Manchester United head into 2023 with renewed optimism on and off the pitch.
With Erik ten Hag at the helm and the club finally up for sale, following the Glazers’ ill-fated tenure, Red Devils fans will be hoping 2023 proves to be a memorable year for the club on all fronts.
United in Focus has made three bold predictions for Manchester United in 2023.
Three bold predictions for Manchester United in 2023
United win Jude Bellingham race
The race to sign the 19-year-old from Borussia Dortmund is likely to be one of the biggest transfer stories over the next six months.
It’s testament to the former Birmingham City youngster that all of Europe’s heavyweights are chasing his signature, and whichever club does win the race – the England international will walk straight into their starting line-up.
When Manchester United re-signed Paul Pogba for a club-record fee from Juventus, it was hoped that the Frenchman could lead the Red Devils into a new era of success.
Pogba’s return to Old Trafford didn’t work out, but it’s hard to believe Bellingham is still only a teenager, he plays like he’s been at the top of the game for over a decade.
If United finish in the top four and Ten Hag can convince Bellingham that a move to the Theatre of Dreams is the right step for his career, United will be signing a generational talent that will make the rest of the footballing world stand up and take notice.
Bellingham may have turned the twenty-time league champions down once, but the club is in a better position with Ten Hag, and Dortmund’s number 22 knows that Ten Hag has a proven track record of maximising players potential.
Win a trophy
United haven’t won a trophy since 2017 when Jose Mourinho lifted the Europa League.
Following Ten Hag’s appointment, United for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson retired had appointed a manager who was an upward trajectory and fitted United’s ethos and DNA.
With United still in three cup competitions, Ten Hag will be hoping to win his first trophy at the club and achieve what Ole Gunnar Solskjaer couldn’t.
The Busby Babes will get a real wave of momentum if Ten Hag can win a trophy and finish in the top four in his first year in the job.
United will fancy their chances of going all the way in the Europa League if we can get the better of Barcelona in the heavyweight clash.
The domestic cup competitions may represent United’s best chances of success, and Ten Hag won’t be taking any opponent lightly.
Harry Maguire moves on
Even if the world’s most expensive defender does produce the form he’s showed for England over the years at club level, it still won’t guarantee his spot in Ten Hag’s starting line-up.
Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane are Ten Hag’s first choice centre-back partnership.
Like Varane, United’s captain turns 30 next year and the former Ajax manager will likely already be drawing up a shortlist of potential younger centre-halves to replace the duo.
United’s number is five going to want to play and if his situation hasn’t improved come the summer, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him be willing to explore didn’t avenues.
The Guardian report that Ten Hag is willing to offload the former Leicester City man.
Tom is a lifelong Manchester United supporter who was spoilt with success growing up thanks to Sir Alex Ferguson. An NCTJ-accredited sports journalist with over five years experience in the industry, and now a football writer for GRV Media who specialises in covering the Red Devils. He has no doubt Erik ten Hag is the man to bring the glory days back to Old Trafford!