Man Utd transfer news: Sancho and Grealish in incredible XI if club follow Neville’s advice:
With Liverpool and Manchester City emerging as the dominant forces in England over the course of the last two seasons, United’s third-place finish essentially makes them the best of the rest.
It made for a pretty solid campaign from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and the fact they didn’t lose a single league game after Bruno Fernandes’ arrival will give them great hope going into 2020/21.
Do Man Utd need to spend big?
But although the current squad is surely good enough to qualify for the Champions League again, everyone seems in agreement that more transfer spending will be needed for a title challenge.
United legend Gary Neville is certainly one such person and he believes that no less than five areas need to be improved this summer for them to rip apart Liverpool and City’s domestic duopoly.
“He needs to spend, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and that’s not recklessly, he needs to spend in the right way,” Neville mused on his Sky Sports podcast.
Neville demands Man Utd transfers
“There needs to be a right winger, there needs to be a challenge for centre-forward, there needs to be a left-back. There needs to be a challenge for goalkeeper and they need a centre-back.
“They need a top centre-back who can who can bring that level of dominance to the defence like Van Dijk does for Liverpool like Kompany did for Man City.”
If that’s not a clear roadmap for success, we don’t know what is, which got us thinking: what would United’s line-up actually look like if they followed Neville’s advice this summer?
Man Utd’s potential 2020/21 XI
Well, we’ve decided to hone in on the five areas that Neville has identified, imagining how United could realistically satisfy those changes and constructed a formidable starting XI.
GK – Dean Henderson
Controversy straight off the bat, I know. Neville wants competition for the number one jersey at Old Trafford and what’s the point in investing in the transfer market when they have Henderson for free?
I think United should start next season with Henderson between the sticks and they could always reintroduce a newly-motivated and fired up David de Gea if he doesn’t hit the ground running.
But everything points towards United at least trying this out with Henderson arguably being the Premier League’s best goalkeeper this year, while De Gea has dropped countless clangers.
RB – Aaron Wan-Bissaka
No changes here and why should there be? Wan-Bissaka has enjoyed a fantastic debut season for the Red Devils and he’s only a few offensive improvements away from being one of the world’s best.
CB – Kalidou Koulibaly
Ah yes, the man who’s linked to every Premier League club in every single transfer window, but the Mirror are freshly reporting that his name features on Untied’s four-man hit-list this summer.
However, with Napoli allegedly ‘only’ demanding a transfer fee of £70 million, then it could be worth United dipping into the wallet as the Senegal international enters his prime at 29 years old.
CB – Harry Maguire
And for all of Maguire’s struggles in recent weeks, I don’t think there’s any denying that the England man lining up against Koulibaly next season would be a formidable challenge for Premier League forwards.
It would be stronger than any centre-back partnership that City can muster and although neither player can top Van Dijk, it might even make for a stronger duo than any of the options at Anfield.
LB – Lucas Digne
Here’s the area where I disagree with Neville the most because, well, Luke Shaw has been world-class for large parts of the season and Brandon Williams is coming on leaps and bounds in the first-team.
In a world where United had unlimited funds, I would have selected Ben Chilwell in this position, but the club simply wouldn’t have the currency if they paid out Napoli’s asking price for Koulibaly.
Consequently, I’ve picked Digne as a pretty realistic option, potentially for a cut transfer fee, from Everton despite the fact I’m not wholly convinced it would be worth the effort.
CM – Paul Pogba
The Frenchman went off the boil a little bit as the Premier League season came to a conclusion, but there’s no denying that he’s one of the best players in the world when he’s on song.
CM – Declan Rice/Jack Grealish
In an ideal world, I think Solskjaer would be adding Grealish into his midfield there, but reports are suggesting that Aston Villa could price them out of a deal with a massive £80 million asking price.
That might still be possible in a world where United don’t splash out on a world-class centre-back, though I’m inclined to think Rice is a more realistic buy after a stellar season at West Ham.
That being said, Nemanja Matic has really proven his mettle in recent months, so Rice would be a case of Solskjaer looking towards the long-term as opposed to procuring an instant starter.
CM – Bruno Fernandes
What’s there to say about Fernandes that hasn’t already been said? Seldom has a Premier League winter signing made such an indelible impact and he’ll no doubt be the first name on United’s team-sheet.
RW – Jadon Sancho
It’s the transfer target on everybody’s lips right now and there are simply too many reports for United’s interest in Sancho to be smoke and mirrors. They really do want him and you can see why.
Reports in Germany suggest that United have already had a bid rejected and it remains to be seen whether they’d pay over £100 million for the Borussia Dortmund star, but they might not have a choice.
And while, yes, signing Sancho would be a kick in the knackers for Mason Greenwood, a club like United just can’t turn down opportunities to sign one of the best up and coming players in the world.
ST – Anthony Marital/Moussa Dembele
Martial has been outrageously good since the restart, both in terms of goal-scoring and the sort of number nine for which Roberto Firmino is praised, so I don’t think he needs replacing per se.
But I think Neville is on to something by saying that United need more competition in this area, even if I’m inclined to predict that Solskjaer would deem Odion Ighalo as sufficient.
Long story short, he isn’t. Dembele, on the other hand, certainly is with the Lyon striker being constantly linked with a move to Old Trafford having scored 42 goals in 88 games in France.
LW – Marcus Rashford
Rashford is our vote for United’s Player of the Season for 2019/20 and why on earth would you replace him when he’s starting to provide 20 goals from out wide on the left? Pure, pure class.
Full starting XI
GIVEMESPORT’s Kobe Tong says
I don’t agree with everything Neville has suggested for United, but I’ve got to admit that this starting XI, which isn’t totally unrealistic, would challenge for the Premier League title next season.
I’m not saying they’d win it – I’m convinced City will if they bolster their defence – but there’s good reason to think this lot would be capable of exceeding 80 points at the very, very least.
The key change for me is the second centre-back position and putting Koulibaly alongside Maguire would really shore up United in the games against lower-leagues that have cost them this season.
Plus, there’s no denying that De Gea is still one of the best goalkeepers in the world, it’s just that that extra level of competition from Henderson could be what he needs to rediscover that.
And as for Sancho, it would really provide United with the sort of depth in attack that their Manchester rivals boast and would mitigate the potential impact of injuries to star players.
All that said, though, we are talking about massive ifs and it remains to be seen how much firepower United will posses in a post-COVID transfer window.
But if it means challenging for their first title since Sir Alex Ferguson hung up his hairdryer, then there will be plenty of United fans that would deem the price as worth paying.