replacement.
Premier League title odds of 7/4 are available with bwin for United to win the championship for the second year in succession, while they are 3/50 to finish in the top four.
New customers can back the Red Devils for the title using the £25 free bet they can claim for joining bwin. A successful punt would net them £68.75.
Inter playmaker Wesley Sneijder and Spurs schemer Luka Modric have been mooted as possible signings to fill Scholes’ position in central midfield, although both appear to be proving difficult to prise away from their clubs.
The message here is that top-class midfielders are hard to come by, meaning it is conceivable that the summer will come and go without United manager Sir Alex Ferguson being able to bring in a fitting replacement for the former England international.
Should this prove to be the case, then greater responsibility will be heaped upon the 37-year-old shoulders of Ryan Giggs – as if the 12-times Premier League winner hasn’t got enough on his plate already.
Giggs has been making headlines for all the wrong reasons of late, with allegations of extra-marital activities being splashed over the front and back pages of newspapers across the world.
Indeed, he is said to be under so much stress that he is losing his hair – and the Sun reports he has resorted to expensive treatment in a bid to resolve the issue.
Hair loss or no hair loss, with Owen Hargreaves heading towards the exit door and Darron Gibson also tipped to leave Old Trafford this summer, Ferguson will be forced to rely more heavily on his ageing star if a Scholes mark II is not forthcoming.
However, Giggs is unable to cope with the demands of a full programme of fixtures these days, with his starts having been restricted by Ferguson for a number of years now.
All this means that, should the Welshman not get any help, United will be significantly weaker in the midfield department for the new season than they were last year – and, as Barcelona showed in the Champions League final, the 19-times Premier League champions were not exactly starting from a position of strength.
With this in mind, odds on the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal could be worth a second look.
Second-favourites Chelsea are 5/2 to win the title, meaning a £25 bet would return £87.50.
New customers can register here to claim a free £25 bet.