Determined to avoid repeating last summer’s transfer-window frustrations, Manchester United have move promptly to procure two long-term targets.
Pursuing Ander Herrera with the relentlessness of Tom chasing Jerry finally paid off after the Red Devils prised him away from Athletic Bilbao for around £30m, while a figure north of that number was needed to draft in left-back Luke Shaw from Southampton.
Following this wallet-shrinking trolley dash, the laying moguls over at bwin.com go 5/1 about the Old Trafford club hoisting a 14th Premier League crown this season.
Crack open a fresh account at bwin.com this afternoon to land a £30 free bet, which translates into £150 profit if placed on the Red Devils to win the title and they’re successful in their endeavour.
Looking at the current crop with the two new recruits included, here’s how we think Man Utd will begin their quest to claim English football’s top prize next term.
David De Gea has the number one jersey locked down, while Jonny Evans holds seniority amongst the rearguard marshals.
More centre-halves are surely on the way, but based on who they have available now, Phil Jones’ rambunctious approach to repelling attacks gets him the nod over Chris Smalling.
Rafael’s attacking inclinations will win him favour with Louis van Gaal so he’ll start at right-back, while England international Shaw boasts the necessary maturity to shoulder the pressures of playing for such a huge club.
Ander will inject the creativity the United middle band craved last term having thrived as the chief string-puller in the Bilbao team for the last three seasons.
His pass completion rate has never fallen below the 80 per cent mark in that time, while he contributed five assists, as many goals and averaged 1.6 key passes per match in 2013/14.
Michael Carrick will provide ball-winning cover for him if Van Gaal deploys a 4-2-3-1.
Based on how the Netherlands have lined up at the Euros, Van Gaal will be keen to keep his best advanced midfielder in the centre, meaning Juan Mata will likely play directly off line-leader Robin van Persie.
This will leave Wayne Rooney to float around from the left, with Antonio Valencia providing the pace to the frontline.