Sir Alex Ferguson refuses to rest on his laurels and invests in Manchester United’s future

As the dust settles on Manchester United’s 19th league triumph, those associated with the club could be forgiven for being caught up in the hysteria of bettering the record of their closest rivals, Liverpool. However, after a season which saw increased competition in the higher regions of the division, United manager Sir Alex Ferguson will be as aware as any of the need to be stronger to compete once again come August.

The 2010/11 season will be remembered for a season of unpredictable performances and results, particularly among the title contenders. As the lead changed hands several times, with each of the eventual top four holding top spot in the table throughout the course of the season, Manchester United’s most consistent run of form, unbeaten in their first 24 Premier League matches, saw them seize the opportunity and despite a late blip, it proved to be but a minor hitch as United sealed the title.

As Sir Alex’s men begin their preparations for the new season, the United boss will be well aware of his increasing number of rivals and their similar intentions to reinforce their squads, ready to challenge the champions in the coming campaign. Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal and Liverpool have all been linked with big-money moves to compete with United in the coming season.

While Manchester United have set the bar ahead of the new season, the reigning champions are likely to be the team to beat once again. However, while Ferguson’s hunger to continue with the club appears as strong as ever, Ferguson must replace several senior figures at Old Trafford. With the retirements of Edwin van der Sar, Gary Neville and Paul Scholes, plus the release of Owen Hargreaves after two injury-plagued years, Ferguson finds himself in need of reinforcements. However, with the wealth of experience still in the dressing room, Ferguson has afforded himself the luxury of building for the long-term and replacing such players with young talent.

With the arrival of Blackburn Rovers’ England U21 centre-back Phil Jones and deals seemingly all but complete for Atletico Madrid’s Spanish U21 goalkeeper David de Gea and Aston Villa and England forward Ashley Young, the United manager is looking to introduce players with the potential to evolve into similar figures to those they replace, as they develop around the established first-team players in the United squad.

As Manchester United turn their attentions to defending their 19th league crown, the champions will undoubtedly be looking to keep themselves a step ahead of the competition. With the number of clubs competing at the top end of the league continuing to grow, and imminent regulations regarding expenditure and home-grown talent, Sir Alex Ferguson would appear to be leading the way in building a squad to compete domestically and on the continent not only next season, but in the years to come, as the Scotsman looks to build another legendary United side.

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