Premier League Preview - Manchester United
NICKNAME: Red Devils
MANAGER: Sir Alex Ferguson
STADIUM: Old Trafford (75811)
LAST SEASON: 2ND
United came up inches short in the race for the title, their normal rock-steady consistency faltered in the run in and they were their own worst enemy as they threw away a fixture against Everton and allowed City to steal a march on them following a defeat at the Etihad Stadium - Vincent Kompany's blockbuster header setting up a memorable final few weeks.
It was very uncharacteristic of the former champions to throw away such a commanding lead, especially when one considers the Red Devils reputation in a title run-in. Knowing Sir Alex Ferguson, they will bite back in a bid to reclaim the title from their City rivals and stop a legacy from forming on the blue side of Manchester.
IN: Shinji Kagawa (Dortmund, £17m), Nick Powell (Crewe, £4m)
OUT: Park Ji-sung (QPR, undisclosed), Richie De Laet (Leicester, undisclosed), Matty James (Leicester, undisclosed) Paul Pogba (Juventus, free), Tomasz Kuszczak (Brighton, free), Michael Owen (released), Fabio (QPR, loan), Ben Amos (Hull, loan)
On the face of it, a Manchester United side in desperate need of inclusions is getting nothing of the sort. Kagawa comes with a useful reputation from Germany while fledgling talent Nick Powell will need time to develop. Missing out on Lucas and trying to track down Robin van Persie seems to be United's legacy this summer in a transfer market that will be looked at more for the loss of Ji Sung Park.
Park was not necessarily the jewel in the crown for Sir Alex, but he was the bedrock on which their title charges were made - trusted for important games and an all-action, no nonsense approach to the game - he will be missed in the set-up. Further inclusions will be needed to guard against last season's failures being repeated.
KEY PLAYER: Wayne Rooney
Again, you don't need to be a rocket scientist to work out that United's most consistent player for the last few years should be their key man coming into the new season. Rooney may well be partnering Robin van Persie on today's developments - but having been there and won the league he will be an excellent influence in the Dutchman.
Rooney - much like Gerrard at Liverpool - has remained consistent throughout every arc and troph of United's recent history - irrespective of their loss of the title last season, one would presume his self-confidence is still sky high as he prepares another assault on the Premier League title.
That feared City legacy will, in my estimation, come to fruition and judging by the lack of summer activity, United could be left behind in the cold unless they make additions to a squad that is ageing and judging by last season's exploits, starting to feel the pace.