Gasperini finally set to get Old Trafford chance 10 years on

Manchester United have been drawn against Atalanta in the Champions League group stages, along with Villarreal and Young Boys.

Atalanta are one of the most dangerous teams United could have drawn from the third pot.

They reached the Champions League quarter-finals in 2019, and finished third in Serie A last season, above Juventus on goal difference.

Last season they beat Liverpool in the group stage, springing a surprise to win 2-0 at Anfield.

Photo by Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

Manchester United will have to be wary, with Atalanta’s attacking style and 3-4-3 formation presenting an unconventional approach for opponents.

The side have been weakened a little in the summer, with goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini, formerly in United’s academy, joining Tottenham along with centre-back Cristian Romero. They have recently signed full-back Davide Zappacosta from Chelsea.

Gasperini once touted as Manchester United boss

Atalanta’s success is down to manager Gian Piero Gasperini, who has been manager of the club since 2016, taking them from relegation battlers into a Champions League side.

10 years ago he was touted as a future Manchester United coach, reported, after his impressive work with Genoa.

His ‘revolutionary’ brand of attacking football was cited as reason he could become an outside choice to eventually replace Sir Alex Ferguson.

United were not so bold, as we know, opting for David Moyes two years later.

But snubbing Gasperini in 2013 was understandable, after he flopped in his big chance as Inter Milan boss in 2011.

Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images

His most notable achievement was to keep Wesley Sneijder and deny the Dutchman his move to Manchester United.

Gasperini rebuilt his managerial career at Palermo, and then a return to Genoa, before joining Atalanta in 2016.

Now he will finally get the chance to head to Old Trafford in the Champions League and pit his wits against the Red Devils.

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