While bringing Ralf Rangnick to Old Trafford was all part of a bigger plan for Manchester United, the interim manager has crucial short-term goals on the horizon. None more so than ensuring United are playing in the Champions League next season, and in that regard, the Red Devils have a real fight on their hands.
Top-Four Battle Could Go To The Wire
It looks like the race for a top-four finish could go down to the final day of the season. Premier League predictions will be expecting one of the most competitive races for top-four finishes in the competition’s history, with eight clubs seemingly battling to reach Europe’s elite tournament.
Barring a dramatic drop in form, Manchester City (currently priced at 1/4 to win) and Liverpool (staked at 11/4 to win) will be expected to occupy two of the places when it comes to the end of the season. That means United and the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham, West Ham, and Wolves will all be scraping for those final two spots.
Guaranteed, there will be four disappointed clubs at the end of the campaign with so much riding on reaching the Champions League and the riches and benefits that entails. With a new manager expected to arrive at Old Trafford this summer, United’s hierarchy will be desperate to provide elite European football to the new man in the dugout.
Rangnick, who has seen his side drop points of late, will also be determined to secure a place in the competition, as his next role at the club will be made much easier with Champions League football next term. United are once again expected to strengthen in the summer transfer market and being able to offer Champions League football will be key to attracting top signings.
Rangnick is expected to play an important long-term role in the club’s future and delivering a top-four finish would be the ideal start following his arrival in Manchester.
Champions League Key To Keep Stars
There has been plenty of speculation regarding the futures of big names at Old Trafford and again, Champions League football or the lack thereof next season, will influence whether some stay or go. Cristiano Ronaldo joined last summer on a two-year deal from Juventus, but it seems the Portuguese star is somewhat unsettled during his second spell at the club. Ronaldo wanted to come back to Manchester to challenge for Premier League titles, but in that regard, United has been well off the pace.
Meanwhile, midfielder Paul Pogba’s future remains uncertain as the Frenchman continues to be linked with the likes of Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain. Yet another player in his second stint at United, Pogba’s Old Trafford career might well come to an end if Champions League football is not on the table for next term.
With so much at stake, Rangnick will know more than anyone the price of United not delivering, come the business end of the season.
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