Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

The resurgent XI Man Utd could pick under Thomas Tuchel with four big INEOS signings

Ryan Baldi
How Man Utd could line up under Thomas Tuchel

Thomas Tuchel could transform Man Utd with the help of four new signings

Thomas Tuchel is becoming a concrete option to be the next Manchester United manager after Erik ten Hag, so TEAMtalk takes a look at how the Red Devils could line up under him.

After the appointment of Jason Wilcox as technical director, Manchester United manager Ten Hag is reportedly on trial to keep his position beyond the end of the 2023-24 season.

If United decide a change in the dugout is needed, former Chelsea boss Tuchel – who will leave Bayern Munich at the end of the current campaign – is said to be the frontrunner.

Here is how United could line up under the Champions League-winning German tactician.

GK – Andre Onana

Andre Onana’s first season as a United player will be remembered for a litany of high-profile and costly errors.

But the Cameroonian international has also been one of the busiest goalkeeper’s in the Premier League, with the Red Devils facing more shots per game (17.6) than every side in the division except bottom-placed Sheffield United (18), and he has spared their blushes more than he has caused them.

The 28-year-old former Inter Milan and Ajax man certainly needs to iron out the mistakes, but his shot-stopping and ability to play with the ball at his feet would make him a good fit for Tuchel.

RB – Jeremie Frimpong

One of the stars of Xabi Alonso’s title-winning Bayer Leverkusen side, Frimpong has scored eight goals and provided seven assists in the Bundesliga that season.

The 23-year-old Dutchman, a reported United target, has the attacking traits and athleticism to thrive under Tuchel.

Frimpong’s outrageous production this term has come as a wing-back, though, so playing in a slightly deeper right-back role would be a more robust test his defensive skills.

CB – Jarrad Branthwaite

Part-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe and his INEOS group who have assumed sporting control of the club have reportedly identified central defence as the primary area of need in their expected overhaul of the Old Trafford squad this summer.

Raphael Varane is set to leave the club when his contract expires at the end of the season and doubts remain over Harry Maguire.

Everton’s towering 21-year-old centre-half Jarrad Branthwaite is said to be the Red Devils’ top target for the position, although a price tag north of £70 million could prove prohibitive.

GO DEEPER – How Jarrad Branthwaite compares to Lisandro Martinez as Man Utd consider blockbuster bid

CB – Lisandro Martinez

The Argentinian defender has suffered terrible luck with injuries since arriving from Ajax two years ago and he will have to prove he can sustain his fitness if he is to become a central figure of United’s backline into next season and beyond.

But when available Lisandro Martinez has been a rock at centre-back and arguably the most successful signing made under Ten Hag.

With his ability to play forward through the opposition’s press and his tenacity in the more traditional aspects of his role, a fit and healthy Martinez would be a huge asset under Tuchel.

LB – Luke Shaw

Another player desperate for an injury-free run, Luke Shaw is one of the most consistent and reliable left-backs in the Premier League when fit and has been a mainstay of United’s first-choice defensive set-up for most of his time at the club after joining from Southampton in a £30 million deal as a teenager a decade ago.

Shaw’s chequered injury record might convince the powers that be to invest in an alternative for the position, but a player of the 28-year-old England man’s quality would not come cheaply.

CM – Kobbie Mainoo

Said to be one of only three players in the United squad for whom the club’s new decision makers will not entertain offers, Mainoo’s emergence this season has been one of few bright sparks in a tumultuous campaign.

The 19-year-old England international has the composure, technical skills and sky-high future potential to be a superstar at Old Trafford for years to come. They just need to partner him in midfield with a player who can lighten his load while offering some much-needed tactical discipline experience in the middle third, a role 32-year-old Casemiro appears no longer capable of fulfilling.

CM – Joshua Kimmich

Kimmich’s Bayern future is in doubt due to the fact the 29-year-old has one year remaining on his contract at the Allianz Arena and there is no sign on an agreement on an extension.

Reports in Germany suggest Kimmich is not interested in joining either United or Chelsea this summer, but the chance to link back up with Tuchel could change that.

And while the veteran midfielder doesn’t fit Ratcliffe’s plan to sign young players with high potential, the Bayern man could be an ideal compromise on that principle as he would aid Mainoo’s development and replace Casemiro, who now looks a shadow of his former self.

Joshua Kimmich and Casemiro comparison

Alternatively, this could be a position in which Mason Mount – whose first season at Old Trafford has been ravaged by injury – finds a home under Tuchel. The manager once described the player he worked with at Chelsea as being the “full package” as a midfielder.

RW – Michael Olise

One of the top summer targets identified by INEOS, Michael Olise could operate in a role under Tuchel similar to the one in which former Manchester City winger Leroy Sane has thrived at Bayern this season.

As speedy left-footer cutting in from the right flank to threaten goal or create for team-mates, Sane’s return of eight Bundesliga goals and 11 assists this season would mark a productive return for Olise, if United are able to prise the £60 million-rated France under-21 international away from Crystal Palace.

An alternative option in this position is Jadon Sancho. The England wide man is currently on loan at Borussia Dortmund after a fallout with Ten Hag. Tuchel worked with Sancho previously at Signal Iduna Park and could resurrect his Old Trafford career.

CAM – Bruno Fernandes

Bruno Fernandes can frustrate at times with his sloppiness in possession and whiny demeanour, but there is absolutely no doubt that the Portuguese playmaker remains United’s best and most important player.

The 29-year-old leads the team in both goals (10) and assists (eight) in the Premier League this season and his 108 chances created is more than double the club’s second-ranked player in that category, Alejandro Garnacho (43).

LW – Alejandro Garnacho

Whether Marcus Rashford stays at Old Trafford beyond this summer or leaves for a fresh start elsewhere, Garnacho has earned the starting berth in his preferred left-sided position for next season.

In almost identical minutes totals, the Argentinian teenager has matched Rashford for Premier League goals (seven) while doubling his assists output (four to two). The fact that Garnacho is still only 19, while at 26 Rashford is nearer to having reached his peak, is further reason to keep the youngster in the line-up.

ST – Rasmus Hojlund

It hasn’t been all plain sailing in his first season as a Manchester United player following last summer’s £64 million move from Atalanta, but a return of 14 goals from 38 games is a respectful output for Rasmus Hojlund, who at times has toiled at the point of the Red Devils’ attack with little in the way of consistent service.

Tuchel may wish to bring in a more experienced striker to compete with the 21-year-old Dane, or to play alongside him to ease his burden, but Hojlund has shown enough in a difficult season to be considered the future of United’s front line.

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