After last season, last minute title loss,Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has made some significant changes to his side. He has smartly let go several players who not feature in his scheme of things in the near future for United. The signing of Japanese international Shinji Kagawa, from Borussia Dortmund was a very calculated move after United failed to land in the Chelsea bound Eden Hazard.
Kagawa is a naturally attacking midfielder, with an eye for goal. The deal for Arsenal captain Robin Van Persie has somehow left a sweet-sour taste among the United fans. This move was like Luis Figo moving from the Nou Camp to Santiago Bernebeu. Though you might be happy at the arrival of a great player; at the same time it is hard to cheer for him as you are so used to seeing him at your top rivals colors. Arsenal fans won't be too happy either to see him move as they have always been behind him during his injury prone stay at the Emirates. Also a 22 million price tag is not justified, as Van Persie is 29 and his best season in the Premiership was the last season, which I believe is hard to emulate.
The other notable transfer was of Crewe youngster Nick Powell for six million pounds. United have an attack that would feature the Premier League's top two goal scorers from last season. Then there is the speedy Javier Hernandez along with England international Danny Welbeck, who is getting better after every match. Ashley Young might need to change gears if he needs to be in contention. Wayne Rooney and Van Persie look certain to start and it would not be surprising to see United play 4-3-3 instead of the traditional 4-4-2 with Rooney capable of being in the holding position alongside Hernandez or Welbeck who will be the top contenders for the last spot in attack
The mid-field looks a perfect blend of experience and youth with the evergreen Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes extending their stay at Old Trafford for one more season. Giggs has been the mainstay of the United midfield for more than a decade now, and his versatility to play in multiple positions makes him an asset to any team. Scholes has a commanding authority over the central mid-field, due to which Sir Alex insisted he come out of retirement. Darren Fletcher and Michael Carrick are good and quick, but when it comes to the European stage against teams like Barcelona who boast of the best central mid-field, Carrick does not live upto expectations. Nani is expected to play a pivotal role this season after a good Euro campaign. In the midfield Giggs, Nani and Kagawa look most certain to start with Scholes being used on big-match days.
The Reds have a relatively young defense and after last season's injury layoff for captain Nemanja Vidic, the back really looked frail with Rio Ferdinand not contributing significantly to marshal the defense. Phil Jones looks promising but he needs to step up if he truly has to replace the legendary Gary Neville. Chris Smalling has done exceedingly well in central defense in the absence of Vidic. It would be interesting to see how Ferguson manages his defense with the Da Silva brothers and Patrice Evra in contention. My pick would be Smalling, Vidic, Jones and Evra.
David De Gea is a talented man under the woodwork. Last season he produced some marvelous saves and few horrible misses. A bit more consistency and he is one of the players United would want to have for a long long time.
The season looks bright for the red part of Manchester and they most certainly look more than ambitious to get back the Premiership.