How Man Utd could line-up as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer plots £68m swoop and formation change
Manchester United have agreed a £72.9m deal to sign Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is keen for more arrivals before the new season
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made it abundantly clear to Manchester United bosses that they faced being left behind if they didn't improve the starting XI this summer.
Speaking after their dramatic Europa League final defeat to Villarreal, he said: "I've been delighted with the effort, the desire, the determination of all of the players, I can't fault them at all. We've probably done as well as anyone could imagine.
“But as I said, two or three players to strengthen the starting XI and the squad all together is important for us to go even further.
“I'm sure our contenders or challengers will also want to improve and we want to improve as much as we can."
Solskjaer has probably been as frustrated as anyone with the transfer window getting off to a very quiet start thanks to Euro 2020.
But with that tournament now in the rear view mirror, there are signs that we could start seeing some high-profile deals being completed.
Jadon Sancho's £72.9m transfer to United is arguably the marquee signing of any club in Europe, with his move set to be formally announced in the coming days.
And that could signal the start of a big few weeks for Solskjaer, amid reports that he could add Raphael Varane and Kieran Trippier to their ranks.
Following a fee being agreed for Sancho, Real Madrid ’s Varane quickly became priority No1 for Solskjaer and Manchester United.
The manager is well aware that United need an upgrade at centre-back and still aged 28, Varane has the potential to be a mainstay at Old Trafford for years to come.
According to a report in the Sun , the Red Devils are close to completing a move for both Varane and Kieran Trippier in the coming days, with announcements set for the end of next week.
Varane looks set to cost United £50m, while Trippier could complete the transfer he is “desperate” to seal for £18m.
Those arrivals will also allow Solskjaer to finally move away from playing two defensive midfielders - something that has garnered much criticism in the past.
Fred and McTominay both performed admirably in the role they were given, but there was a sense United were being hindered by finding a place for all of their attacking talents.
ESPN report that Solskjaer is considering switching to 4-3-3, with Varane’s extra pace negating the need to play both McTominay and Fred.
Trippier would compete directly with Aaron Wan-Bissaka for a starting berth, but there is a feeling that the England star’s extra ability going forward could see him given the nod.
In our line-up, we’ve predicted McTominay holds onto his place, offering United a blanket of security, albeit a smaller one.
That would also free up Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba to play further forward.
Going forward, with a full pre-season Edinson Cavani will hope to make an even bigger impact in what is likely his final season in European football.
Marcus Rashford will miss the start of the season after deciding to have surgery on his troublesome shoulder, but as soon as he returns, he will complete a potent front three.