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Manchester United might need to offload six more players this summer

Manchester United have a 31-man first team squad at this moment in time which consists of experienced players and players who have come through the clubs academy, that might yet be loaned out this summer. If Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is going to bring in more new faces to join Donny van de Beek at the Old Trafford club, he might yet need to clear a few more players out from the club to make room. United need an injection of quality this summer as other than the starting XI and a few other players, there is a severe lack of quality in the squad.

It is possible that six players could leave the club this summer, even after Alexis Sanchez, who left as a free agent and signed for Inter Milan. Chris Smalling is linked with an exit to AS Roma, a club that he spent last season on loan with, which saw him quickly find his feet in Italy and look to be heading back to his best after a turbulent few years at United. Two other defenders could be on their last legs at United; Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones. Rojo was loaned out to Estudiantes in January with Jones missing much of the season due to injury, again.

Solskjaer may not allow three central defenders to leave the club this summer, without one coming in although Axel Tuanzebe should be fit this month and Solskjaer has Teden Mengi coming through the ranks in the academy but one signing would be good this summer, if a player is available that would benefit the squad. United cannot continue with Rojo and Jones at the club though and will need to part ways with them sooner or later as they do not offer much benefit in the squad moving forward.

Andreas Pereira is another player who could find it hard to continue at United as the club has better players that him on the squad. The arrival of Bruno Fernandes in January made things hard for Pereira and Van de Beek’s arrival has made it even more difficult for him. Pereira has passion but in terms of what kind of player he is, it is not all that obvious as he’s played defensive midfield, central midfield, attacking midfield and even as a winger – he just does not seem to have an established role at United.

Jesse Lingard is another player that would benefit away from Old Trafford, as would United benefit from his departure. I have nothing against him but over the last two years or so, there has been little output from the player – he literally scored his first Premier League goal of the season in United’s final game against Leicester City. Off the field, his life had been dealt a blow with the illness of his mother but that is not excuse not to put in the work and find the form needed to be a footballer. United would be much better off if they could find a buyer for the player.

The last of the six players is Sergio Romero. It is not ideal that he might leave the club as for the past five years he has been the best number two goalkeeper in the Premier League. The Argentinian has been linked to Everton, Leeds United, Aston Villa and Chelsea, although the latter does not seem to be a viable option with the club looking at alternatives. There was suggestion that Villa were close to completing a deal for the player last week but nothing has happened yet.

Solskjaer has been seeking to rebuild United since he replaced Jose Mourinho as the manager of the club in December 2018 after his sacking. He initially did well then in March 2019 he was made the permanent manager and things stuttered that season with United seeking to make improvements during the 2019/20 season. The season started well, stuttered again but after Fernandes’ arrival, United changed completely and earned a third-placed finish in the Premier League, earning UEFA Champions League football for the 2020/21 season.

So far this summer, United have signed Van de Beek from Ajax. They have been linked to Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund all summer but the deadline to sign the player elapsed with the German club seeming determined to keep the player for the 2020/21 season. United still have him as their number one target though. With the midfield the best it has been since Sir Alex Ferguson managed the club, signing a central defender, aa left-back, a right-winger and a striker would be good for the club but only so much can happen this summer.

Written by John Walker

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer must offload players to make Jadon Sancho signing

Manchester United must offload a string of players the summer in order to compete the signing of Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund. United will need to pay £108 million for the 20-year-old and now that their season has come to an end, a year and five days since it started, the club will now have the time to engage in the summer transfer market in a bid to strengthen the squad this summer, adding players that will make the difference, not stutter and end up failing, like some of the current squad.

The Standard has claimed that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer must end some careers at the club in order to have sufficient funds to get deals across the line this summer. Despite the supposed deadline to sign Sancho passing a week ago, United are still seeking to sign the English winger and are quickly coming to terms with the fact that they will need to pay the price that Dortmund want to receive for the player. Which is the position that should have been in before the deadline expired.

It is suggested that Solskjaer would like to make to more key signings as United lack depth in some areas, which has been seen by the clubs exit from the UEFA Europa League at the hands of Sevilla after suffering another 2-1 defeat to the Spanish side. It is suggested that a central defender and a midfielder would be brought in, in addition to Sancho, if the club managed to get Dortmund to part company with the player after the supposed deadline expired a week ago.

