Man Utd: 2021/22 season preview
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Manchester United are reportedly pushing to make Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez their fourth signing of the summer transfer window. The 26-year-old is said to have emerged as an option for the Red Devils, who have already welcomed Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and Tom Heaton to Old Trafford ahead of this month’s deadline.
Express Sport takes a look at the United side that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could deploy if Saul joins the club over the coming days.
Goalkeeper – De Gea
David de Gea has been linked with a move away from United for some time, but a departure before the end of the month seems to be highly unlikely.
The Spaniard has started both of his side’s Premier League matches so far this season and appears to have regained his status as Solskjaer’s first-choice goalkeeper ahead of Dean Henderson.
The latter was often called upon towards the end of last season and could still feature on a regular basis if the United boss decides to rotate him with De Gea between the sticks.
Meanwhile, Heaton will be expected to provide emergency cover along with Lee Grant in the absence of Nathan Bishop, who is currently out on loan at Mansfield Town.
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Defence – Wan-Bissaka, Maguire, Varane, Shaw
Raphael Varane will be hoping to play a starring role for United this season after completing his £41million move from Real Madrid earlier this month.
He will be partnered in central defence by Harry Maguire, who enjoyed a strong Euro 2020 with England after returning from an ankle ligament injury.
Meanwhile, United’s full-back pairing of Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw is also set to continue despite speculation that Kieran Trippier could soon be on his way to Old Trafford from Atletico Madrid.
The likelihood of a move for the latter appears to be dwindling with just one week until the summer transfer window slams shut.
Midfield – Fred, Saul, Fernandes
If Saul joins United ahead of this month’s deadline, he would likely be deployed alongside Fred in front of his side’s back four.
The Brazilian would be poised to occupy the deep-lying role behind Saul, who has often thrived as a box-to-box midfielder during his time with Atletico.
Meanwhile, Bruno Fernandes is almost certain to feature on a weekly basis in his favoured No 10 role ahead of the likes of Donny van de Beek and Jesse Lingard this season.
The Portuguese maestro struggled to exert his usual influence on proceedings at the Euros, but he is still United’s best player and will undoubtedly shoulder the majority of his side’s creative burden over the coming weeks and months.
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Attack – Sancho, Pogba, Greenwood
Jadon Sancho is yet to start a competitive match for United since joining the club from Borussia Dortmund earlier this summer.
However, the England winger looks to be primed for an influential role at Old Trafford once he finds his feet and gets off the mark with his first goal.
Pogba has already racked up five assists this season and will continue to occupy the opposite flank ahead of Marcus Rashford, who is still recovering from a shoulder injury after undergoing surgery.
The French playmaker and Sancho will likely be tasked with supplying Mason Greenwood at the top of the pitch, while Edinson Cavani could also be involved in a striking role after returning to full training last month.
Possible Man Utd XI: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Maguire, Varane, Shaw; Saul, Fred, Fernandes; Sancho, Pogba, Greenwood.
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