What Man United’s starting 11 should look like for 2016/17 season


The talk of the town these days in Manchester, at least in one half of the city, is about the next manager at Old Trafford. Will Van Gaal remain in the hot seat, or have Manchester United already agreed a deal with José Mourinho? Or, perhaps less likely, will they move for a third name — a Giggs, Pochettino, or Simeone?

But this question is not our concern here. Instead, we will focus on the team and what new players are required in order for Manchester United to take the next step and become genuine title contenders again. In truth, I am not sure that so much is needed as others like to claim.

People talk a lot about a world-class center forward (Ibrahimović, Lewandowski), but my suggestion would be to only go for three players, and among them I don’t count a center forward.

I agree with all those who say that a new center back is needed. Admittedly, Smalling and Blind have done very well this season, but Manchester United still need a center back for two reasons. While Blind has surprised many with some fine displays, it is still doubtful that center back is his best position. Apart from this, United need more numbers in that position, not least because Phil Jones’s United career may be over due to his endless injuries, and because Rojo, if he gets to stay, is better suited at left back. My choice would be Aymeric Laporte from Athletic Bilbao. John Stones and, especially, Rafael Varane, are obvious contenders, too, but I would choose Laporte because he is left footed. A few months ago, I would definitely have said Stones, but since then Van Gaal has managed to introduce more English players into his line-up. My concerns about the identity of the team are thus less today than then. This transfer – Laporte, or, if not him, then Varane or Stones – is indeed possible, and Manchester United should move early to secure the deal.

SEE MORE: Manchester United face a crossroads to decide between Mourinho and Van Gaal

The second player is more unlikely, but I am being driven more by the pleasure principle than the reality principle in this text. Bearing this in mind, I would go all in for Paul Pogba to bolster the midfield. With him, you get a player that will definitely be among the world’s best for the next several years and someone who can operate box to box. Pogba is a true number eight who will guarantee a lift in quality in any team through his goals, presence, and flair.

In attack, I would trust Rashford and Martial to share the responsibility of the number 9. If Rashford gets injured, if he suffers a drop in form, or if he needs a rest, Martial can be moved into the middle. My choice would then be to go for a winger, and Gareth Bale is the one Manchester United should attempt to lure to Old Trafford. He would bring speed, goals, and creativity, but also experience to a team that have grown younger in the second half of this season.

Of course, a lot of question marks also exist as to whom will be released or sold. Jones and Rojo have already been mentioned. Will Carrick be offered a new contract? Has Januzaj missed his opportunity? What about Pereira? Will Memphis get a chance to improve on his pretty miserable first season at Old Trafford? These are questions for the manager. Here below, I will show what my ideal starting 11 would look like in August 2016, and I believe it is a team with the right mixture of youth and experience, with a sufficiently strong bench, and, not least, a team good enough to compete for the title.



Daley Blind, Antonio Valencia, Matteo Darmian, Guillermo Varela, Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, Morgan Schneiderlin, Michael Carrick, Marouane Fellaini, Ander Herrera, Juan Mata, Memphis Depay, Ashley Young, Jesse Lingard, Sergio Romero, Sam Johnstone, Adnan Januzaj, Andreas Pereira, James Wilson

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  1. Hickorywind May 14, 2016
  2. ribman May 14, 2016

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