It has been stated that in the midfield area, both Jesse Lingard and Andreas Pereira have no future at the Old Trafford club. Both players have been at the club for a number of years and in the past two seasons, both players have not done enough to warrant a place in United’s squad. United will need to have strength in depth at the club and having players that can make a difference will be needed and both Lingard and Pereira have failed to do that when it matters the most.

In defence, United also have a number of players who are not adding much to the squad right now. These players are Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo and Diogo Dalot. Granted, Smalling has been on loan during the 2019/20 season, playing for AS Roma and there is a chance that the club could permanently sign the defender this summer, although Inter Milan are said to be interested too. Rojo was loaned out in January too. But for Jones and Dalot, neither have been involved much this season.

Solskjaer recently spoke about the summer transfer window, which so far the club have not made a move and will need to do so during the next month in order to have players in at the club before the new Premier League season starts. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, it is suggested that United are losing out on £4 million per home match with supporters not yet allowed into stadiums. The Sun quoted Solskjaer as saying:

“I cannot say when or if transfers will be done, but we are looking at it. We have to be 100 per cent sure when we make those deals.

“It’s not about a marquee signing, it’s about quality. The right personality that fits into the group.”

Written by John Walker

Marcos Rojo raises doubts over his Manchester United future

Manchester United central defender Marcos Rojo has raised doubts over the future of his career at the Old Trafford club. In January, the Argentinian was loaned to former club Estudiantes for the remainder of the season but the coronavirus pandemic then hit, suspended world football meaning the player made just one appearance. With the season now over, the player was recalled by the Old Trafford club but will not be used for the remainder of the season.

It is unknown as to whether the player is back in England to still in Argentina, presumably the latter. Rojo would like to remain at his former club giving the suggestion that he loan spell could be extended. However, that was ideal for the remainder of the 2019/20 season not for this season. If the player would like to remain in Argentina, in my opinion, he should be pushing the club to sign him permanently as United should not be letting him be loaned out again.

During the 2019/20 season at United, Rojo made just nine appearances, four of which came in the UEFA Europa League, three in the Premier League and two in the Carabao Cup. He player a total of 648 minutes of football during the course of the season, giving the impression that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer did not want to keep him at the club, which might be the best thing for all parties in all fairness. If the player is not going to be utilised, why remain at the club.

United could sell Chris Smalling and Phil Jones this summer, and with Rojo’s future seemingly up in the air, United might need to strengthen in the central defence area with only Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly, Harry Maguire and Axel Tuanzebe as the experienced players, although both Ethan Laird and Teden Mengi could bolster Solskjaer’s squad. Rojo has reveated, as reported by The Mirror, that he has spoke to Solskjaer in the past week, to which he said:

“I spoke to Solskjaer, the coach, about two weeks ago. Because I had to go back to England. He said to me: ‘Look, now the season is over and everyone has a few days off.

“Then we go to play the Europa League. I don’t need to tell you: you’re going to come here, you have to be alone for 15 days and I’m not going to count on you because you haven’t trained for 4 months.’

“Then I told him that it’s said that at the beginning of August, training returns in Argentina. ‘If I stay here, is it better? Obviously, with your permission, I can train in Estudiantes’, I asked him.

“And then he told me: ‘After the Europa League there will be two weeks off. Come when we are about to start.’

“Now a thousand things are spoken, but most of them are lies. If I start to deny I’d be here all day. I’m calm because I spoke. My idea is also to try to stay at Estudiantes.

“I played a game, got injured and all of this happened. That is why I will see in September if the loan can be extended and continue for a few more months.”

Obviously, with Rojo wanting to remain at Estudiantes and United seemingly looking to sell the player this summer, the Argentinian club might not have the money post-coronavirus pandemic to secure the deal. Therefore, United might opt for a loan spell which could be reviewed during the January transfer window with the view for a permanent deal being concluded then or during the 2021 summer transfer window. In March 2018, Rojo signed a new contract at the club, expiring in the summer of 2021, although there is a further year that could be added. United would need to activate this in order to sell the player as in effect, next summer, he would be a free agent. Perhaps they could take the financial hit and release him to get him off their books?

