Thursday 14 December 2017

How Manchester United could line up next season as Jose Mourinho eyes five new signings

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho. Photo: Getty Images
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho. Photo: Getty Images

Jack Austin

Manchester United were hoping, and expecting, to have a number of deals lined up ready for their preseason tour to the United States by now.

However, after the break down of Antoine Griezmann’s move to Old Trafford, which culminated in him personally calling Jose Mourinho to explain why he was staying at Atletico Madrid, United have not made many moves.

The Independent revealed on Friday that Alvaro Morata now looks certain to make the move the Manchester, with a bid also made for Andrea Belotti.

Morata agreed personal terms with the club “very quickly” as United hope to sign him for £60m while making a £70m bid for Belotti.

In total, Mourinho has redrawn up a shortlist of five players, including the two strikers mentioned, after Zlatan Ibrahimovic was released from the club following his long-term knee injury. Wayne Rooney is also set to leave.

Mourinho wants the club to get a flurry of these key deals done quickly so he can begin planning for the season, and Benfica’s Swedish centre-half Victor Lindelof is now fully expected to join United after this international break.

Progress has also been made with defensive midfielder Fabinho of Monaco, while the Portuguese also plans to bring in Ivan Perisic of Internazionale, although there a difference of over £15m between United’s offering price and the £50m the Milanese club are asking.

This is how Manchester United could line up next season:

Goalkeeper – David De Gea

Reports in Spain now suggest De Gea will stay at United once again as Real Madrid have failed to convince the club to sell.

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United keeper David de Gea. Photo: PA Wire

Right-back – Antonio Valencia

Mourinho has labelled Valencia as the best right-back in the world and after captaining United in the Europa final he is one of the first names on the team-sheet.

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Antonio Valencia

Centre-back – Eric Bailly

Bailly had a phenomenal first season at United and looks like he will be the bedrock of Mourinho’s defence for the foreseeable future.

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Manchester United's Eric Bailly

Centre-back – Victor Lindelof

Victor Lindelof is now fully expected to join the club from Benfica after the international break.

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Lindelof is a target for Manchester United

Left-back – Luke Shaw

Shaw, despite all the public criticisms, looks set to continue as Mourinho’s first choice left-back, if he can adapt to Mourinho’s mould. The lack of other options and United’s more pressing targets mean he should start next season.

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Luke Shaw joined Manchester United from Southampton in 2014

Holding midfield – Fabinho

Progress has been made with Fabinho but they are trying to move quickly as Monaco do not want to lose many of their first-team stars.

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Fabinho

Centre-midfield – Ander Herrera

A United captain-in-waiting, Herrera was voted the club’s player of the year in his most impressive season to date.

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Manchester United's Ander Herrera celebrates after winning the Europa League

Centre-midfield – Paul Pogba

Mourinho is known to want to bring in a defensive midfielder in order to free up the Frenchman to operate further up the field.

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Paul Pogba has been tipped to be a future Manchester United captain

Attacking midfield – Ivan Perisic

United are only willing to spend £35m on Perisic but Inter want £50m. The club are still confident they can push the deal through.

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Ivan Perisic finally appears to be on his way to Manchester United

Centre-forward – Alvaro Morata

Terms are agreed with Morata with the only stumbling block left to be agreed being the transfer fee, which is understood to be close.

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Manchester United want to sign Alvaro Morata from Real Madrid

Centre-forward – Andrea Belotti

The Torino striker is wanted to help fill the void of the departing Zlatan and United will be hoping to sign him for far less than his buyout clause of around £85m. Chelsea are also interested but he is someone United feel they can beat the Premier League champions to.

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Belotti has an €100m release clause. Getty

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