Manchester United are entering a new era under Jose Mourinho. The former Chelsea boss has already brought in Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Eric Bailly, and is very close to signing Paul Pogba, for a world record fee. Much is expected from the Special One at his new club and it will be interesting to see how things pan out.
Here is the strongest possible line-up Mourinho could employ.
David de Gea: It’s amazing to think that a year back, David de Gea was inches close to joining Mourinho’s former team Real Madrid. Now, he finds himself under the reigns of the Portuguese at United itself. The Spaniard has been an incredible player for the club for two seasons now and is expected to continue his form and propel his side to trophies.
Matteo Darmian: The Italian has shown quality in a number of displays but his fitness remains a major concern. Mourinho might go with Valencia in the right-back spot but Darmian would definitely be the stronger option for the position. Perhaps Daley Blind might find himself being used in the full-back spot as well. This spot, however, remains a weak link for the United boss and might be addressed before the window ends.
Erik Bailley: It is believed that José Mourinho is genuinely interested in a starting partnership of Phil Jones and Chris Smalling at the back but the signing of Erik Bailley for a big sum indicates the youngster will get enough chances to impress. Considering Jones’ recent form, Blind’s likely departure, the former Villarreal youngster seems the ideal choice at the back. Bailey did very well for the La Liga side last season and arguably deserves trust from his boss.
Chris Smalling: Smalling is United’s leader at the back and considering the defence will comprise a youngster, an injury prone defender and another youngster that returns from a long-term injury, Smalling, by default, has to ensure he holds the reigns at the back. Louis van Gaal’s reign at Manchester United may have ultimately been a source of frustration for a number of supporters, but one of the positives from his reign was the growth of Smalling.
Luke Shaw: The 21-year-old has been highly rated his when he broke out at Southampton. Considering Marcos Rojo is incredibly erratic and might not even be a United player at the end of the transfer window, and youngster Cameron Borthwick-Jackson injured, Shaw becomes the club’s first choice by default. The Englishman has done really well in preseason and things look to be very promising.
Morgan Schneiderlin: After beating Arsenal to the signature of a player who was consistently great for his previous club, it was assumed that Schneiderlin would be an important first team player for Manchester United. This wasn’t the case. The Frenchman missed out on the Euros as a result and would hope to make sure his new boss knows he has it in him to start every week.
Paul Pogba: The Paul Pogba transfer saga hasn’t ended but with José Mourinho all but confirming the player’s arrival recently, we can assume Pogba will join his new and former teammates in the coming days. His price tag would suggest he is the best midfielder in the world but he must prove all the hype with great performances on the pitch. There is no doubt that the Frenchman improves the Manchester United midfield greatly, and fans would hope the two Frenchman can do the job for them.
Wayne Rooney: Rooney’s form last season does indicate he wouldn’t make the starting eleven, and his performances from the midfield haven’t always been the greatest. However, the United captain has broken Sir Bobby Charlton’s England goalscoring record and is four goals away from breaking his record for United. On his day, Rooney can be absolutely devastating and under Mourinho, he might once again return to his threatening best.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan: United signed the player for £26million from Borussia Dortmund after the Armenian international took the league by storm last season. Mkhitaryan arrives in the Premier League having built a reputation as one of the best attacking midfielders in the Bundesliga. He is exactly the sort of player you want in and around the box with his speed and trickery making him a great threat not only on the flanks, if that’s where Mourinho positions him, but equally behind the striker as he can arrive in the box exactly when required.
Anthony Martial: Martial took the league and his new club by storm last season as he proved to be admirable signing by the club. Calm and composed, the maturity he shows on the pitch is definitely beyond his years and his 14 goals and 5 assists illustrated the same. However, the 20-year-old had a forgettable Euro campaign where he hardly got any minutes and even at his club, he will now have some much-needed competition. His position in the squad looks locked down to the left wing and the competition for his spot will be provided by Memphis Depay.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic: The 34-year-old Swede has joined to lead the attack and score goals. Even at 34, he would still be considered one of the best strikers in world football. It will be interesting to see how well he does in what probably will be, his last club. With an incredible supporting cast behind him, he is expected to weave his magic in England.