United Friendless in the Betting as Dark Clouds Hang Over Old Trafford
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United Friendless in the Betting as Dark Clouds Hang Over Old Trafford

The Old Trafford natives are pretty restless, and it’s of no surprise given Manchester United are the longest odds they have ever been at the start of a season in the Premier League era.

188BET have the Red Devils chalked up at 9.00 to wrestle the Premier League crown from their cross-city neighbours, and not since 1991 have they traded at longer odds before a ball has been kicked.

It is not a shock that United are behind Manchester City (1.65) and Liverpool (5.00) in the ante-post betting given the disappointing summer at the club.

Brazil international Fred has been brought in to bolster a midfield with the intention of providing more freedom for Paul Pogba to roam, but the rest of the their transfer business to date consists of a teenage full-back (Diogo Dalot does look promising, admittedly) and a veteran goalkeeper in Lee Grant to act as cover.

So with that sort of transfer activity, it does look as if Liverpool’s eye-catching summer spend has seen them leapfrog the Red Devils as the most serious challengers to Pep Guardiola’s City.

The transfer window shuts in a little over a week’s time and United fans will be desperate for some big-name arrivals. It’s not just the fans who are cutting frustrating figures, as manager Jose Mourinho has been in full-blown surly mode since returning from his holiday.

The Portuguese has bemoaned the fixture list, being without his stars from the World Cup and mentioned on more than one occasion that he wants to see new players come in but is not sure of that happening.

Mourinho’s gripe about transfers is him positioning his cannons on the lawn of United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward. If the hoped-for new arrivals do not emerge in the next week, Mourinho’s hands will be clean and the blame will fall on the shoulders of Woodward.

The problems United face are that they are having to operate in an inflated market, are in desperate need of reinforcements in a number of areas and are running out of time. Rival clubs know this and will slap a premium on their players.

If the issues were not obvious enough, they were rammed home by the 4-1 defeat by Liverpool in a pre-season clash at the weekend. It’s often unwise to read too much into results in friendlies, but the gulf in class was evident.

If the loss to Liverpool is not enough to spark Woodward into life in the transfer market then United could be in trouble before a ball has been struck. The market makers are aware and have them at their longest price in 27 years.

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