The start date for the 2021/22 Premier League season has been set. BBC Sport report the campaign will kick off on August 14.
Looking ahead, it is tricky to forecast how United will line up. It’s five months away after all.
There are some players who are guaranteed starters. Six in total.
These are captain Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Scott McTominay, Bruno Fernandes, and Marcus Rashford.
Who fills the other positions?
Goalkeeper is the easiest one to address at this stage. It will be either Dean Henderson or David de Gea.
At the moment it seems most likely Henderson will get his chance, and De Gea will be moved on in the summer, if United can find a taker. With his wages, that won’t be easy.
A lot will depend on how this season finishes too. Henderson has a high value, and it’s not impossible United cash in on him either, possibly in a part-exchange deal with Dortmund. A long shot, but the short is, his spot is not guaranteed for 2021/22 at this early stage.
Three (or four) signings required
United’s summer business centres around Paul Pogba. Will he sign a new contract? It has gone this far without him doing so, and while United should not give up, it is not looking good right now.
So a new signing will be required in midfield. Scott McTominay has done enough this season to solidify his role. If Pogba re-signs, then that may change.
United won’t sign two new midfield starters considering all the other needs, but one is required. United need to replace Nemanja Matic as a matter of urgency.
The centre-back position is also due for a re-think. Victor Lindelof’s recent improved form could prompt United to sign a younger defender like Ben White, who might not be an automatic starter at first.
A more aggressive move would be to target a big name like Raphael Varane, who would come in to partner Maguire immediately.
Right-wing is an ongoing dilemma. Amad Diallo, Mason Greenwood, and Dan James can all play there. In Amad and Greenwood’s case, they still need more time to develop.
Jadon Sancho is the dream option, and a possibly viable one. If not, United might look at Wolves’ Pedro Neto as an alternative, or Bayer Leverkusen’s Leon Bailey.
The biggest mystery is probably up front. ESPN report Dortmund want more than £150 million to sell Erling Haaland this summer.
United’s plans for a striker beyond Haaland are unclear. But Anthony Martial has shown this season he is not the answer, with just four Premier League goals all season. Edinson Cavani is a decent but injury prone stop gap, who is yet to commit to a new deal.
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