With Mount done, Manchester United are seemingly pursuing a new number 9 and a new goalkeeper, with Hojlund and Onana the most spoken about options for those 2 positions. Which begs the question, how would ten Hag’s men line up next season with those 3 new additions?
He would look to fully shift to the 4123 or 433 which will convert to a 2323/3223 in build up in possession. Here is who would make up the numbers:
With the continued uncertainty surrounding David de Gea’s future at Man United, they are looking elsewhere to fill the role of number 1 next season. With Andre Onana the clear favourite, to take up the mantle having previously worked under ten Hag and he fits the system perfectly with his forward-thinking distribution abilities, allowing for the side to operate more progressively. One thing than Onana does he is so comfortable outside his box that in build up will often make it a back 3 and help build form the back, outnumbering the oppositions press.
There has been a lot of debate this season as to who should start out of Wan-Bissaka and Dalot. Dalot I feel will be favoured over AWB as he offers far more in possession. Everything we’ve seen of United this summer transfer window shows we are trying to improve the control we have in games. Wan – Bissaka is without a doubt one of the best 1v1 defenders out there and his progressive carrying numbers are right up there but overall, the defensive numbers are very similar between the 2. Dalot adds a lot more structure off the ball and looks far more capable in the inverted role helping to dictate play.
With Varane, on the ball there is a lot he can improve on when it comes to his passing range and progressive play but off the ball, he is still one of the best defenders in recovery and just adds a calmness to the backline, he will eventually need replacing especially with his injury record, but for now he certainly has a massive role to play.
What is there to say about Martinez, that hasn’t been said already… He is a truly elite progressive defender; he’s incredibly composed on the ball and a warrior off it. He’s an incredibly intelligent defender, we’ve missed him a lot. We just need to hope he hits the heights of last season again.
Luke Shaw had an incredible season last season, he showed how important he is to us, on the ball and off it. We saw how accomplished he is at left back and we also saw his versatility shine through as well when he filled in at left centre back. He had multiple stand out performances and we saw his brilliant ball retention show, this should shine through even further next season when we look to improve our control. With Eriksen likely to have reduced role next season, his set piece delivery will be key.
What a first season Casemiro had, when he came in, we all know how accomplished and elite he was off the ball but had no idea just how good he was on it, causing certain people to call him a “steady Eddie”. His ball winning has been so helpful especially high up, but his passing range and vision has been just as important. His physicality and ability on set pieces has shone through also, popping up with some very important goals.
I’m running out of superlatives for Bruno. He has really stepped up since getting the captain’s armband. At times he can be found guilty of playing “hero ball” but continues to be one of the most creative players in Europe, all without a recognised striker to play off. Next season with a consistent midfield partner that will help further off the ball we could see him reach yet another level.
He will be coming in with the weight of the world on his shoulders after coming in for a fairly sizeable fee and being given the famous “7” shirt. He has proven in the past that he has the mentality to cope with the pressure. He is coming into the side after a fairly ordinary season for his standards at Chelsea, but the faith that ten Hag is showing in him speaks volumes for his potential in this United side. Not only will he be a big asset himself in what he can bring but also what he allows to happen in the system and player roles. A big money signing, but an astute one at that.
After coming in for a very big fee last summer Antony had a lot of pressure on him. He has certainly divided the fanbase but he never buckled under the pressure, his passion and fire was an ever-present last season, never once did he back out of a challenge or not give 100%. At times his decision making was questionable and was too predictable at times but scored some massive goals and is integral to the shape that ten Hag want to see his side play. His off the ball work is admirable as well, next season could be massive for him if he is able to play off of a consistent right back and has a proper striker to play off of.
Hojlund would bring a lot to this United side. He is a natural 90 that has an eye for goal. His movement is incredible, constantly finding spaces in the channels and half spaces. He’s still young with plenty to learn but has the potential to be massive for United. His physicality really suits the Premier League and his ability in the channels will allow for Antony and Rashford to cut inside and have Hojlund abuse the space wherever it may be.
Rashford had a phenomenal season last time out, breaking personal records and picking up plenty of records and awards along the way. He can an option in the 9 at times but I feel that we will see him back in his natural wing position where he can continue to expose the league’s full backs. He is in line for a big bumper contract so we will hopefully see Marcus light up the Theatre for many years to come.