Last week I did a cheeky guess at my team sheet for next year. I posted it to our Twitter account. I was asked two questions on the back of it, mostly “Where is Rooney?” and “What drugs are you on?”. Now yes, it’s a bit of harmless speculation. But I do also believe we’re trying to buy this team. Or very close to it. So I thought I’d give my reasons for selecting those I mentioned.
Firstly, no Rooney? No Rooney. I think it’s time he was moved on. If we manage to regain a position of power with van Gaal in charge, if he wants a harmonious dressing room is to move Rooney on. He’s not captain material. Can you imagine Robbo, or Charlton or even Keano, wanting to leave not once, but TWICE. We needed to keep him last summer, if we sign all this lot, we don’t this year.
David De Gea In the net, simple. He’s in with a shout of being called the best keeper in the world. He could reign for 10 years, so yes. Obviously.
Luke Shaw The baby of the group. 18-year-old and going to cost a rumoured £30m – I also don’t consider this to be a gamble to suggest. Our sources as well as the likes of Bob Cass tell us this is basically a done deal. Pricey? Maybe. But if we get 10-15 years of service, might be a bargain. Talented lad.
Mats Hummels At 25 he’s becoming a commanding centre half. A real leader and a perfect replacement for Nemanja Vidic. Cost? A lot. Worth it? Yep. Doable? Maybe not. Commanding centre halves are not easy to come by. So this represents the risk in my ‘educated guess’ of a team.
Phil Jones Still only 22 he’s got the potential to be a great, stagnated a bit under Moyes, could be injuries, could be lack of a settled position. But given the current centre back situation, it’s time Jones, Evans and Smalling stood up to be counted. We see flashes of brilliance for all 3, at times. But one needs to become consistent. My guess is Jones.
Seamus Coleman There was a bit of talk that Moyes didn’t like Rafael and wanted to bring one of this years stand out performers, in Coleman, over to Manchester with him. But since Moyes left, those rumours haven’t died down. So I’m going to lump on and say let’s have it. We can have potent full backs on both sides who can defend. For as much as I love Rafa. He’s not had his best year.
Kevin Strootman Although last year we seemed like we was going to sign him, I don’t even know that we bid. He’s currently injured. But it’s not like United don’t sign injured midfielders, is it? Pictured with van Gaal and Van Persie at a recent Eredivise match, I think this is a pretty safe bet, should Van Gaal wish to make the deal happen.
Cesc Fabregas Go on laugh. We all pretty much know what went down last year. Despite comments to the contrary, Fabregas did want the move to United. There’s talk right now of happenings at a skint Barcelona and I believe if we enquired, with a sensible bid. We’d get our man. I think this could be a personal crusade from Woodward. He’s going to gift us one player, I reckon it’s Fabregas or Cavani.
Toni Kroos German Bryan Robson. Expensive, but at 24 he’s the perfect age. I think the Premier League suits him and he’d love to come and play for his old boss at Old Trafford. Not happy with the 66 different central midfield options at Bayern and would be the main man here. Once Cleverley goes. Clearly.
Juan Mata He is not a winger. I know he’s not. But you need to find a role for him in a team in this type of formation. Width will come from Coleman, so I think he can work with this. My player of the year this year. Incredible footballer.
Marco Reus He is another one people scoff at. But a Dortmund side forced to work under tight constraints might need to sell to replace the likes of Lewandowski who walked away on a free. Big money double swoop for Hummels and Reus? Could inject the pace we so clearly need.
Robin Van Persie Looks so happy in the last couple of weeks. He clearly didn’t enjoy the Moyes era and rumours of splits emerged within the first couple of months. Loves van Gaal and there’s probably no finer centre forward, when he’s happy. So he gets the start next year. Might need replacing in 24 months, especially if a pacey forward becomes available, but I think while LVG is in charge he’ll bang them in.
In conclusion, yeah, it’s a guess and we’ll probably not sign seven players. More like five I reckon. But it’s fun to speculate and there are reasons behind each of my choices. My bench would be stacked with the likes of Januzaj, Welbeck, Evans, Lingard and maybe Wilson if he doesn’t go on loan.
By Stephen Howson
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