No Hojlund, Pogba 2.0 & new striker sign: The dream XI Berrada could build at Man Utd

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Manchester United is linked to a tonne of players every transfer window, and it has only been worse in January as Erik ten Hag’s club has struggled to match the lofty expectations of a Red Devils team.

Although the manager is still eager to make at least one addition to help his team bounce back from their dismal first half of the season, which has them sitting in seventh place in the Premier League, the focus for this window will be on departures rather than arrivals.

To be fair to the manager, he hasn’t been able to field his best team this season due to injuries. Nevertheless, behind the scenes, things are starting to look better with Omar Berrada, formerly of Manchester City, taking over as the club’s new CEO in place of Richard Arnold.

He has experience negotiating trades for players like Jack Grealish and Erling Haaland, so it’s safe to say he has some knowledge of the transfer window. So, when Berrada joins later in the season and has had some time to settle in, what might United’s ideal starting lineup look like?

Andre Onana, 1 GK

Andre Onana, United Kingdom
Andre Onana, United’s best custodian, will keep getting the start in goal.

Despite facing a lot of criticism, the former Ajax player has maintained the joint second-most clean sheets in the Premier League.

Diogo Dalot, 2 RB

Dalot, Garcia-Man, United, Bayern, Ten, Hag
Aaron Wan-Bissaka will be a formidable opponent for Diogo Dalot’s right-back position, but the Portuguese full-back should get the start ahead of the Englishman.

Ten Hag has favoured Dalot this year; he has started all but three Premier League games and leads the United team in average number of tackles per game (2.3).

Jean-Claire Todibo, 3 CB

Nice, Jean-Clair Todibo Premier League
The first new face to appear in the United starting lineup is Jean-Claire Todibo, a center-back who takes Raphael Varane’s place in the team, another French star.

The Red Devils are the front-runners to sign the Nice defender, according to reports from France earlier this month. However, given the transfer would likely happen in the summer because of the substantial £52 million price tag.

The 24-year-old is a rock at the centre of Nice’s defence, helping his team win eight clean sheets this year. For this reason, scout Jacek Kulig called him a “French wall.” Todibo, who is in the top 8% of Ligue 1 players in terms of passes completed, would help United both in possession and when operating out of the back.

Lisandro Martinez, 4 CB

Lisandro Martinez, United Kingdom
The Stretford End erupted in cheers after Lisandro Martinez made his injury comeback against Spurs the previous game.

Since his arrival in the summer of 2022, the Argentine has been the starting left center-back. The winner of the World Cup won’t be replaced in the defence.

Luke Shaw, 5 LB

Jadon Sancho, Manchester United, and Luke Shaw
Another player recovering from an injury is Luke Shaw, who should be ready to play away against Wolves on February 1.

He provides an incredible amount of progression from deep when in the lineup, and according to FBref, last season he was in the top 8% of positionally similar players in the Premier League for passes into the final third. When he is free, the 28-year-old strolls into the United squad.

6 DM – Mainoo Kobbie

Mainoo, Man, Ten-Hag, Utd
Ten Hag was won over by Kobbie Mainoo throughout the preseason. With Casemiro’s injuries and Sofyan Amrabat’s lacklustre performance, the 18-year-old has established himself as a surefire starter in the midfield.

The academy prospect, although young, demonstrates maturity both in and out of possession, and since he has few opponents, the manager should keep believing in the star player.

Youssouf Fofana, 7th DM

Fans of Youssouf taking action for France
Youssouf Fofana of Monaco is the second possible new acquisition that Man United may make. Ten Hag’s squad was reportedly keeping an eye on the French midfielder at the end of December, and it was possible that they would take action before the end of January.

Fofana, a midfielder who can play a variety of positions in the middle of the pitch, was previously likened to Paul Pogba on Football FanCast. However, he excels in a double pivot where he can play as a box-to-box player, just like Pogba.

The 25-year-old’s ability to influence the game in the final third is highlighted by his 1.8 shots per game and 1.3 critical passes each match. His quickness and strength also allow him to cover ground efficiently.

Mainoo has recently been deployed alongside Christian Eriksen or Scott Mctominay, but Fofana would arrive to the team before the underwhelming pair.

Alejandro Garnacho (8 RW)

United States Alejandro Garnacho Man
Ten Hag has been forced to switch Alejandro Garnacho to an unfamiliar right-hand side role because Antony hasn’t scored or assisted this season. But ever since he started acting morally, he has prospered and given the United supporters what they had been lacking.

This season, the 19-year-old has contributed five goals, tied for second highest with the Red Devils. He also averages 2.3 shots per game and 1.4 successful dribbles. Right now, the Argentine is unquestionably locked into the right-wing position, but Amad Diallo may soon pose a threat.

Bruno Fernandes, 9 A.M.

Michael Olise’s opinion of Bruno Fernandes at Liverpool
Bruno Fernandes, the captain of United and a Portuguese Magnifico, is maybe the only player in the starting lineup that cannot be replaced. Last season, the 28-year-old started every Premier League match for which he was available, and he generated 32 of the league’s biggest opportunities.

Even though he hasn’t played to his full potential this season, the number eight still leads the team in assists, crucial passes, and shots.

Marcus Rashford (10 LW)

Manchester United’s Rasmus Hojlund Marcus Rasford Opinion
Although Marcus Rashford’s campaign has been difficult thus far, he has recently shown improvement, helping his team score four goals in a row.

There aren’t many stronger attackers in the Premier League, much alone United, than the number 10, who scored 17 goals in the competition last season. Rashford will once again settle on the left wing as Garnacho switches flanks.

11 ST – Brobbey, Brian

Ajax Premier League Everton Transfers: Brian Blake
The final player to make the starting eleven is Brian Brobbey. Football writer Florian Plettenberg claims that Erik ten Hag is eager to get back together with the 21-year-old, who has contributed four assists and 11 goals in 17 league appearances.

This suggests that, despite giving Rasmus Hojlund a lot of support, the manager is searching for a different kind of striker who is more versatile.

In United’s most recent match against Spurs, the Dane both scored and assisted. However, his lack of link-up play can occasionally hurt the team, as he only records 11.18 passes completed per game and 2.25 shot-creating actions, whereas Brobbey leads the Eredivisie with 14.53 and 3.79, respectively.

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