A season to forget for Manchester United
Manchester United’s 2018/19 season is likely one most United fans will be keen to forget.
While their closest rivals Manchester City and Liverpool were dominating in the Premier League and Champions League, Man United finished the season in 6th place.
As well as being confined to Europa League football for the upcoming season, the Red Devils also set an unwanted record.
Man United would concede 54 goals in 38 league outings this past season, their most ever in a Premier League year.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 21, 2019
After finishing five points off a Champions League spot, and 32 points behind league winners Man City, it is clear that United need to make some changes to their squad this summer.
Here is how Man United could line-up for their first Premier League game of the 2019/20 season vs Chelsea.
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Man United need to strengthen at the back
Starting at the back, this is perhaps the area where Man United need to improve the most.
As mentioned above, United would concede their most ever goals in a single PL season in the 2018/19 campaign.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side also had the worst defensive record of the top nine clubs.
Their defensive woes are something that United are reportedly looking to address this summer.
According to the Manchester Evening News, United want a full-back, centre-back, midfielder and a forward in this window.
So, despite David de Gea’s poor form, he could well be United’s no.1 again next year.
The Spaniard is, though, nevertheless being linked with a move to PSG. But after the season he has just had, would the Ligue 1 giants really want to splash the cash on de Gea?
Wan-Bissaka & Maguire to Old Trafford?
Man United appear to have already taken a huge step forward in their search for a full-back. It has been reported that they have bid around £40 million for Crystal Palace’s Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
Given the fact that United are in desperate need of a new right-back, they will likely push on in their pursuit of AWB. The Mirror claim that United are ready to bid £50 million for Wan-Bissaka’s services.
Reliable journalist Duncan Castles has since reported that United have agreed a £55m fee for AWB.
Manchester United agree to pay Crystal Palace £55m for Aaron Wan-Bissaka. A world-record transfer fee for a specialist full back. #MUFC #CPFChttps://t.co/230Vma17SJhttps://t.co/cHPRLGerUV pic.twitter.com/CI3lY8OLjd
— Duncan Castles (@DuncanCastles) June 19, 2019
Since this article was originally written Manchester United have officially announced the signing of Wan-Bissaka from Palace.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) June 29, 2019
Turning to Manchester United’s centre-backs, this is a spot where United are likely going to have to spend big.
None of Man United’s current crop of central defenders have been overly impressive recently. Victor Lindelof was probably the best of a bad bunch this past season.
As United are unlikely to be able to afford two big centre-back signings this summer, it will possibly be Lindelof partnering whoever United sign.
With de Ligt likely out of United’s reach, you could well be looking at a partnership of Maguire and Lindelof.
The Evening Standard have also reported on Sunday the 23rd of June that United are confident of beating Man City to the signing of Maguire.
Man Utd confident of beating Man City to Maguire signing as Leicester demand £90m
— Standard Sport (@standardsport) June 23, 2019
Shaw to remain United’s main left-back?
The final spot in Manchester United’s back-four will probably still be occupied by Luke Shaw.
Shaw is by no means perfect, but with United seemingly prioritising other areas of the pitch this window, the 23-year-old is likely to continue at left-back for the upcoming season.
McTominay over Matic?
Moving on to Man United’s midfield, they typically start one of either Nemanja Matic or Scott McTominay as their defensive-minded midfielder.
Matic has generally been United’s first-choice in this role for the past few seasons. However, the Serbian didn’t have a great 2018/19.
McTominay, on the other hand, was one of the few United players to consistently put on stellar displays when played last season.
As a result, we could well see the youngster take a more prominent role at the heart of United’s midfield.
Sticking with United’s midfield, if the club really want to be challenging for Champions League football in 2019/20, they need to keep hold of Paul Pogba.
While the Frenchman can be inconsistent, he proved at the beginning of Solskjaer’s stint at Old Trafford that he can be a top Premier League midfielder.
The Red Devils have also been linked with a move for Bruno Fernandes. But if they keep hold of Pogba, United would likely struggle to play them both. Fernandes is an attacking mid, and Pogba plays much better when he does not have to focus on defending.
This would leave one midfield spot free, should OGS opt to play 4-3-3.
Given that you would probably want Pogba to have as much attacking freedom as possible, United’s third midfielder will likely need to be a ‘box-to-box’ type.
Ander Herrera would have been a solid choice for this role, but he has recently parted ways with United.
One potential replacement who Man United have been linked with is AS Monaco midfielder, Youri Tielemans.
The Belgian had an impressive second half to the season on loan at Leicester City, scoring three and assisting five in 13 games.
No room for Daniel James
There is then the matter of Man United’s attack.
Anthony Martial spent much of last season as United’s main left winger, and given that Ed Woodward is said to be keen to keep hold of the Frenchman, he is likely to retain that spot for the forthcoming campaign.
Through the middle, Marcus Rashford has been United’s main centre-forward since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took the wheel.
While Romelu Lukaku did enjoy a fair bit of game time towards the back end of the season, Rashford does seem to fit Ole’s counter-attacking style of play more than Lukaku.
Lukaku has also been linked with a move to Inter Milan.
Finally, even though Man United have signed Swansea winger Daniel James, it is unlikely that the Welshman will be a regular starter for 2019/20.
We’re delighted to have agreed terms, in principle, with Swansea City for the transfer of Daniel James to #MUFC.
Further details will be revealed in due course.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) June 7, 2019
James did have a decent 2018/19 season with Swansea in the Championship, scoring four and assisting nine.
However, he may be a bit too inexperienced to be starting week in, week out for a top six PL club.
Instead, Jesse Lingard is likely to continue as United’s main right-sided attacker.