Written by John Walker

Manchester United put six players on transfer list ahead of summer window opening – reports

Manchester United are willing to listen to offers for six first team players as they look to raise money to fund further transfers this summer, also clearing the wage bill to make way for any new faces the club brings in this summer. Reports have suggested that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has seemingly ended the United careers of these players.

United are said to be welcoming bids for Alexis Sanchez, Chris Smalling, Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones, Jesse Lingard and Diogo Dalot with Solskjaer keen to bolster his squad ahead of an new era at the club, which started with his appointment after the sacking of Jose Mourinho in December 2018. The Norwegian has helped six players out of the door already.

Solskjaer is keen to get United ticking again, like they did in his days as a player for the club, then led by Sir Alex Ferguson, a manager that Solskjaer would like to emulate at the club and could do with full support of the Scotsman. We have seen from recent matches that fast-paced attacking football is the style that he wants at the club.

Solskjaer, albeit temporarily, got rid of Smalling and Sanchez for the current season on loan with the club seemingly interested in ending the careers of the duo at United, if clubs would like to purchase them. Sanchez would be the harder of the two to get rid of because of his high wages. Smalling would like to remain in Italy past this season.

Rojo has not played much football this season and was loaned to Estudiantes in Argentines during the January transfer window with Jones not playing much football at all, being injured since the Premier League resumed last month and possible unlikely to have any further involvement with the club this season.

Lingard has fallen down the pecking order massively as what he has offered the club during Solskjaer’s tenure at the club, and before that, is lacking what is needed from a player representing United and you can see he’s not in the Norwegian’s plans as he has no involvement in matches, last playing against Norwich City in the FA Cup last month.

In regards to Dalot, his United career is two years in the making and it might be harsh to let him go so soon but he’s not going to get past Aaron Wan-Bissaka in the right-back position or either Luke Shaw or Brandon Williams in the left-back role. Solskjaer has used him further forward but that did not work out for him either.

Solskjaer seems to see more in Ethan Laird, who has been training with the first team for a while now, which says more about Dalot. Not every player will make it work at United, especially after coming to the club under the watch of a different manager, who had high hopes for the player. Solskjaer knows what he wants and what he has not got.

It could well be an exciting summer for United, if they can get different clubs interested in these six players, which could clear the way for some new faces at the club this summer and some places in the squad for some of the younger, talented players within the clubs academy, which is the route to success that Ferguson took all those years ago.

Marcos Rojo to leave Manchester United this summer after loan spell with Estudiantes is over – reports

Manchester United defender Marcos Rojo will allegedly leave the Theatre of Dreams this summer, according to the player’s agent. United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has not used the player all that much this season with the Argentinian making just nine appearances for the club, playing just 648 minutes of football before being loaned out.

United have warned the player twice for his conduct whilst away from the club as he was pictured breaking lockdown regulations twice in his native country, which is not the best look for the player. It is suggested that United would be looking to offload the player this summer, which would be about right as Solskjaer looks to continue his rebuild.

It is suggested that United would be seeking to get rid of Rojo, Chris Smalling and Alexis Sanchez if they can this summer with United linked to Jadon Sancho of Borussia Dortmund, who will cost upwards of £100 million – with Solskjaer making space for the player both in terms of monetarily and in his squad.

Stretty News exclusively reported on Wednesday that the Argentinian is set for an Old Trafford exit this summer after speaking to Jonathan Barnett, who represents the player. When asked whether he feels his client is in the plans of United manager, Solskjaer, which does not seem the case considering his lack of appearances, Barnett said:

“I couldn’t comment on what [Ole Gunnar] Solskjaer thinks but I think it’s obvious.”

The former Sporting Club de Portugal defender, who signed for United in the summer of 2015, then under the management of Louis van Gaal, would probably like to stay in his native Argentina with Estudiantes a possible destination, if they can afford the player – which may not be all that likely. Barnett concluded by saying:

“I think with Rojo, probably (a move) is more than likely somewhere else.”

It might be a shame that the player’s time at United could end like this but in recent years, he has not been a standout player in the clubs defence and was used sparingly. With Solskjaer seeking to guide the club in a new direction, seemingly taking on the might of Liverpool and Manchester City to challenge for the Premier League title, a new angle might be needed, especially with the club needing a decent partner for Harry Maguire.

