After finishing last season in a creditable third position behind only the champions, Liverpool, and Manchester City, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Manchester United team will need to add more strength to their back four if they are to mount a serious challenge for the Premier League title, claims a man in a city centre pub.
Alf Ecclesthwaite, 63, a lifelong United fan, was standing in the public bar of Monroe's Hotel, opposite Piccadilly Station in Manchester, supping a pint of Boddington's, when he chundered:
"Harry Maguire's a fucking powerhouse, but one man doesn't make a defence, does it? Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needs to act swiftly to bolster his back four."
Several men nodded.
The drunk went on:
"United have had a tradition of great defenders down the years, like, er, Steve Bruce, Arthur Albiston, Gordon McQueen, Paul McGrath, Kevin Moran, Gary Pallister, Martin Buchan, that big, bald Dutch bloke ...er, Jaap Stam, and, oh, whatsisname, Tony Dunne, and don't forget little Gary Neville, but they're all as soft as shit at the moment."
Outside, a passing bus honked its horn.
"That bloody Lindlyhof's an absolute liability, and the full backs aren't much cop," he droned on, to nobody in particular.
Nobody in particular listened intently.