Here’s how Man United could look under Pochettino.
Mauricio Pochettino is reportedly among Manchester United’s main targets to become the club’s new manager. Ajax coach Erik ten Hag has also been strongly linked with the position.
Pochettino, however, has been on United’s radar for several years, dating back to his early days at Tottenham Hotspur. And the Argentine, currently coaching Paris Saint-Germain, may be available in the summer following PSG’s exit from the Champions League.
Man United under Pochettino.
If Pochettino is to take over at Old Trafford, he will need to be supported by the club in the transfer market. Man United need an overhaul. Several stars, such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Edinson Cavani and Paul Pogba, may not be at the club next year. While Marcus Rashford’s future is uncertain.
Man United’s next manager will have to rebuild the squad, and Pochettino could be the ideal coach to do it. The Argentine has had contrasting experiences in his last two jobs regarding transfer budgets and recruitment.
At Tottenham, Pochettino was working under austerity conditions. From the time he took over in 2014 to reaching the Champions League final in 2019, Spurs had a net transfer spend of £50m. Tottenham didn’t make a first-team transfer between January 2018 to the summer of 2019.
At PSG, however, Pochettino has unlimited resources at his disposal. Last summer, the French team signed Achraf Hakimi, Danilo Pereira, Nuno Mendes, Lionel Messi, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Georginio Wijnaldum and Sergio Ramos.
No other club in Europe could match their transfer outlay, particularly not during a pandemic when spending was significantly cut back.
Yet, neither model has particularly suited Pochettino, who is a natural team builder and a coach with a proven track record of developing young players.
United could be a perfect match for him. Pochettino will have the scope to overhaul the squad, and the transfer funds to match any club. However, he will also be given the time to develop promising young players. Both will be needed if he takes the role.
Here’s the potential team that Pochettino could work with next season at Man United.
Man United team under Pochettino.
A lot would need to happen for this to come to fruition, but this looks like a Pochettino team on paper.
David De Gea,
Kyle Walker-Peters, Raphael Varane, Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw.
Declan Rice, Fred.
Christian Eriksen, Bruno Fernandes, Jadon Sancho.
Potential Man United XI under Pochettino.
De Gea has been United’s best player this season and is back to his best after a few tough seasons.
In the back four, Pochettino would likely give Varane and Lindelof a chance to be United’s first-choice in defence. Luke Shaw worked under him at Southampton, and would surely be given an opportunity to excel at Old Trafford if they were reunited.
At right-back, however, Man United have a pressing issue that must be addressed. Aaron Wan-Bissaka is simply not effective enough in possession to be the starting full-back for the Red Devils.
He cost the club £50m from Crystal Palace in 2019, and United wouldn’t get anywhere near that if they sold him in the summer. But United may need to cut its losses and sign an upgrade in the position. Diogo Dalot has yet to prove that he is the answer.
Kyle Walker-Peters may not be the most eye-catching signing for Man United, but the Southampton full-back could be just what Man United need at right-back.
Walker-Peters, 24, is in the top percentile for Premier League full-backs in several key areas, such as dribbles completed, touches in the attacking penalty area, and progressive passes made and received.
In essence, the Southampton star, who recently made his England debut, could be the attacking, dynamic right-back United have been missing. Pochettino also worked with Walker-Peters at Spurs, and he wouldn’t cost United a fortune to sign.
In midfield, Declan Rice must be on Man United’s radar and he would instantly improve the starting XI. The England midfielder has developed into a complete player. He reads the game well, is brave on the ball and provides defensive protection.
Rice has been the key factor in West Ham United’s excellent form this season and will not be cheap to sign. But Man United desperately need a top-quality midfielder and Rice has been the best in his position so far this season.
Fred retains his place beside him in this team. The Brazilian is not a world-class midfielder, but he has had decent spells this season and has looked like an improved player under Rangnick. He may not be the long-term option, but Fred has proved to be a capable squad player and is a better option than Scott McTominay, his current midfield partner.
Bruno Fernandes has had a mixed season. He certainly needs to stop complaining and playing aimless passes into the box. But, under Pochettino, he could mirror the role Dele Alli played at Spurs.
Bruno would function better as a second striker rather than as a midfielder or a traditional number 10. Like Alli under Pochettino, he’s better at arriving late into the box and finishing moves rather than being a playmaker.
In this team, Jadon Sancho starts on the left flank, where he has played very well under Rangnick. He could push to the next level if Pochettino took over.
Christian Eriksen could be a wildcard option on the right if he continues his excellent form for Brentford. The Danish midfielder will be available on a free transfer in the summer and knows Pochettino well from their time together at Spurs. E
Ahead of them, Harry Kane leads the line. According to reports, Man United are interested in signing the centre-forward this summer, particularly as Manchester City are in the pole position to land Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund.
Kane turns 29 in the summer, but he would still be a sensational signing for Man United. The England captain is back to his best under Antonio Conte and has scored seven goals in his last 10 Premier League games.
If Spurs miss out on the top four, and United qualify for the Champions League, Kane could once again question his future in north London. Man United should be at the front of the queue if that happens.
However, as it currently stands, Spurs look more likely to qualify for the European Cup ahead of United, which would make the Red Devils’ rebuild significantly more difficult.
Yet, here’s how Man United could line out under Pochettino, even if an awful lot needs to happen for this to become reality.
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