Marcos Rojo likely to return to Manchester United after loan spell with Estudiantes – reports

Manchester United defender Marcos Rojo is likely to return to the Old Trafford club after his loan spell with Argentinian side, Estudiantes has expired, according to the manager of the club, Leandro Desabato. Rojo has made just nine appearances for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team this season, before leaving for Estudiantes on loan in January.

The 30-year-old has made just one appearance for Estudiantes, seemingly struggling with injury before the coronavirus pandemic suspended world football in mid-March. Rojo made known his desire to remain in his native Argentina after his loan spell has expired, and the comments from his manager will no doubt be a blow for him to contend with. Rojo said:

“If it depends on me, I will speak to Manchester United’s management about the possibility of staying here for another six months.

“I will feel a tremendous sense of pain if I have to leave after playing in so few matches. I am completely recovered now, and fit to play once more.”

Rojo’s contract at United expires in the summer of 2021, meaning this summer he will be into his final year at the club, so when the transfer window eventually opens this summer, it would give United one chance to offload the player, receiving a transfer fee for his services. Although, like most new signings and contract renewals, there is the option for another year to be added at the club.

Estudiantes manager, Desabato, was speaking to Argentinian radio channel, Radio Late 931 which was reported by SportWitness with the manager confirming that after his loan spell has finished with the club, Rojo would return to United. United though would have the deciding factor as to whether the player could be loaned again. He said:

“We have to wait, but Rojo is likely to leave. The loan is due, and if Manchester do not want to continue loaning, it’s understandable.”

Solskjaer does not seem to rate Rojo much, playing him a total of 12 times since he was made the caretaker manager of United, being named as the next permanent manager of the club around four months later. Even with injury problems, the Argentinian was not really ahead of Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Harry Maguire, or Chris Smalling.

Manchester United hope to start a bidding war so they can sell Marcos Rojo this summer – reports

Manchester United are apparently hoping to start a bidding war between Argentinian clubs Boca Juniors and Estudiantes in order to sell £12 million rated defender Marcos Rojo, according to reports. The Argentinian left the club back in January on loan, spending the remainder of the season in his native Argentina playing for Estudiantes.

Rojo played just nine times for United this season, playing a total of 648 minutes of football in total. It was clear that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer did not rate the player enough to play him regularly, seemingly ignoring the player for much of last season and a lot of the current season, then allowing him to leave the club in January.

United have some good defenders in the squad with Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof the regular starters with Eric Bailly and Axel Tuanzebe also chosen, although injuries to the pair have cost them valuable minutes on the pitch. Phil Jones is also at the club, he too playing football sparingly, perhaps not a player Solskjaer wants either.

This summer, it is important for United to continue clearing the players who are no longer needed at the club, which in my opinion, thinking of defenders, Rojo, Jones and even Chris Smalling, who is wanted by AS Roma, if they can do a deal to sign the former England defender. These three departures could give other players a chance at the club.

Tuanzebe deserves to play more football, providing his is fit and healthy. It has also been suggested that Teden Mengi, who is part of the clubs academy, could well rise into the first team at some point based on recent comments by U23 coach Neil Wood, who stated that Mengi could be the next young player to break into the first team.

It has been suggested that Boca Juniors have entered the race to sign Rojo this summer, with United seeking to offload the player they pay around £16 million for in the summer of 2014. The Argentinian’s contract at United is due to expire in the summer of 2021, giving him one more year at United, hence the interest in offloading him for money this year.

In some senses, it is a shame that Rojo is going to be sold. In terms of passion, he has it all and in ability and positioning, as he can play in the left-back position also and was intrinsic in that position when Luke Shaw suffered his horrifying double leg fracture a few years ago. It seems like a different time as Louis Van Gaal was the manager of the club then.

Rojo played a big part under Van Gaal, then in Jose Mourinho’s first season, played more times than he had in a season before at the club, then his appearances started to shorten as other players began to arrive at the club, lessening his grip on a first team place. Under Solskjaer, Rojo seemed to be out in the cold, which might have been unfortunate for him.

One thing is sure though, Solskjaer means business at the club and is seeking to bring back the glory days, which have not really been seen since Sir Alex Ferguson was stood on the touchline jeering his players on. In the long seven years since Ferguson retired, United has won two FA Community Shields, one EFL Cup (now the Carabao Cup) and the UEFA Europa League.

