Manchester United's 7 Biggest Obstacles to Repeating as EPL Champs
Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement has left Manchester United in a transitional phase.
The long-serving Scotsman leaves the club in the able hands of former Everton manager David Moyes, a man he hand-picked himself.
Sir Alex steered the Red Devils to the Premier League title in his final campaign, comfortably conquering all in his path.
Moyes faces a tough assignment of trying to replicate his predecessor's success.
Here are the seven biggest potential obstacles to United repeating as EPL champions.
Wayne Rooney Dispute
Wayne Rooney's desire to leave Manchester United is currently lingering over Old Trafford like a permanent rain cloud.
Unless the forward dramatically changes his tune and pledges his allegiance to the club with wholeheartedness, it is difficult to see a positive resolution.
If United refuse all offers and demand Rooney stays, they may have to put up with an unhappy, sulking player for the season.
Selling Rooney would not necessarily help either. No squad is improved by selling a world-class footballer.
This is Moyes' biggest test at present. One that will shape his first season in Manchester and beyond.
The threat of injuries to a side's top players is one that is constant every season.
It is the reason Manchester United have such a deep squad. There are quality replacements ready to step in should the worst-case scenario occur.
But still, should the likes of Robin van Persie, Michael Carrick or Nemanja Vidic succumb to injury, Moyes will need to get the best out of a squad he is not yet wholly familiar with.
Vidic's absence last season, for example, led to the Red Devils conceding an unprecedented number of goals during the first half of the season.
It was merely the sublime form of the team's attacking players outscoring their opponents which prevented disaster.
The day which many Manchester United fans feared has finally come. Jose Mourinho has returned to the Premier League.
He is still one of the elite managers in world football whose Chelsea side temporarily overthrew Manchester United's domestic dominance last decade.
The Portuguese coach has been put in charge of one of the strongest Blues squads ever. Failure will not be an option.
He will look to get the best out of the immensely talented forward line of Oscar, Juan Mata and Eden Hazard, while also developing young striker Romelu Lukaku.
Chelsea will surely be the Red Devils' main rivals for Premier League glory next term.
Potential Transfer Market Failure
Time is ticking for Manchester United as potential signings come and go.
Thiago and Kevin Strootman have already signed for other clubs, while Barcelona seem reluctant to let top transfer target Cesc Fabregas move to Old Trafford.
Ian Ladyman of the Daily Mail reports that "United have had a second bid [£30 million] to sign Cesc Fabregas rejected by Barcelona."
The Red Devils may have been dominant domestically last season, but top quality additions are needed in central midfield
If Barca continue to hold out, there will be few options remaining for Moyes in an increasingly barren transfer market.
Form of British Stock
The traditionalist Moyes will place plenty of faith in United's British contingent of Danny Welbeck and Tom Cleverley.
They are two of the most promising young players in the country but still have a way to go before they are considered consistently top class.
A striker by nature, Welbeck couldn't hit a barn door last season, scoring only two goals in 39 total appearances.
Cleverley started brightly but ultimately failed to prove the dominant force in central midfield that the team so desperately needed.
Both players must either step up, or face being a hindrance to their side's hopes both domestically and on the continent.
David Moyes' Inexperience
We divide ourselves into optimists and pessimists, but truly, who knows how Moyes will perform in his first season at United?
The Scotsman was consistent enough at Everton, but managing the Toffees is a completely different proposition to taking the reins at the biggest football club on the planet.
The expectation at Old Trafford is first—nothing else is good enough.
Moyes must get the top names playing their best football. It is easily enough said, but even Sir Alex will tell you it is not always possible.
He has an impressive temperament and appreciation of what managing a club like United entails, but he won't really know what it is like until the side's first game of the season proper.
With a new manager and a host of new players, it would be easy to write off Manchester City as contenders next season.
But beware the Blues. Stevan Jovetic, Alvaro Negredo and Jesus Navas are excellent additions who will bring a new attacking dimension to Manuel Pellegrini's side.
Add them to the core base of David Silva, Yaya Toure and Vincent Kompany, and you have a squad easily capable of racking up 80-plus points.
Roberto Mancini is gone. To a certain extent, there is less pressure on the Blues to dominate as there once was.
It is not beyond the realms of possibilities that City could mount a title charge next term.
What other potential obstacles could hinder Man Utd's title bid next season?