Manchester United's potential starting XI under Carlo Ancelotti

Just 24 hours after director of football John Murtough pledged to undertake a ‘thorough process’ to recruit a new manager [Sky Sports], links to Carlo Ancelotti emerged.

Ancelotti is reportedly being explored as a back-up option. On one hand this make a tiny bit of sense, and answers our long-standing question of where United might turn to if neither Erik Ten Hag or Mauricio Pochettino accept the job.

Photo credit should read GERARD JULIEN/AFP via Getty Images

There has to be some kind of a plan in place, even if it is not a particularly good one. United can’t waste months this summer looking for a new manager, after having the entire season to sort it, so contingency plans need to be prepared.

But in such a scenario, it might make more sense to simply stick with interim boss Ralf Rangnick, rather than move ahead with another short-term appointment.

Ancelotti is a decorated manager who has won titles in England, Italy, Spain and France. Ignore his Everton spell, an aberration in a strong managerial career.

How Ancelotti’s United may look

Ancelotti has worked with a couple of Manchester United players before, managing Cristiano Ronaldo and Raphael Varane at Real Madrid. He even reluctantly sanctioned Varane’s sale last summer.

The Italian has worked with big names over the years and regards Ronaldo as the very best. He told ESPN: “Without wanting to show a lack of respect to anyone … yes. Cristiano is the best I have worked with.”

During his time in charge of AC Milan and Chelsea, Ancelotti utilised a 4-4-2 diamond formation to great effect. This is the one we have gone with for our projected XI, and thrown in five new signings he might like to make.

Remaining in the team along with Ronaldo and Varane, is David de Gea, Alex Telles, and Fred.

Explaining the ‘new signings’

This is total guesswork of course. And you knew that heading in. How could we possibly know exactly how Carlo Ancelotti will line-up his side next season? He probably wouldn’t even know himself right now, if offered the job.

Nonetheless this is an interesting look and the names are not plucked from thin air. All of these players have connections to Ancelotti.

  • A free transfer in defence, Antonio Rudiger was described by The Mail as Carlo Ancelotti’s ‘number one priority’ heading into this summer. United have also been linked by the MEN.
  • A fresh face at right-back. Ancelotti could raid former club PSG for right-back Colin Dagba, 23. Le10sport reported the Italian wanted Dagba while at Everton.
  • Another free transfer, Boubacar Kamara has been of interest to Ancelotti at Real Madrid. Spanish outlet Defensa Central report the manager has been monitoring the defensive midfielder.
  • Ancelotti managed midfielder Fabian Ruiz at Napoli. The Spaniard has one year left on his contract and Football Italia has reported the manager’s interest in signing him for Real Madrid.
  • All of these signings would come fairly inexpensive. This leaves money to spend big on striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who Ancelotti worked with at Everton, and knows the Premier League. It feels like a very ‘United’ transfer to make.
Photo by JON SUPER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

United probably won’t end up with Ancelotti, but do you really, really have faith in the club finally getting it right this summer?

There is a lot of pressure on new CEO Richard Arnold, who has had months now to prepare and hire the best long term manager for the job. Plumping for Ancelotti in a short-term role would be a quite remarkable failure – but one we have become accustomed to under the Glazer ownership over the years.

Hopefully it will not come to any of this. The Mail report Erik Ten Hag is keen on the United job, and Ancelotti won’t be needed after all. The Dutchman’s preferred XI could be a lot more exciting.

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