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Do not be fooled by the two league victories or the Carabao Cup triumph, there was only a hair’s breadth between Manchester United and Chelsea last season.

The parallels between the two sides were clear. Both were in rebuilding mode, having failed to challenge for the Premier League title in a good few years. Both with club legends at the helm, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Frank Lampard, putting a major emphasis on youth and playing attacking football, for different reasons.

The league table does not lie and the fact United and Chelsea finished level on points in third and fourth place respectively, tells the full story. Those three United wins over Chelsea were not without their fair share of luck and that showed as the Blues hit back in the FA Cup semi-final.

Everyone is now looking at United and Chelsea to close the gap to the league’s runaway top four, Liverpool and Manchester City. For the sake of a more competitive and exciting league, a three or four-way title race is a must.

But right now, United fans are quite understandably worried about where their team stands in regards to this.

It was another Monday morning of moaning for those United supporters yesterday, for very good reason.

‘Ed Woodward’ and ‘Abramovich’ were among the top UK trends on Twitter, as it emerged that Chelsea were closing in on three deals. Kai Havertz, Ben Chilwell and Thiago Silva are all likely to arrive at Stamford Bridge in due course, boosting Lampard’s side and their chances of bridging the gap to the Premier League top two. In reality the credit should be going to Chelsea transfer chief Marina Granovskaia.

As if Liverpool lifting the league wasn’t bad enough for United fans. As if three years without a trophy did not hurt enough. Now, their side appears to be losing ground to Chelsea in the summer scramble for transfers.

There can be no arguments that Chelsea have done excellent business in this window. Before it opened they had already secured Timo Werner from RB Leipzig and months before that, even, had welcomed a new face in Hakim Ziyech from Ajax. Now, the prospect of adding one of the league’s premier left-backs in Chilwell, a seasoned Champions League finalist centre-back in Thiago and the raw talent of Bayer Leverkusen’s playmaker Havertz is giving Lampard a further boost.

After being banned from signing players, the Chelsea boss promoted academy stars; now he’s set to blend that with imports from home and abroad. He’s being backed, with an expected spend of more than £200million.

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It does not have to be all doom and gloom for United, though, despite their one and only transfer saga of note rumbling on and on and on. Jadon Sancho was linked with Chelsea for a while, but United were confident they could get their man. They still might, but signing Sancho may not be enough to compete with Chelsea at this rate. Fans are frustrated that doing one deal at Old Trafford appears to be more difficult than Chelsea doing five.

United can still gain the upper hand though. Tying Dean Henderson — who Chelsea would love to have in goal — down to an improved deal, along with a first team role, would be a start. Then they must meet Borussia Dortmund’s asking price for Sancho. But that’s the bare minimum. Another forward such as David Brooks or Jack Grealish should follow and a defensive reinforcement for either the centre-back or left-back position, too.

Recent Premier League history is littered with examples of clubs ‘overdoing’ it in the transfer market.

Don’t forget Everton’s summer of 2017, when they signed Gylfi Sigurdsson, Wayne Rooney and Davy Klaassen in quick succession, as well as Michael Keane, Jordan Pickford and Sandro Ramirez. Pundits predicted a top four challenge for the Toffees, but the season ended up in a relegation dogfight with Sam Allardyce as manager. Something similar happened when Tottenham used the money generated from Gareth Bale’s sale to sign the ‘magnificent seven’, but then finished sixth under Tim Sherwood.

Nobody is suggesting Chelsea will suffer the same fate, but seemingly good transfer business does not always guarantee success. United need to find a healthy middle ground, capturing their top targets to give Solskjaer the squad his progress has desevered. They cannot afford to get left behind this summer.