Manchester United defender in ‘play me or let me leave’ plea to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Manchester United defender Marcos Rojo has reportedly given the club an ultimatum to play him or let him leave. The Argentinian was linked with a deadline day move to Everton last month, which failed, also being linked with a departure with the club effectively paying him to leave, which never materialised either.

Last season, Rojo made just six appearances for the Old Trafford club, five of them coming in the Premier League alone. The 29-year-old is clearly not in with much opportunity to play on a week by week basis under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer but an injury to Luke Shaw saw him included in the match day squad for the 1-1 draw at Southampton last weekend.

Rojo can play at left-back, also as a central defender. When he played last season, despite being a breath of fresh air at times, he was also a liability due to his rash tackling technique. He also does not give me the impression that defence, at the standard needed, is in his locker, however, that is my own opinion.

Currently, Rojo has a chance to get himself into the first team again with the injury to Eric Bailly, which will see him on the sidelines until the Christmas period. If Shaw is out for any period of time, with Ashley Young playing at left-back, Rojo could be a player from the bench, if needed. If Aaron Wan-Bissaka is out for a period of time, Rojo may actually play.

In the summer, Rojo lost his place in the Argentina squad for the Copa America and he will need to play regularly in order to get back into contention at international level. However, in a central defensive capacity, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, and Axel Tuanzebe seem to be ahead of him, leaving him with work to do.

Phil Jones could also be considered ahead of him, although he is yet to make a match day squad this season. Playing at left-back, which is not really a position that he should be considered for, is his best option but Solskjaer should utilise youth with the likes of Demetri Mitchell and Brandon Williams two of the available options.

Manchester United to consider paying Marcos Rojo to leave the club before the expiry of his current contract – reports

Manchester United are reportedly ready to pay Argentinian central defender Marcus Rojo to leave the Old Trafford club. It is suggested that the 29-year-old, who earns £130,000 each week is subject to talks in order to release him from his contract two years early. The arrival of Harry Maguire seems to have ended his United career.

Rojo signed a new contract with the club around 18 months ago, which would have kept him at the Theatre of Dreams until the summer of 2021, although there was also the option of a further year to be added. Since that contract was signed, Jose Mourinho was sacked and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer arrived and it was clear Rojo does not fit the bill.

On transfer deadline day in England just over a week ago, it was reported that Everton were seeking to sign the Argentinian international but the deal fell though as it became too expensive. Rojo has been linked to Fenerbahce, although it not coming from a credible source in Turkey. United have no other option but to pay the player to leave.

It has been reported by The Mirror that United plans to strike a deal with Rojo in order to release him from his contract, although if he stayed at United for the next two years, he would earn £13.5 million. He could earn a considerable amount of that by agreeing to leave then finding another club to play for, possibly in his native Argentina, who knows.

It was suggested that Rojo was not best pleased when his loan deal with Everton fell through. It has also been suggested that the 29-year-old could also seal a loan deal to a club in France, Spain or Italy as their transfer window closes on the 2 September 2019, meaning there is still a lot of time to get something sorted. However, United might be better to get the player off their books completely.

It has been suggested that Solskjaer will utilise both Victor Lindelof and Harry Magure as the first choice central defensive partnership with Chris Smalling as the rotational player to replace either of the pair. The Norwegian also has the likes of Axel Tuanzebe and Phil Jones to fit in with Eric Bailly on the sidelines through injury.

Looking at Manchester United’s defensive depth for the 2019/20 season

Manchester United did well during the summer transfer window, adding Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who signed from Crystal Palace and Harry Maguire, who arrived from Leicester City. It was a summer that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needed to pay attention to the defence, which allowed more than 50 goals to be conceded in the Premier League along last season.

Solskjaer spent £125 million; £80 million for Maguire and an initial £45 million for Wan-Bissaka giving some much-needed defensive ability ahead of the 2019/20 season in which United would be tasked with chasing the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal, to regain a place in the top four of the league.

United finished sixth last season, five points adrift of a place in the top four, which could have been much different if United managed to beat both Huddersfield Town and Cardiff City at the end of the season. However, hindsight is only fantastic when you look back as if you change two factors, other factors may have had to change also.

Goalkeeper depth; Solskjaer does not need to worry in this area.

