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3 Ways how Manchester United could lineup next season

  • Manchester United have been linked with a number of exciting prospects in the summer transfer window.
  • If Ole Gunnar Solskjær manages to land some of his targets, the Red Devils would be a force to reckon with next season.
Rohit George
ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
Modified 26 Mar 2020, 14:40 IST

Manchester United v Manchester City - Premier League
Manchester United v Manchester City - Premier League

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has brought the whole world to a halt. While medical experts from around the globe toil to find a cure to the deadly disease, humanity at large finds itself in lockdown.

Meanwhile, football fans find themselves in unfamiliar territory with nothing to look forward to on the weekends and what is worse is the fact that the ongoing wait is an indefinite one. As far as football clubs and their fans are concerned, Manchester United and their fans are probably the most frustrated group of people right now.

Just as the Red Devils were building some momentum and finding some much-needed consistency, the season was brought to an abrupt halt.

However, the current football hiatus means that it is not too early to start looking towards the next season and predicting how United might line up whenever the 2020-21 Premier League season does get underway. The addition of Bruno Fernandes during the January transfer window made a tangible difference to United’s performances and fortunes on the pitch.

There are more encouraging signs for the fans as Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side have been linked with a host of other promising names in the next transfer window like Harry Kane, Jadon Sancho, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Jack Grealish among others.

On the other hand, Paul Pogba’s future seems to be an eternal topic of discussion for the Old Trafford based outfit. While it remains to be seen if the Frenchman would still be at the club beyond the upcoming summer transfer window, there are a lot of fans who believe that United are without him, especially after the arrival of Fernandes.

In addition to this, United will be in need of money as they look to strengthen their squad in the summer and selling Pogba is certainly one way of doing that.

Since the possibility of Pogba leaving the club is now higher than ever, the below-mentioned lineups do not feature the 2018 world cup winner.

Here are three ways Manchester United can lineup next season:

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#3. 4-2-3-1 with Jack Grealish accompanying Scott McTominay in midfield and Jadon Sancho on the wing

Jack Grealish has been linked with a move to Manchester United next season.
Jack Grealish has been linked with a move to Manchester United next season.

Ole Gunnar Solskjær has prefered to deploy a 4-2-3-1 formation for the vast majority of his tenure at United as it provides his central defenders with some protection and also utilises the raw pace of the wingers in his team.

But the one thing that the Norwegian manager has not been able to do with this formation is getting the best out Pogba. Despite being played as a number 10 and as a holding midfielder, the Frenchman has failed to recreate the form that made United resign him from Juventus.

Perhaps the best solution then is for Pogba to leave in the summer and be replaced with someone else who can play the role of a holding midfielder. For instance, Jack Grealish has long been linked with a move to United and now may be the right time to get him to Old Trafford.

What’s more, the money from the sale of Pogba can easily be reused to sign Grealish. The 24-year-old would, in fact, be a lot cheaper than Pogba and could potentially form a resolute midfield duo with Scott McTominay.

Both McTominay and Grealish are dynamic players who would perfectly fit Solskjær’s needs. Along with their sturdiness and discipline, both the Scott and the Englishman also possess an eye for goal as they have should on more than one occasion this season.

Jadon Sancho is the other player who been touted with a move to United and after a long period of speculation, it might finally be the time for him to make the switch.

If rumours are to be believed, United are pulling out all the stops to land their man and though it will be an exorbitant amount of money it certainly is worth the risk.

The 20-year-old has established himself as one of the best wingers in the world at Borussia Dortmund with 14 goals and 16 assists in 23 Bundesliga games this season and it might only be a matter of time before he dons a United shirt.

If United do manage to sign the Englishman, one can expect him to make one of the wings his own. In theory, having Sancho, Bruno Fernandes, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford would mean that United would have one of the deadliest attacks in world football next season and the best part is that they could return United to their former glory.


