Manchester United rarely misses in the headlines during transfer windows and this one has not been an exception. They have been linked with a whole lot of players. The deal with Jadon Sancho is almost across the line while the club is in direct contact with Real Madrid over the transfer of Raphael Varane, this according to sports journalist Fabrizio Romano. There are also talks of Man Utd going for two more players, understandably, it may be a back up right back and a defensive midfielder. But if all this signings go through, how will Man Utd line up and which tactics would they use?
Manchester United reached an agreement with Borussia for the transfer of the English winger. The ex-Man City man has had a stellar career with the Borussians and that’s what attracted Manchester United. Sancho is a versatile winger who is comfortable both on the right and on the left. Even though in 20/21 he played more minutes on the left than on the right, Jadon Sancho is expected to take up the right wing position at Old Trafford.
Jadon Sancho is a specialist in 1v1’s which means he can easily isolate and beat a fullback. He is also tactically astute and is good at both stretching the pitch and staying wide as well as cutting inside from either flanks. Sancho’s dribbling ability makes him a magnet for opposition defenders which gives more space to the players around him especially the fullback. With him in the team, Aaron wan Bissaka will have to step up his attacking attributes
With Sancho and Rashford in the same team, you have two pacy wingers with great dribbling ability on either flanks, this could give Paul Pogba even more passing options with his long balls always having a man at the end of them. Sacho has averaged 2.4 chances created per 90 from the right wing while in 2020/21 alone, he averaged 3.0 chances created per 90. At United, this could make him the most effective creator from the position thereby lifting more pressure on Bruno Fernandes, the club’s chief creator and also giving United another attacking channel other than the left hand side that they are used to. Sancho’s attacking intelligence could mean he forms a great patnership with the front four becoming part of a fluid attack with them interchanging positions at will amd giving defenders a hard time.
According to sports journalist Fabrizio Romano, Man Utd are in direct talks with Real Madrid over the signing of french centreback Raphael Varane. It is believed the player is willing to accept United’s contract offer if the club is able to strike a deal with the Los Blancos. So how would Varane improve United’s defense?
Varane is a good tackler and his pace also allows him to play as a recovering defender which means he can play deeper once his centreback partner pushes forward as well as a front foot defender to cut out dangerous passes from the midfield before they reach their target. This attributes would really compliment Harry Maguire who is a slower centreback but who also likes to push forward more often. Raphael Varane is an elite centre back meaning his positioning and defensive awareness is on another level. In 2020/21, he was only dribbled past 0.3 times per 90 on average while his 0.7 tackles per 90 had a 70% success rate. The frenchman is also arially dominant winning 2.4 arial duels per 90 in 2021. This would make Varane a total upgrade on Victor Lindelof. Varane’s ball playing abilities are often overlooked. His long passing is excellent and with United having willing runners up front, Varane could be very effective in switching defense to attack really quick.
There has been talk of Man Utd looking at Kieran Trippier as a back up to Aaron wan Bissaka. Its thought that Trippier would offer a different skillset to Bissaka as well as push Bissaka to improve just like Telles did with Luke Shaw. If at all the deal goes through, what would Trippier bring on the table?
Trippier is a natural attacking fullback. His crossing ability is marvelous and he also has a great passing range. His attacking intelligence makes him a deadly weapon. Kieran Trippier is great at whipping in those first time crosses that are inch perfect and with Cavani upfront, this crosses could be put to great use. Trippier is good on both underlaps and overlaps and he is a definite upgrade on aaron Wan Bissaka. Trippier averaged 0.18 assists per 90 in 2020/21
Defensively, AWB is better than Trippier in 1v1’s but Trippier’s defensive positioning is way better. Trippier can be a good backup to Wan Bissaka. Against big teams and fast paced, proactive wingers, Bissaka is the best option with his defesive ability. But against smaller clubs where Man Utd have more possession and less defensive action Trippier can be a better option considering his attacking abilities. If United switch to a back three, Trippier can be a better wing back to Bissaka.Trippier’s experience also definitely will improve Aaron wan Bissaka, the same effect that Alex Telles had on Luke Shaw.
Manchester United have shown interest in improving their Central Midfield positions and Declan Rice is a player they have shown much interest in. There is rumour that Man Utd could use Jesse Lingard in the negotiations for the 22 year old Englishman. But what could Rice bring to United.
Declan’s positioning and ball control as well as passing are his strengths. He is among the best young defensive midfielders. He’s a modern day holding midfielder with a great passing range as well as great tackling ability coupled with pace and strength. Rice averaged 2.3 accurate long balls per game making him a great attacking outlet from deep. Declan Rice is defensively astute, in 2020/21 he averaged 1.8 succesful interceptions per 90, 1.8 successful tackles per 90, 1.1 succesful clearances per 90 and 0 errors leading to shots/goal. He also won 57% of his ground duels and 59% of his arial duels
This defensive attributes could make it easy for United to play both Pogba and Bruno without any fear of turnovers and counter attacks. His fantastic long range passing could also be a great weapon against teams that defend with a high and mid block.
How will they set up
With all this signings, Man Utd could set up in either Solkjaer’s preferred 4-2-3-1 or in a 4-3-3
Manchester United’s 4-2-3-1
In the 4-2-3-1, Pogba can be used in the double pivot alongside Declan Rice (as he is used in France alongside Kante). This could make him a threat from deep as well as utilizing his long shots from the edge of the box and his late runs in to the box, all this without jeopardizing Bruno Fernandes. Pogba is also a good ball progressor and playing him alongside rice could mean a very smooth transition in to the final third.
Varane at centreback would give Maguire more freedom to push forward utilizing his dribbling ability as well as his passes in to the final third without risk of turnovers. Rice, Pogba and Varane’s long passes would offer attacking threat from deep and with united having pacy forwards, they could even be a bigger threat on counters and switches of play. Shaw and Trippier’s crossing and chance creation could increase United’s attacks from the flanks and with Sancho on the right, United could reduce their over reliance on the left hand side.
Using the 4-3-3
In the 4-3-3, Pogba and Bruno could be used as free 8’s occupying the half spaces between cebtrebacks and fullbacks, with Rice hehind them, the duo could be confident going forward as well as having two attacking minded midfielders thus creating more chances. Rashford and sancho could be used as inside forwards as well as wingers and thus creating problems as well. With Varane and Rice in the side, they could b defensively strong while Trippier would offer another attacking option if need be.
All in all, let’s wait and see if any of the transfers go through.
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