Paul Pogba can be a “powerful” presence for Manchester United and inspire a Premier League title bid, says Denis Irwin.
The France international arrived at Old Trafford summer with the pressure of being the world’s most expensive footballer weighing on his shoulders.
His £89 million deal has now been blown out of the water by Neymar’s switch from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain, and the 24-year-old has a year of experience back at United under his belt.
He is now being tipped to offer more to the collective cause than he did in 2016-17, with former United defender Irwin confident that Jose Mourinho’s side will be back in contention for top-flight glory.
"I expect Paul Pogba to be a really powerful player this year," he said.
"I expect Manchester United to challenge for the title. More consistency is needed. We drew too many [last season] and I think more goals are needed from different areas.
"Last season there was an over-reliance on Zlatan [Ibrahimovic]. [Marcus] Rashford, I think, will score more goals."
While expecting more from Pogba and Rashford this season, Irwin also believes that big-money summer signings Victor Lindelof, Romelu Lukaku and Nemanja Matic will prove to be shrewd additions.
He added: "Lindelof will take a bit of time but will turn into a very good player.
"Lukaku and Matic are good additions. Matic is a really experienced, solid performer."
United will face Real Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup on Tuesday before opening their Premier League campaign at home to West Ham on August 13.