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Friday, 2 June 2017

How Manchester United’s XI might look when the 2017-18 season begins


Jose Mourinho.

Despite winning the Europa League and the EFL Cup, Jose Mourinho is expected to spend huge money in the transfer market ahead of the start of the 2017-18 campaign in August.

Manchester United’s performance in the Premier League has been a huge disappointment this season.

The Red Devils were expected to challenge for the league title in Mourinho’s debut campaign at Old Trafford. Instead they finished sixth, 24 points behind the champions, Chelsea.

However, United will still be competing in the Champions League next season after defeating Ajax in last week’s Europa League final.

With that in mind, and the fact they will need to seriously challenge for the Premier League title next season, it’s imperative Mourinho recruits the right players over the coming weeks - and shifts the deadwood from his squad.

How Man Utd's XI might look in August

But how might United’s XI look come the opening weekend of the season?

Let’s take a closer look…

Goalkeeper: Jan Oblak

If David De Gea leaves Old Trafford for Real Madrid, United can’t settle for an inferior goalkeeper like Kasper Schmeichel or Joe Hart.

Jan Oblak, Atletico Madrid’s No. 1, is one of the best in the business and would be worth every penny it’d take to bring him to Manchester.

Left-back: Danny Rose

Danny Rose, one of the Premier League’s standout full-backs over the past couple of years, is reportedly keen to move back up north.

United are favourites to sign the Tottenham star, per the Mirror, and perhaps a deal involving Luke Shaw moving in the opposite direction would satisfy all parties.

Shaw, remember, worked with Mauricio Pochettino at Southampton.

Centre-back: Eric Bailly

The Ivory Coast international has been outstanding in his debut season at Old Trafford and will retain his place in Mourinho’s starting line-up next season regardless of which other players arrive.

Bailly has the potential to establish his status as one of the world’s best central defenders.

Centre-back: Victor Lindelof

Mourinho knows he can’t rely on Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo, so a new top centre-back needs to be signed this summer.

Benfica’s 22-year-old defender Victor Lindelof, capped 11 times by Sweden, has been linked with a move to Old Trafford in recent weeks and would cost in the region of £30 million to sign.

Right-back: Antonio Valencia

Manchester United’s Players’ Player of the Year for the 2016-17 season, Antonio Valencia has surprised everyone by becoming arguably the Premier League’s best right-back.

Mourinho would be mad to sign a replacement for the 31-year-old.

Midfield: Fabinho

United are understood to be close to sealing a deal for AS Monaco’s Brazilian midfielder Fabinho, who has enjoyed an excellent season.

An all-rounder, Fabinho can pass, tackle, cover ground and score goals. He netted nine goals for Monaco in Ligue 1 this season.

Midfield: Ander Herrera

Manchester United’s Player of the Year for the 2016-17 season, Ander Herrera has become one of the Red Devils’ key players since Jose Mourinho replaced Louis van Gaal last summer.

A central midfield comprised of Herrera, Fabinho and the next man on this list would be formidable.

Midfield: Paul Pogba

Now he’s had a season to settle back in, we should see the best of the world’s most expensive footballer next term.

It wouldn’t come as a shock if the world-class French midfielder wins the PFA’s Player of the Year award at the end of next season.

Left-wing: Ivan Perisic

Mourinho doesn’t particularly trust Anthony Martial, who could be forced to make way for Inter Milan’s Croatian midfielder Ivan Perisic this summer.

United are currently negotiating with the Italian giants and a deal could be finalised over the coming weeks.

Forward: Antoine Griezmann

The player every United fans is hoping to see at Old Trafford next season, it now seems a question of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ Antoine Griezmann will sign for Mourinho’s side.

The French forward has told Atletico Madrid that he wants to leave the club and United are now expected to trigger his £85 million release clause.

He will take the No. 7 shirt vacated by Memphis Depay in January.

Right-wing: Douglas Costa

Jesse Lingard works hard but lacks the world-class quality that United require on the right-hand side of the pitch.

Douglas Costa, however, is a class act with the ability to win matches.

The Brazilian hasn’t enjoyed a happy season at Bayern Munich and United, after qualifying for the Champions League, would stand an excellent chance of signing him.

United's potential 2016-17 XI

Other options

Other options: Sergio Romero, Marcos Rojo, Daley Blind, Axel Tuanzebe, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Michael Carrick, Marouane Fellaini, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford.

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