Erik ten Hag, the Manchester United manager, is poised to shape a formidable team capable of securing Champions League qualification following potential moves in the upcoming January transfer window.
While the Red Devils may not be overly active, a few strategic additions, including a swap deal featuring Jadon Sancho returning to Borussia Dortmund, are on the horizon.
Currently placed seventh in the Premier League, six points adrift of the fourth spot held by Manchester City, United’s primary objective is securing a Champions League berth for the next season.
Despite the hope for an additional spot in the Premier League’s top five, United’s bottom finish in the group stage complicates matters.
John Murtough, United’s decision-maker, has affirmed a cautious approach to spending in January unless funds are generated through player sales.
Here’s a glimpse of how United could line up once players return to full fitness and the January window concludes:
Goalkeeper – Onana:
Andre Onana is expected to retain the No. 1 position, with ten Hag expressing confidence in the £47 million signing, even in the event of his potential participation in the Africa Cup of Nations.
Defence – Boey, Varane, Martinez, Shaw:
Sacha Boey from Galatasaray emerges as a potential new right-back, providing competition for the unsettled positions of Diogo Dalot and Aaron Wan-Bissaka. Lisandro Martinez’s return from injury could fortify the defense alongside Raphael Varane, while Luke Shaw remains the preferred choice at left-back.
Midfield – Casemiro, Mainoo, Fernandes:
The inclusion of Casemiro remains a priority for ten Hag, with the Brazilian expected to play a crucial role in the push for a top-four or top-five finish.
Young talent Kobbie Mainoo continues to impress, showcasing maturity beyond his years. Skipper Bruno Fernandes, despite facing criticism, is anticipated to lead the midfield as the No. 10.
Attack – Malen, Hojlund, Rashford:
Donyell Malen, linked with a potential swap involving Jadon Sancho, brings versatility and a goal-scoring threat.
If Marcus Rashford returns to his previous season’s form, the attacking trio, along with promising talent Rasmus Hojlund, could propel United to a stronger position.
United’s Potential Lineup after January: Onana; Boey, Varane, Martinez, Shaw; Casemiro, Mainoo; Rashford, Fernandes, Malen; Hojlund