Manchester United haven’t even lifted the trophy yet but Sir Alex Ferguson is already talking about his plans for next season. It is probably this ability to move on and look to future success which has ensured that the Scot will be remembered as the greatest manager in English football.
Ferguson now has an incredible 13 league titles, which dwarves the 6 amassed by the second more successful managers in English football, from George Ramsey at Aston Villa (between 1894 and 1910) and Bob Paisley at Liverpool (between 1976 and 1983).
This weekend they face Chelsea and are favourites to win, even if they can no longer beat their points total of 2004-2005, leaving us with the choice to bet on Kentucky derby or part money to back the champions of extending their lead. But it’s next season’s title race that will bring about the best odds, as we should be faced with a three horse race. Jose Mourinho hinted at a Chelsea return, which will certainly boost their chances, whilst Manchester City will of course be expected to invest again. This summer they will hope to recreate the signings of the Aguero/Yaya Toure calibre, rather than Sinclair/Rodwell.
Ferguson will be looking to maintain his success and already has an eye on which players he wants to strengthen the current squad.
“You have to look at the structure of the club at present, in terms of the number of first-team players we have at 23 or under,” he said.“David De Gea, Rafael, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Alex Büttner, Nick Powell, Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck. Shinji Kagawa and Chicharito are 24. Jonny Evans is 25 and Wayne Rooney is hitting his peak at 27. Older players like Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Rio Ferdinand may be coming towards the end of their careers, but these younger players are the foundation for the next five or six years, irrespective of the players breaking through, like Adnan Januzaj, the Belgian boy, who’s really looking very good. Hopefully the players we bring into the club in the next year or so will be of the quality we need. We’re competitive in the market – we’re not Chelsea or Manchester City in terms of money but we’re competitive. We’ve been doing a bit of work on that over the last three or four months, targeting who the players are that we feel could enhance us, make us better or help us maintain the level we’re at.”