Does £100million star Sancho feature in our 2023 Manchester United XI?
Henderson recalled, Sancho and Dembele up top – but Bellingham has to make do with place on the bench… how Manchester United could look by 2023 as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer focuses on youth
- Man United’s finances mean they are in a good position to rebuild the team
- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has shown a few academy products they are the future
- But it is hoped they can mix with some top-class buys over the next few years
- This is how a United XI and subs could look in 2023 to challenge for the title
The financial power of Manchester United means they are in a better position to continue rebuilding their team after lockdown than any other club in England.
It’s long been the opinion of United that their next great team will be a mix of top-class buys and homegrown talent developed by the academy.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has already shown that the likes of Brandon Williams, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood are a big part of United’s future.
They have already made long-term investments in Harry Maguire and Bruno Fernandes, and are actively looking to finish the jigsaw by spending big on Jadon Sancho, Jack Grealish and Saul Niguez.
This is how a United first XI and substitutes could look in 2023 to challenge for the Premier League title – which would mark a decade since they were last champions under Sir Alex Ferguson.
Manchester United’s finances mean Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is in a position to rebuild the team
Sportsmail show how they could compete for a first title since Sir Alex Ferguson was in charge
Joined the Manchester United academy at 14 and has sent his reputation soaring in the last two seasons on loan at Sheffield United.
Only Liverpool have conceded fewer goals than The Blades with Henderson’s ten clean sheets forcing his way into the thoughts of England manager Gareth Southgate for Euro 2020.
Though United have had David de Gea as their No1 for almost a decade, Henderson is set to replace him at some stage.
Academy product Dean Henderson has spent the last two seasons on loan at Sheffield United
Right back – Aaron Wan-Bissaka (22)
An old-fashioned full-back who knows how to defend properly, usually timing his challenges to perfection.
TV pundit Jamie Carragher hailed him as ‘the best one-to-one defender for a full-back in the world’ after he kept Raheem Sterling quiet in the last Manchester derby
Eyebrows were raised when United paid Crystal Palace £50million for Wan-Bissaka last summer but he immediately made a first-team spot his own.
His 99 successful tackles this season has only been surpassed by Leicester’s Ricardo Pereira and he looks set to be a United regular for years to come.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s defensive prowess makes him set to become a United regular for years
Centre back – Kalidou Koulibaly (28)
United won’t be alone in admiring Koulibaly if the dominant Senegalese central defender is allowed to leave Napoli, Liverpool and PSG are also among the interested parties.
But United’s need is probably greater than either of those clubs as they look for a powerful partner for Harry Maguire at the back.
Regarded as a defensive wall, the transfer market deflation following coronavirus means he may only cost a bargain £60million – beyond most clubs, but not United.
Kalidou Koulibaly is the dominant centre-back United are looking for to partner Harry Maguire
Centre back – Harry Maguire (27)
Being appointed United’s captain in his first season at Old Trafford tells you everything about the impact Maguire has made since his record £80million move from Leicester.
Showed he could thrive on the big stage by impressing for England at the 2018 World Cup, Maguire has been United’s best player in a fluctuating campaign and Solskjaer had no hesitation giving him the armband permanently when Ashley Young joined Inter Milan in January.
United captain Maguire has been the club’s best player in a fluctuating campaign this season
Left back – Brandon Williams (19)
Made a huge impression since breaking into United’s team at left-back, forcing Luke Shaw to try out a new position as a left-sided centre-back.
His commitment as an academy youngster is a throwback to the Class of 92 era with Gary Neville noting: ‘He has that look in his eye of someone that would eat his opponent’s nose to win the match.’
But Williams also has quality going forward and scored an important goal in the comeback 3-3 draw against Sheffield United after Solskjaer’s team had found themselves 3-0 down.
Brandon Williams’ commitment as an academy youngster is a throwback to the Class of 92 era
Midfield – Bruno Fernandes (25)
The chant of Bru-no filled Old Trafford from the moment the Portuguese playmaker arrived in January.
Solskjaer wanted Fernandes as much for his leadership qualities as his footballing skills and the Reds haven’t lost any of the nine matches he’s played in.
