With Ryan Giggs’ statement that his club will be a challenger next year, it is certainly time to rain on the “parade.” Although a lot can be said for the focus and firepower you can have in the league without the ails of European competition (see: Liverpool this season), the mere fact that $150-200 million will be spent this summer for the Red Devils and the genuine possibility that those numbers could lead to 6 or more new players will only spell severe difficulty in the upcoming campaign (see: Tottenham this season).
While most of the Manchester United faithful felt that their recent fixture against Norwich was a perfect remedy to their wounds, the squad used and the desire of everyone associated with the club to return to the top (and not just the top four) means that wholesale changes are coming. From locked-in contracts and performances this season, only Rooney and De Gea feel like locks for next season’s squad. Even if Rooney was in the worst form of his life, his massive contract demands that he be on the pitch whenever he is healthy enough. While Mata looked good towards the end of the game, there are really ZERO other players that feel like they will be automatic selections when the new fixtures roll around.
Just purchasing top players, especially in bulk, is not the instant success potion that it once was. Real Madrid are only now feeling the benefit of their CR7-purchase splurges and they still might finish the season without their league trophy OR the CL trophy. Barcelona quietly spend big money every window, and they look weaker than they have in years. As we mentioned before, Tottenham’s “Bale sale” money was quickly reinvested, and all that Spurs will have to show for it will be Europa League qualification. While City can at least boast some domestic success within the past half-decade, their Champions League aspirations still seem several years away.
To claim that United, especially without miracle-worker Sir Alex at the helm, could return to the summit of the EPL just one season after falling so drastically feels misinformed. Liverpool will struggle to juggle their busy fixture schedule this upcoming season, but all of the other clubs will return for the 14/15 season visibly stronger. To think that Chelsea and City will not spend money this off-season would be foolish. Arsenal, whether with Wenger or without, will also spend to fix some of their weaker spots on the pitch. Everton have accomplished so much this season with relatively little…if Martinez is able to keep most of his core and strengthen a bit, they will still challenge. Tottenham will be a bit better next season, but that still means that United will have to put in a great season to merely hope for 4th place.
Crazier jumps have happened, as Liverpool have proven this season. But, factoring in the current United turmoil with such a large influx of new personalities does not bode well for the upcoming season. However, to think that United’s time away from the top 1 or 2 spots in the Premier League for very long would be a mistake for any of the other teams in the league. This next season should be dedicated to rebuilding, but a team and business like United will definitely be back on top before we even make it to the next European Championships. More than that, every Red Devil fan and employee will want to erase this season as quickly as possible…I know I would…