The transfer window is underway and Manchester United are starting to make moves.
ESPN report United are ‘confident’ of a move for Jadon Sancho and there appears to be an appetite to get this deal done sooner rather than later.
Just as a predictive exercise, we are taking a look at what United’s squad could look like by the end of the transfer window.
There are various factors at play here to consider which makes this a tricky task…
- Who will be signed this summer?
- Which positions will get overlooked?
- Who will be sold?
- Who leaves the club on loan?
We are going to make some predictions now, some of which won’t make everybody happy.
These can be impossible to get right too. Who would have seen a transfer window of Edinson Cavani, Amad, Donny van de Beek, Facundo Pellistri and Alex Telles last summer. Perhaps one or two, but not all.
Let’s start with our second question before coming back to the first, ‘which positions will get overlooked?
United won’t get everything done, they never do
We expect there will be four signings made by United this summer. That means not all areas will be addressed.
Positions being strengthened will be winger, right-back, centre-back, and goalkeeper.
Yes, sadly this means the midfield position will continue to be overlooked despite it emerging as a priority this season.
There are no obvious plans underway to address it and United rarely solve all the club’s problems in one summer. In 2019 striker was left ignored, while winger has been overlooked for several seasons now.
There will not be another striker coming in either, with United’s focus coming in other areas.
So who comes in?
The Jadon Sancho deal will eventually get done. There will probably be a few twists and turns left, but it seems this really is United’s top priority.
United will then pursue Kieran Trippier to add competition at right-back.
At goalkeeper Tom Heaton will join. This deal is reportedly more or less done and will be signed off when he becomes a free agent on July 1, The Athletic report.
And now centre-back. This one is a bit more of a bold prediction. It won’t be Raphael Varane who will probably end up renewing his deal with Real Madrid. If United can get him, fantastic, but we expect it to end in tears.
Instead United will go full Brexit and sign a fourth British player, moving for England international Ben White.
This would fit into the way Solskjaer is building his team and White could overtake Victor Lindelof sooner rather than later.
Who will leave?
United are going to have to make some tough decisions and this will mean David de Gea and Eric Bailly leaving.
United have to choose between Dean Henderson and De Gea and the Spaniard is more likely to depart, on loan if need be. Bailly will push for an exit once a centre-back arrives.
Fringe players Andreas Pereira, Tahith Chong, Diogo Dalot, and yes, Phil Jones, will also say goodbye.
Jesse Lingard will leave too, while United will also make the decision to let Juan Mata depart as a free agent.
Outgoing on loan will be Facundo Pellistri, Ethan Laird, Ethan Galbraith, Dylan Levitt, Brandon Williams, and Teden Mengi. More could leave in January.
In midfield United will stick with the status quo while promoting James Garner. Nemanja Matic may get one more year – but if United do sign a new defensive midfielder then he will be sold.
United won’t be able to resolve the Paul Pogba situation and he will likely stay with his contract running down – even though this would be a bad decision. Nobody arrives in midfield, and nobody leaves either. A shake-up will take place in summer 2022.
Predicted 2021/22 squad: Henderson, Heaton, Grant; Shaw, Telles, Maguire, Lindelof, White, Tuanzebe, Wan-Bissaka, Trippier; McTominay, Fred, Van de Beek, Pogba, Garner, Matic, Fernandes, Hannibal; Rashford, Sancho, Greenwood, Cavani, Martial, Elanga, Amad, Shoretire, James.
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