Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester United’s golden boy has returned to his parent club after spending more than a decade away from the club. Juventus couldn’t utilise the Portuguese forward perfectly, forcing him to find shelter somewhere else. And after being linked with United’s rivals, Manchester City, Ronaldo agreed to join the Red Devils in one of the biggest u-turns in the transfer market history. But how will their iconic no.7 fit into the team upon his return?
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was entertained by Edinson Cavani’s gaol-scoring form last summer and the Uruguayan poacher was offered another season at the club. But Ronaldo’s arrival means the Uruguayan could be out of Manchester United’s line-up. The transfer also affects Martial’s playing time as the Frenchman frustrating Old Trafford faithful might be ending soon. From Bruno Fernandes to Mason Greenwood we look at what could be Manchester United’s line-up this summer after the veteran arrives at the Theatre of Dreams.
GOALKEEPER- DAVID DE GEA
Once replaced by Manchester United graduate Dean Henderson, Spanish goalkeeper David De Gea was benched by Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. But after Henderson was struck by injury problems, De Gea marched into Manchester United’s line-up replacing the Three Lions’ youngster. David De Gea faced immense backlash when he failed to save even a single penalty in the Europa League final against Villareal.
But in the build-up to the tournament, David De Gea constantly rescued United, not letting the opposition score past him. Now the veteran goalkeeper has time to prove himself to Solskjaer because Henderson would need time to recover from his COVID diagnosis. With Maguire and Varane standing in front of him, David De Gea would have to stay strong in between United’s frame.
RIGHT-BACK – AARON WAN-BISSAKA
The spiderman of United’s backline, Crystal Palace’s fullback was purchased by the Red Devils for almost 50 million pounds. Constantly galloping forward, Wan Bisakka could drop crosses in the opposition’s box with talismanic striker Cristiano Ronaldo waiting for Bisakka’s deliveries. Aaron Wan Bisakka doesn’t have intense competition in his playing position with only Diogo Dalot being Solskjaer’s other option there.
back to business 🔴🕸 pic.twitter.com/EgLqLMc84U
— Aaron Wan-Bissaka (@awbissaka) August 14, 2021
Diogo Dalot departed for Italian giants AC Milan last season, leaving Wan Bissaka enough time to prove himself to Manchester United’s fans. Aaron Wan-Bisakka is a strong defender himself and rarely gives forwards breathing space. Most importantly the English fullback has Luke Shaw on the other flank and the duo could constantly stream up and down troubling their rivals.
CENTRE-BACK- HARRY MAGUIRE
The leader of United’s pack, Harry Maguire has gone from being an overpriced footballer to being the biggest defensive asset for the Red Devils. In the last two seasons, Maguire has bolstered his position in United’s backline. Although he has been partnered up with several centre-backs, Maguire has been seeded in the defence like a rock.
— Harry Maguire (@HarryMaguire93) August 20, 2021
Now with Raphael Varane joining the Red Devils from Los Blancos, Maguire can feel the pressure is off his shoulders. The Three Lions’ centre-back is a leader on the pitch and constantly motivates his teammates to win a challenge. With 1.75 interceptions, 4.31 aerials won, and 1.30 blocks made per match, Maguire is becoming one of the greatest defenders in the Premier League.
CENTRE-BACK – RAPHAEL VARANE
Another majestic centre-back, World Cup Winner Raphael Varane was seen as United’s best signing this summer until Ronaldo arrived. Partnering up with Harry Maguire, the former Los Blancos defender arrived in England to prove his worth in new surroundings. He was instrumental in Real Madrid’s Champions League success and France’s World Cup triumph.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has constantly played musical chairs with Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly trying to find the perfect centre-back partner for captain Maguire. But with Varane’s presence in the eleven, both could be walking towards United’s bench.
LEFT-BACK – LUKE SHAW
Man on a mission, left-back Luke Shaw has proved to the footballing fraternity why Jose Mourinho’s treatment of him was such a big mistake. A horrific injury a few years ago had almost ruled out Luke Shaw from football but the full-back made a dramatic comeback to the sport. And since his revival, the majestic defender hasn’t looked back, giving a fresh start to his Red Devils career.
— Luke Shaw (@LukeShaw23) August 14, 2021
His goal against Manchester City would resonate in the minds of the fans at the Etihad. Although Shaw and company faltered in the final of the Europa League last season, the defender could help United reach back their glory days this campaign. A crucial part of Manchester United’s current line-up, Shaw almost guided the Three Lions’ to European glory this summer with a scintillating strike in the ultimate showdown against the Azzurri. Although England lost that game, Luke Shaw returned as a hero for England.
DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDER- SCOTT MCTOMINAY
A player always prepared for a big game, Scottish midfielder Scott Mctominay could start in Manchester United’s eleven above Fred. Although Solskjaer is seen giving equal opportunities to both his defensive-midfielders, Mctominay has a knack of turning up a notch whenever United are competing against tougher opponents.
His goal against City from miles away, his fascinating performance against Liverpool, or his brilliant outing against Chelsea in the League Cup, Mctominay loves a feisty encounter. The Scottish is never afraid to shoot and is not scared to lunge into a challenge. And interestingly he would emerge victorious most of the time. If given an option Solskjaer should opt for Mctominay over Fred considering his strength, defensive capabilities, and shooting prowess.
ATTACKING MIDFIELDER- BRUNO FERNANDES
Before Ronaldo’s transfer, Bruno Fernandes could have won the award for United’s biggest Portuguese asset. Fernandes’ career has been identical to Ronaldo’s previous tenure with the Red Devils. The duo arrived from Sporting Lisbon and in just one or two seasons became the heart and soul of the team. And although a young Ronaldo had some sensational galacticos like Wayne Rooney and David Beckham alongside, Fernandes lacked support but rose to the occasion every time United were put under pressure.
🥁 As voted for by you, the fans…
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) September 18, 2020
Winning the award for Manchester United’s Player of the Year for the second time running, the Portuguese midfielder has had a crucial influence on United’s resurrection in recent times. With Ronaldo arriving, he could deliver crosses in the box with a blindfold on and Ronaldo would leap to thunder a header into the opposition’s net. Fernandes himself netted 18 goals last season and also bagged 12 assists in the Premier League explaining why he’s put in the same bracket as Manchester City legend Kevin De Bruyne.
ATTACKING MIDFIELDER- PAUL POGBA
Well, words can’t describe Paul Pogba’s Manchester United career. The Frenchman has enjoyed a roller-coaster ride in England with the Red Devils. One week he would be awarded the Man of the Match and the next week he could be linked to a move away from Old Trafford. But after the dust settled on Pogba’s transfer this summer, the French midfielder kicked off the campaign in tremendous fashion. 4 assists against Leeds and one against Southampton, Paul Pogba already has 5 assists under his belt.
In the previous two seasons at Old Trafford, the 28-year-old assisted just six times. And when you start a season in such a style, you would want it to end spectacularly. Once again Ronaldo’s arrival would benefit the French midfielder who is always looking up for a forward galloping towards the rival’s goal-mouth. Paul Pogba knows how to unlock defences, which could benefit United’s jaw-dropping forward battery.
RIGHT-WING – JADON SANCHO
Manchester United had been pursuing Jadon Sancho’s transfer for almost two years before BVB agreed to sell their star-winger for 85 million euros. The electrifying winger would be operating on the right side of Manchester United’s line-up and would want to replicate his Dortmund outings. With Marcus Rashford being sidelined with an injury and being unavailable for the time being, Sancho could march into Manchester United’s line-up.
This is his home.
This is where he belongs.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) July 23, 2021
Wales winger Daniel James has an exhilarating pace but unfortunately lacks in other aspects of the game. While on the other hand, Jadon Sancho ticks all the boxes when it comes to scoring goals, giving assists, or sometimes show-boating on the pitch.
CENTRE-FORWARD- CRISTIANO RONALDO
A reunion no one had predicted, Cristiano Ronald has returned to Old Trafford in a fairytale transfer. The Portuguese forward departed from Juventus after spending three seasons at the Italian giants. But Juventus’ failure to win Ronaldo’s favourite tournament, the Champions League, the forward had to transfer back to the Premier League.
Although Sir Alex Ferguson signed Ronaldo as an amateur in 2003, the 36-year-old captured 5 Ballon D’Ors before returning to the Theatre of Dreams. With Ronaldo being present in the squad, Cavani could lose his position as Red Devils’ poacher. And Anthony Martial’s shambolic outings means that Ronaldo wouldn’t face enough competition fighting for his spot in Solskjaer’s blueprints.
LEFT-WING – MASON GREENWOOD
Probably the biggest revelation for Manchester United, English winger Mason Greenwood had a staggering English summer last year. Greenwood’s deadly finishing, inch-perfect passing, and jaw-dropping goal-scoring abilities received praises from all around the world. Now when Ronaldo arrives at United, Greenwood could be seeded alongside the veteran with the duo forming a world-class partnership.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) August 24, 2021
Ronaldo’s right-foot and Greenwood’s left-foot, Premier League defenders will have a task in front of them defending against the duo. In his debut season, Greenwood bagged 10 goals and followed it up with 7 goals last summer. But with Fernandes and Pogba reaching greater heights, his goal-scoring tally of 2 goals in 2 games could rocket sky high.