Watching Manchester City and Liverpool dominate the race for the Premier League for the past two years will have been torture for Manchester United fans.
Along with Leeds United’s seemingly imminent arrival from the league, failure this season would have caused most fans.
However, fans are starting to see the method behind the tactical alterations and jingle of manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Since he took over, there have certainly been many detractors.
But the Norwegian has an exemplary record against the teams in the top six and also in the transfer market. The recent 2-0 win over Manchester City rivals was the ninth win of 16 games in the top six.
And it can be argued that Solskjaer has yet to make a bad signature since replacing Jose Mourinho on a permanent basis almost 12 months ago.
Summer recruits Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka performed admirably again during the clash with City, with the record for Harry Maguire now leading the club.
And Bruno Fernandes has been a revelation since he arrived in January, with his winter arrival buddy Odion Ighalo who has proven to be wrong in bagging three goals in just seven games.
And Solskjaer is planning another summer madness to put the Red Devils back a short distance from the title.
“We believe we are continuously improving,” he said. “We know we need one or two or three players – and some experience – to be considered a title contender.
“But we won’t start talking about it now. We will start talking about going up to the table, getting more points, among the first four.
“For me it shows that we are on the right track and we are improving and we are Man United. We are trying to capture the teams in front of us.”
Solskjaer has endured many criticisms of how he has run the club so far, with talkSPORT’s Simon Jordan who has never been afraid to voice his views.
But the Norwegian has a ruthless streak on him that embodies his frozen playing style; irreproachable and clinical.
Who could forget the knockdown of Newcastle United midfielder Rob Lee in 1998, or the sarcastic applause of West Ham defender Stuart Pearce after scoring a goal in 2001?
Getting what he wants is something Solskjaer has gotten used to on and off the pitch and fans shouldn’t be surprised if there is an influx of signatures this summer.
The question is: where does Solskjaer buy and how many players does he need for a title tilt?
If we assume that it will target two or three world-class players, an outlay of almost a quarter of a billion pounds would not be beyond the realms of possibility, especially if Paul Pogba’s departure can be facilitated.
The French midfielder has been connected with moves to both Real Madrid and Juventus for most of the two years now and the club will almost certainly allow a move if that means inflating their transfer budget.
Solskjaer has so far shown unshakeable loyalty to British players in his transfer policy, with the latest rumors suggesting that this will remain true. But in order to capture Liverpool and Manchester City, “Baby-Faced Assassin” must show the same ruthlessness he showed during his game days in the unforgiving world of the summer transfer market.
Perhaps the first problem facing Solskjaer is the unwanted distraction of Euro 2020 this summer, although it is not yet clear whether this is happening.
Not only could a serious injury force him to enter the market for a replacement, but prices can swell due to strong performance.
Having said that, United would be wise to opt for goals that have already been linked as there may have been a dialogue between player and agent.
The odds of being dragged into a bidding war or paying off the odds decrease as the player is likely to have already considered a move to Old Trafford.
Solskjaer must also decide whether he wants to strengthen the top this season or copy Liverpool’s strategy and strengthen the rear. Within 18 months of parting with around £ 142 million on Alisson and Virgil van Dijk, Jurgen Klopp had brought the Champions League trophy back to Anfield.
If Solskjaer decides that Maguire and Wan-Bissaka’s additions are suitable right now, he may decide this summer to improve his attack options.
Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood have proven to be reliable substitutes for Marcus Rashford this season, which has proven to be able to lead the line for the Red Devils.
According to Goal, United wants to sign at least one of Jack Grealish, James Maddison or Jadon Sancho. All three players adapt to Solskjaer’s transfer skills as young, hungry and English and all would add different dimensions to United’s attack.
But Grealish and Sancho represent the most likely options this summer and have more to prove. For Sancho, the chance to show the former Manchester City club what’s missing and for Grealish, the chance to show the English boss Gareth Southgate that he’s worthy of being selected.
By deploying Scott McTominay in a deeper role like midfield three anchor, United could wipe out the Premier League for years with Grealish and Fernandes working together.
With Martial and Sancho published on both wings, the pace and panache that United could possess is almost frightening, with Solskjaer continually opting to counterattack the teams away from home and then take sides in teams based on Old Trafford.
Signing Sancho and Grealish allows him the versatility to play both in his initial XI and to alter between a 4-3-3 attacker and a perfectly ready 4-5-1 ready and able to counter the attack like a fly trap. Venus.
Obviously, neither player is likely to be cheap given their nationalities and positions on the pitch, but a similar outlay sends a message to the rest of Europe about where United is financially and tactically.
Obviously there is the other path that Solskjaer could take and is suitable for his mentor, Sir Alex Ferguson. “The attack wins the games, but the defense wins the titles,” as the Scotsman noted.
If Solskjaer were happy to promote entrusting Mason Greenwood the role of reserve striker behind Rashford, his funds would be better spent elsewhere, i.e. behind and in midfield.
West Ham United performer Declan Rice is often unfairly criticized for what is perceived as a cumbersome approach to playing in midfield, but the English international is vital for the functioning of the three lions and West Ham.
Rice is fourth in the tackle division (87), second in the wiretapping joint (61) and boasts an 86% passing success rate with two assists from midfield.
His fierce disposition alongside Fred or McTominay would provide perfect coverage for United if they wanted to be aggressive and attack in a 4-2-3-1, and is perhaps one of the best options out there for a team willing to play transitions.
Another area that is definitely starting to interest Solskjaer is among the sticks, with the shape of David De Gea notably falling in the past two seasons. Fortunately, the club has a seemingly ready substitute for Dean Henderson, who is thriving on his second loan spell at Sheffield United.
Considering that it would have saved the club huge sums in transfer fees and that the 22-year-old adapts to Solskjaer’s account to bloody the hungry young English players, this should be child’s play.
And The Sun reports seeing the young goalkeeper as their future no. 1, also preparing a huge £ 100,000 a week contract to keep him at Old Trafford and away from Chelsea.
“He is learning and growing as a human being and as a player, Solskjaer said of Henderson.” He will return one day and have a good career at Man United. “
Another potential shortlisted player is Juventus defender Merih Demiral, who has been seen by United and a host of Premier League rivals.
The 22-year-old moved to Turin last summer and was frozen under Maurizio Sarri, behind Leonardo Bonucci and Matthijs de Ligt, in perfect order.
An incredible five-game spell saw him break out in December, but an anterior cruciate ligament injury against Roma ended his season early.
Tuttosport said United sent scouts to watch half of the center in action for Turkey last year and claims that an offer of around £ 34 million would be enough to induce Juve to sell.
While it would be foolish to suggest getting some or even one of the players in this fantasy shortlist would push United to contend for the title, no one doubts Solskjaer when he promises to spend money.