Is this Manchester United's best XI following transfer deadline day?
The transfer window has slammed shut, and Jose Mourinho’s men are looking much stronger after the self-proclaimed Special One has heavily invested in the squad. The Red Devils must be regarded as a title contender this coming year, particularly with one of the best managers in the world at the helm.
Mourinho’s ability to lure players to join him is absolutely outstanding. Let’s not forget that this Manchester United side don’t have Champions League football on the cards, but that hasn’t stopped the club bringing in Paul Pogba for a world record fee, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Eric Bailly. All of the aforementioned foursome have left clubs with top tier continental football on offer to make the move to the Theatre of Dreams.
We’ve taken a look at their starting line-up as a whole, and assessed every position to work out their best eleven. This will be the side that Jose Mourinho will likely stick with for the remainder of the campaign, unless he intends to invest in the January transfer window.
In goal, we’ve got none other than David de Gea. Just twelve months ago, everyone expected the 25-year-old to make the switch to Real Madrid, but thanks to a dodgy fax machine, Manchester United managed to keep hold of him.
The Spaniard is without doubt, one of the best goalkeepers on the planet, and his shot-stopping ability is nothing short of sensational. You feel that he will have Jose’s trust already, and unless he picks up an injury, De Gea will start every week.
The back four is an interesting one. On paper, United look extremely thin in this area of the field, but at this point in time after the first three games, you cannot fault the job done by all of them. Let’s begin with the centre-backs, and here is the first of United’s new signings in Eric Bailly. The Ivorian has left a real mark on reds all over the globe already – he’s a really tough tackler who loves getting stuck in and has been brilliant so far.
Next to him, in contrast, is Daley Blind. The Dutchman takes the calm and assured approach to defending, and it works brilliantly. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better centre-half in terms of getting their positioning spot on. This more than makes up for his lack of pace.
Luke Shaw looks a shoe-in for that left-back slot when fit, and you have to give him huge credit. That injury would not have been easy to come back from, but he looks like the same brilliant player that took to the field before that leg-break. Antonio Valencia has been one of the surprises during the first four games. He has buccaneered up and down that right flank for every single minute of action so far, and he really looks a threat with his crossing ability too.
Jose Mourinho loves a dynamic midfield two in front of his back line. Obviously, Paul Pogba will start and play that box-to-box role, and the Frenchman will almost single-handedly transform that area of the field for United. He brings the ability to take-on his marker, as well as having an excellent eye for a pass and a rasping shot that’ll no doubt struggle the Premier League goalkeepers as the season progresses.
Next to him we have the much-maligned Marouane Fellaini, but you have to say the big Belgian has been in pretty strong form to start off the season. He will act as the true holding midfielder in the side, whilst also offering an aerial threat during the set-pieces on both sides of the ball.
This is where things get really interesting. Anthony Martial had a stunning debut season at United, and that left-wing spot is definitely his at the moment. The Frenchman possesses huge amounts of pace, and he can go at his man both down the wing and cutting in. We all know just how much of a goal threat he can be, too.
On the right-hand side, Henrikh Mkhitaryan is the best option. We’ve only seen glimpses of his capabilities so far, but he looks tailor-made for the physicality of the English game.
In the #10 role, I’ve plumped for Juan Mata over Wayne Rooney. The Spaniard has that extra creativity and class that comes to the fore perfectly in this role. It has been a bright start to the season for the 28-year-old, particularly when it looked for all the world that he’d be sold.
The final piece of the jigsaw is of course, Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The influential Swede has scored four goals in his four competitive games for his new side, and has started brilliantly. You feel that the more time he spends on the pitch, he’ll only get even better as he gets used to his new teammates’ style of play.
Have a look at the starting eleven in full here:
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