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Long Read | How Manchester United Can Completely Overhaul Their Highly Ageing Squad Without Spending Millions

United, Solskjaer, Steven Bergwijn

The appointment of Solskjaer has led to a renaissance of the mood at the club, and the careers of some players as well.

Pogba, Rashford, Martial, Lindelof, Jones, are a few of the young names who’ve benefitted vastly. Mata, Herrera, Matic are enjoying a resurrection of their ability which has been unlocked by removing or lifting the shackles.

Even though their careers may have found a new peak to reach, it doesn’t change the fact that they’re all getting old with their contribution set to decline every passing year.

Sergio Romero, Ashley Young, Antonio Valencia, Nemanja Matic, Lee Grant are a few names in the list who’s replacements needs to be lined up pretty quickly with all of them over 30.

The club needs an overhaul of players, i.e. they need to tie down the cruical players and move on the dead weight and bring their respective replacements.

Almost every department of the squad needs an introduction of fresh personnel, starting from the goalkeeper to the wingers.

Goalkeepers;

Our number 1 position maybe sorted for years to come, but the second and third choice keeper roles needs to be sorted out, with Romero’s contract running out in 2021 and Lee Grant signed from relegated Stoke City last summer.

The significant and good choices would be to either make the young Joel Pereira the second choice as he’s young and would be happy to play a more important part by being trusted as the second choice.

The other option would be to bring in Wolfsburg keeper Koen Casteels, who has impressed and continues to impress with the German club

Dean Henderson, the under-23 United shot stopper would also be a good choice to being promoted to third choice keeper as he’s been brought up well with the younger squad.

Full Backs;

Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young both are 33 years old and are set to leave in the summer. With Luke Shaw likely to nail down the left back spot, the right back spot might still be up for contention with an eager Diogo Dalot waiting in the shadows.

Timothy Fosu Mensah currently out on loan would be a brilliant understudy or even a first choice right back, and his versatility places him higher up the pecking order.

Aaron Wan Bissaka is one name that has risen quite steadily up the ladder with the youngster nailing the right back spot at Crystal Palace after he was brought in due to injury crisis at the club. He’d be a great replacement for the departing Valencia with his stats speaking for him. He makes 3.7 tackles per game, 2.4 Interceptions per game, 3 clearances per game, and attempts 1.9 dribbles per game.

Lukas klostermann and Kevin mbabu are the other names United could move for to bring in a decent cheap second choice to rely on, with Dalot and wan bissaka being among the more prominent contenders.

Lucas Hernandez and Keiran Tierney are the most promising left back choices to work along side with Shaw. But it’s highly unlikely Hernandez will come in to play second fiddle to Shaw, and with him currently being linked to Bayern, any hopes of United’s pursuit of the versatile defender could go down the drain.

Tierney on the other hand would be ideal for United because he could actually challenge Shaw for the left back spot and could come in and do a great job whenever asked.

Centre Halves;

Smalling Rojo, Jones all probing to be unreliable options under Jose has brought them a lot of criticism.

And all of them averaging an age of 28, United wouldn’t find a better time to move them on, with them exacting the most reasonable and best price for both the clubs.

For their replacements, there have been many named linked to the club. Nathan Ake at AFC Bournemouth, Malang Sarr at Nice, Dan Axel Zagadou at Dortmund are some of the best possible young centre backs United could go for, with all of them having plenty of time ahead of them to develop and improve their game to challenge for a starting eleven spot.

Ake had been previously linked to United as he’s an adept ball playing centre back with a commanding Ariel presence. He boasts a pass completion rate of 87.9% and wins 2.3 Ariels per game. He has record of 1.4 tackles per 90, and clears the ball 6.3 times per 90.

Sarr on the other hand has more of a physical presence and is comfortable with both feet. He has a pass completion rate of 88.5% and tackles 2.3 time per 90. He intercepts 1.6 times per 90, and clears 2.9 times per match.

Axel Zagadou is tall commanding centre back, with boasting a pass completion rate of 87.6% and wins 3.7 Ariel’s per 90. He has a clearance record of 5.4 per 90 and intercepts 2.1 times in a match.

All of them are very highly rated and their stock will only rise in the coming years.

Although United are set to bring in a first choice centre back or two in the following six months. Having an potential incredible centre back wouldn’t hurt the club.

Axel Tuanzebe is another name United fans are familiar with and would love to see him play for the club on a regular basis because he does possess the right skill set to be a United centre back, both an option as well as a starter.

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Midfielders;

With Fellaini and Matic already 31 and Herrera at 29, United’s midfield option are continuously looking to thin up with every passing season.

Julian Wiegl could be the best option to replace the ageing matic because he’s an attack minded defensive midfielder. He has a pass completion rate of 93.4%, he makes 3 tackles per 90, and 0.7 Interceptions per match. He win 2.3 Ariel duels and make 2.3 key passes per 90.

Sergej milinkovic savic is one name United have been linked in the past. He has a pass completion rate of 80.3%, although a case can be made that he plays in a slightly lesser favoured side.

He makes 1.1 tackles per 90 and wins 3.4 Ariel duels per match. He completes 2.7 long balls per match and completes 1.8 dribbles.

Scott Mctominay could also be inculcated to replace one of the midfielders in the long run but is a mixture of both Herrera and Fellaini, his tall physique makes him perfect for bullying opposition midfield and his pressing skills makes him a recognizable choice for a high tempo game.

James Garner is another name along with Ethan Hamilton from the youth academy to be introduced and inculcated into the first team rather than stepping into the transfer market.

Wingers;

With Sanchez recently having turned 30 and Mata already 30 the right wing will be needing a revamp in a year or two.

And Mata still yet to extend his contract with United, the future manager will have to look for a replacement sooner than anticipated.

Martial has owned the left flank this season and Pereira can come in and feature as a second choice, given he extends his stay beyond the summer.

Lingard is the only player United seem to be relying upon for the coming years with Martial’s contract set to expire next summer if United can’t commit him for a new contract.

If they’ve to set foot into the transfer market, David Neres is one player who’ll surely be on the list. With United having missed out on kluivert to Roma last summer, it’s highly unlikely he’ll be leaving the Italian capital anytime soon.

Neres is one player they’d be wanting to bring on to develop with his stats speaking for him, with 84.1% pass completion rate. He make 1.1 key passes per 90 makes 1.8 dribbles per 90 and takes on 1.9 shots per match.

His stats may not be that high but time is on his side for him to develop into a great player over the years to come.

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Kai Havertz is another player who United should be keeping tabs on with the versatile German completing 84.7% passes and winning 2 Ariel duels per 90. He completes 2.7 long balls per 90, and attempts 1.5 dribbles and 2.3 shots per match.

They may be young but given a year to develop and adapt to the life and football in Manchester, they could harbor United with a brilliant attacking option should United make a move for them in the coming summers.

Diego Lainez and Julian Brandt are another two names United would be keeping tabs on because of revering across Europe and being linked to big money moves almost every window.

Agree or not, let us know your thoughts in the comment section below


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