United with Grealish and McTominay in midfield
United with Grealish and McTominay in midfield

#2. 4-4-2 with Odion Ighalo and Marcus Rashford up-top

Odion Ighalo has made an impressive start to life at Manchester United and could potentially form a lethal strike partnership with Marcus Rashford.
Odion Ighalo has made an impressive start to life at Manchester United and could potentially form a lethal strike partnership with Marcus Rashford.

A lot was made out of Manchester United’s last-minute move to sign Odion Ighalo from Shanghai Shenhua on loan during the January transfer window. While some labelled it a panic buy, others just laughed at it and said it was a sign that United could no longer attract the best strikers in the world.

However, less than two months since the move was completed, it is beginning to look like Solskjær has pulled off a masterstroke.

Not only has Ighalo become the first Nigerian player to play for the club, but he has also had an instant positive impact on the team.

In the three UEFA Europa League games that he has played so far, the former Watford FC man has already notched up two goals and one assist, which includes a wonder strike against LASK in the last fixture that United played.

In addition to this, Ighalo has also found the back of the net twice in two games for United in the FA Cup

If rumours are to be believed, the Red Devils are all set to sign Ighalo on a permanent deal once his loan expires at the end of the season and it must be said that the 30-year-old deserves a longer spell at the club.

The arrival of Ighalo has gone a long way in making up for Rashford’s absence in the second half of the season. But once the Englishman is back next season, he could form a potentially deadly partnership along with Ighalo upfront if Solskjær chooses to play two strikers.

Ighalo and Rashford would thrive off the service provided by Fernandes, Martial and Sancho if the latter joins the club. The duo could also potentially slip into a 4-4-1-1 with Rashford dropping into the number 10 position behind Ighalo.

But perhaps what is most realistic is that Rashford will keep swapping places with Fernandes, given that the Portuguese playmaker will be given the license to roam on on the pitch. The traditional 4-4-2 formation might have become a rarity in today’s day and age but United could use it to devastating effect next season with Ighalo and Rashford in their ranks.

Ighalo and Rashford up top is an exciting prospect for United
Ighalo and Rashford up top is an exciting prospect for United

#1. 3-4-1-2 with Nemanja Matic, Fred and Scott McTominay in midfield

Nemanja Matic, Fred and Scott McTominay could be United
Nemanja Matic, Fred and Scott McTominay could be United's midfield trio next season.

The other formation that Manchester United are most likely to use next season is a 3-4-1-2 with Nemanja Matic accompanying Fred or Scott McTominay in the heart of the midfield.

A radical change in fortunes has seen the Serbian midfielder establish himself as one of the most important players in Solskjær’s system this season, so much so that the one-year extension in his contract is set to be activated at the end of the season.

The former Chelsea man will turn 32 in August and cannot be expected to get up and down the pitch like a box to box midfielder. However, he remains more than capable of snuffing out attacks from the opposition.

While Matic can be expected to sit in midfield, McTominay or Fred will be asked to provide the legs alongside Matic. Adopting this formation would mean that United deploy Brandon Williams and Luke Shaw as wingbacks, a role in which both of them have excelled this season.

Solskjær has experimented with this formation for the most recent games against Chelsea and Manchester City and the results were plain to see. Fred and Matic managed to run the show in midfield for United while Shaw and Williams were ever-willing to get up and down the length of the pitch.

Using this formation once Rashford is back next season would let Solskjær unleash the Englishman along with Fernandes and Martial in the attack.

Perhaps the biggest advantage of playing with this formation is that United can form a formidable squad even if they fail to make signings in the summer transfer window. Over the last few years, the Red Devils have not always succeeded in the pursuit of their desired transfer targets.

Truth be told, United managed to secure the signature of Bruno Fernandes after a saga that stretched the length of the January transfer window. But United certainly are a better side with the Portuguese playmaker and they will look to pick up from where they left off whenever football does resume.

Matic has improved significantly this season and can play a huge role for United moving forward.
Matic has improved significantly this season and can play a huge role for United moving forward.
Published 26 Mar 2020, 14:40 IST
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