United fans love a player with swagger – Eric Cantona springs to mind – and Fernandes’ stutter and jump penalty against Watford marked him out as someone who will embrace the Theatre of Dreams.
United have not lost any of the nine matches January signing Bruno Fernandes has played in
Midfield – Saul Niguez (25)
Nemanja Matic and Scott McTominay have done a good job of helping to shore up United’s back line as defensive midfielders but Saul Niguez is the upgrade Solskjaer needs to go from top four challengers to winning major trophies.
The Spanish international is entering his prime years having already been a key part of Atletico Madrid’s success under Diego Simeone.
His defensive efforts in stifling Mo Salah as Atletico knocked Liverpool out of the Champions League shortly before lockdown underlined he’s from the top table.
Saul is the upgrade United need to go from top four challengers to winning major trophies
Midfield – Paul Pogba (27)
Has looked on his way out of Old Trafford for so long but changing circumstances around the world may see the French World Cup winner staying with Manchester United, and becoming a talisman for a more successful new era.
The truth is his suitors Real Madrid and Juventus can no longer afford anything like United’s £100million asking price.
And when football resumes, it will be a fully-fit Pogba raring to go rather than the one who struggled with injuries and last played on Boxing Day.
Can Pogba really turn his United career around? Wayne Rooney once made a formal request to leave but ended up the club’s record goalscorer.
Paul Pogba could become a talisman for a more successful new era and turn his career around
Attack/right forward – Jadon Sancho (20)
Having had their noses rubbed in it for so many years by their ‘noisy neighbours’, how gratifying would it be for Manchester United to sign the most talented kid from City’s academy and turn him into a world star.
Sancho left City for Borussia Dortmund after feeling his first-team prospects limited. He’s shone in Germany and has already scored 27 Bundesliga goals, the youngest in history to do so, besides winning 11 England caps, scoring twice.
The flying winger would cost United a Premier League record transfer fee but he fits the United philosophy perfectly.
Jadon Sancho would cost a Premier League record fee but he fits the club’s philosophy well
Centre forward – Moussa Dembele (23)
Having lost out on Erling Haaland and Tottenham pricing Harry Kane out of the market at £200million, United’s search for a genuine centre-forward is likely to take them to Lyon where the exciting Moussa Dembele can be snapped up for £65million.
Dembele’s potential became evident to British fans at Fulham and Celtic and his game has moved on apace in the last couple of years at Lyon, scoring 42 goals from 58 starts.
He is capable of leading the line, possesses great movement and will find the net.
Moussa Dembele can lead the line, possesses great movement and will score plenty of goals
Attack/left forward – Marcus Rashford (22)
21st Century poster-boy for the famed United academy. It’s already legend how he responded to a shock call-up from Louis van Gaal at the age of 17 with two debut goals in Europe, and then another double against Arsenal a few days later.
Hailing from Manchester, he has already become one of the most influential players in the dressing-room and a has a lengthy highlight reel of spectacular goals.
Looks at his most threatening on the left-hand side where he can cut in and become a goal threat.
Marcus Rashford has already become one of the most influential players in the dressing-room
And the bench won’t be bad either…
Seems to be approaching his best again after suffering a terrible time with injuries.
His duel with Brandon Williams at left-back is going to become very interesting in the next few years
Prodigious 16-year-old midfielder currently with Birmingham City. Every top club wants him including United.
Will still be a teenager in 2023 but will be demanding a regular place by then.
One of Jose Mourinho’s rare positive legacies at Old Trafford.
He gave McTominay a chance and the Scot responded by showing the right attitude in the middle of the park.
Midfielder Scott McTominay is one of the rare positive legacies Jose Mourinho left behind
Has the X-factor on the ball that United fans love and have missed watching in recent years since. Could play in midfield or wider in a front-three.
Has a dozen United goals under his belt and he’s still only 18.
There has been a buzz around the centre-forward since a very early age and he’ll develop over the next couple of seasons
A bit of a wild card but United will always find a place for him in the squad because of his blistering pace which would concern any defence
United may not feel the need to sign another experienced deputy goalkeeper in the Sergio Romero mould if Pereira continues his development. Currently on loan with Hearts in Scotland.
Jack Grealish has the X-factor on the ball that United fans have been missing in recent years
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