How will Manchester United's XI look next season? At least four players expected to leave
Jose Mourinho will be looking to bolster his side this summer in order to mount a title charge with rivals Manchester United halfway across the line for this season’s Premier League.
Let’s not go overboard and suggest that there will be a squad overhaul at Old Trafford, but Mourinho will definitely be looking to improve a few departments in his line-up.
Back in January, United signed Alexis Sanchez after Mourinho said luring such a player midway through the season will lessen the club’s workload for the summer. That, without question, was music to Ed Woodward’s ears but the Chilean attacker hasn’t hit the ground running since leaving Arsenal for United.
It appears as though Mourinho is unsure what system works best for his attacking players as he continuously shoehorns players into the team, in roles some of them look uncomfortable in.
Is Sanchez better on the left or right? How can Mourinho let Anthony Martial out of the team or justify sacrificing Marcus Rashford’s development? Why is centre forward Romelu Lukaku United’s best crosser of the ball?
As Mourinho enters his third summer transfer market in charge, we take a look at a possible United line-up for next season.
Among those tipped to go are Matteo Darmain, who has failed to bring consistency to game since leaving Torino for the Premier League and Marouane Fellaini, who is yet to sign a new deal. It wouldn’t come as a surprise if Daley Blind and Chris Smalling were pushed through the door, too.
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But if a host of players do leave — what could United’s starting line-up look like next season?
Jose Mourinho has identified the Borussia Dortmund as a target this summer in a bid to bolster his defence. It’s been a misfortunate campaign for Eric Bailly with injuries, and he’s the only centre back at the club guaranteed a place when fit. It is time for Chris Smalling to move on.
It’s inexcusable for a club of United’s size to be playing wingers in both full-back positions.
Mourinho publicly praised Luke Shaw three times this season before leaving the England international out of the team the following week, so it’s evident he doesn’t fancy Shaw in the slightest. His body language on the touchline whenever the former Southampton left-back plays is also telling.
United like Sandro but are likely to face stiff competition for his signature. In summers gone by, Woodward had signed marque players of attacking nature. He now needs to spend big on the defence.
The Napoli midfielder was approached prior to the January transfer market but decided to stay for the remainder of the season. In fairness, they’ve a good chance of tipping Juventus to the Serie A title, justifying his decision to not jump ship midway through the season.
Mourinho wants a Michael Carrick type player to help boost transitions from midfield to attack — something Paul Pogba has been asked to do but hasn’t got the key attributes to pull off. This should see Pogba given more room in forward positions to express himself.
Jorginho’s agent Joao Santos has backed his client to shine in England – though he insists the Italian is still very happy in Naples.
“I follow the Premier League,” Santos told SunSport. “I’m sure Jorginho has the characteristics to play there.
“He runs more than 13km every game and he has a great technique. I don’t have a figure in my mind, the price is set by the president.”
“It’s normal for top European clubs to keep players of this type on their radars.
“We’re waiting for May. We hope Napoli can win the league. Then if Napoli wants to renew the contract, we can talk about it.
“The same if they want to sell Jorginho. There are no official and concrete proposals for him from UK.
“I don’t know if [Napoli chairman, Aurelio] De Laurentiis will call me at the end of the season to extend his contract. I suppose that [he will].
“We are available to deal with [the club]. He has become Neapolitan and is in a family. He is a top level player.”