Solskjaer has three great first-team options in goal this season; David De Gea, Sergio Romero and Lee Grant. That will be the order of importance in the squad. The club also had the likes of Dean Henderson, Joel Pereira and Kieran O’Hara, who have all been loaned out to Sheffield United, Hearts of Midlothian and Burton Albion respectively.

De Gea will be the go-to guy to start the majority of matches, namely in the Premier League. As for the Carabao Cup, the UEFA Europa League and the Emirates FA Cup, it could well be Romero who features, as he did in the cup competitions last season, other than the UEFA Champions League, of course. Grant could be a shoo-in for matches in these competitions too.

It was hoped that Henderson could have been afforded time in the Premier League this season but with De Gea’s contract being extended by the extra year agreed to in 2015, it was unlikely that he would be the first option in the goalkeeping ranks, however, he will get that Premier League experience he craved for, which might do him some good.

Fullback depth; Solskjaer’s options are much improved this season.

Last season, United’s defence left a lot to be desired. First of all, in the fullback position, Jose Mourinho, who started the season as manager, then Solskjaer had Antonio Valencia, Ashley Young, Matteo Darmian, Luke Shaw, and Diogo Dalot to choose from in both the left-back and right-back positions. Not a lot of pace, or youth for that matter.

Valencia was on the sidelines for much of the season, leaving the other four to contend for places in the squad. Young was often criticised, as way Shaw. Dalot was too inexperienced, but gave his all and Darmian seldom played. This season though, after the departure of Valencia, Wan-Bissaka arrived and has improved the position greatly.

Both Wan-Bissaka and Shaw will face competition from Young and Dalot, who can both play on the left or the right. Darmian may still play a part despite his future up in the air, although his current contract will expire at the end of the season. The fullback role is looking good for the current season with youth coming through the ranks to add more competition.

Central defensive depth; the strongest defence in six years?

Solskjaer has Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Harry Maguire, Chris Smalling, Marcos Rojo and Axel Tuanzebe in his ranks for the current season. There was the rumour of Rojo likely to depart before the closure of the European transfer window at the start of September, but it is just rumour right now. With seven players, there is some depth in this area.

Bailly is injured until the Christmas period, meaning Solskjaer has six players contesting two positions in the squad. Lindelof and Maguire secured the central defensive area in the 4-0 victory over Chelsea at Old Trafford last weekend and will be expected to resume their positions against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday evening.

In case of injury to either Lindelof or Maguire, or the need for rotation, Tuanzebe will be a great option for Solskjaer as he did well during pre-season and learned some valuable things on loan with Aston Villa last season. The likes of Jones and Smalling could also be considered. Rojo not so much, based on pre-season appearances.

The depth of this squad is pretty good, despite the moaning for central midfield signings during the summer transfer window. Solskjaer will have had targets and if it was not possible to sign them, panic buying was just going to create more problems in the future with many players on high wages and unable to be moved on; Alexis Sanchez for instance.

United have many options in different areas; a minimum of three players, counting those already in the first team this season, which are players who have already made their debuts for the club in the recent years. In some positions, United has four sometimes five options, based on my opinion on where they would be able to play in the 4-2-3-1 formation.

This is the formation which Solskjaer has used more often than not, and a formation which will get the best out of the attacking players, using their hunger, determination and more importantly, their pace to launch attacking and counter-attacking plays during matches. Solskjaer’s identity seems to be young, courage and success.

Above, you can see the 4-2-3-1 formation, keeping an eye on the defence where there is a minimum of three players for each position, listed in order of importance to the squad. At fullback, both Wan-Bissaka and Shaw seem to be safe, although the emergence of Dalot could change that, more for Shaw, if he does not improve as he should have.

In the centre of defence, Lindelof and Maguire are certain to start more matches together, fitness and injury aside, but in that instance, there is some depth which could help get United through a difficult time. Tuanzebe, at least for me, is trusted more than the likes of Jones and Smalling; Bailly is at the bottom because of injury at the present time.

If the Ivorian improves his game, he could add more competition for either centre-back, which in turn will inspire players to perform to the best of their ability in order to keep their place. Competition is the best thing to bring the best out of players. This defence could achieve a lot; first of all to ensure they concede fewer than 54 goals this season.

copyright: JW