The arrival of specialist holding midfielder Casemiro at Manchester United will finally allow Erik ten Hag to play a more attacking formation as he seeks to build a brighter future for the club.
In recent years, United have generally played with two number 6’s because of a lack of a true defensive expert in the position, which has meant sacrificing more ball-playing ability in the middle of the park.
Casemiro can be trusted to hold the midfield from a defensive standpoint, allowing the likes of Christian Eriksen, Bruno Fernandes and Donny van de Beek to play alongside each other as twin number 8’s.
For matches in which the manager wants to exercise more caution, both Fred and Scott McTominay could come back in, with both better suited to a box-to-box role than the double pivot they have been forced to play over the last three years.
James Garner was also hoping to get his chance to break into the first team this season, but Casemiro’s arrival will probably mean he will be loaned again or sold.
The 30 year old’s long history of playing with Raphael Varane will also be a huge bonus as it should foster an immediate understanding that will help him settle into the side. This should therefore cement the Frenchman’s position in the team.
Most likely to play alongside him will be new signing Lisandro Martinez, whose recovery pace and tough tackling should provide the perfect counterfoil for the Frenchman’s elegance and composure.
United are widely tipped to be ready to move for PSV’s Cody Gakpo as well, who could replace the struggling Marcus Rashford on the left wing.
Anthony Martial has impressed Ten Hag so far and could lead the line for United this season, whether or not Ronaldo leaves.
Another new signing, Tyrell Malacia, replaced Luke Shaw against Brentford and added some desperately needed grit, energy and fire. He could well become Ten Hag’s first choice left back very soon.
United may or may not also sign a right back and/or goalkeeper before the window closes, with the likes of Thomas Meunier and Sergino Dest mooted for the former and Illan Meslier and Borussia Mönchengladbach’s Yann Sommer linked for the latter. In the meantime, Diogo Dalot and David de Gea are set to continue.
With all that in mind, here is a possible United XI with the three new signings and two expected signings all in the side:
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