Manchester United had a disappointing end to 2023 but they have started the New Year in good fashion with a 2-0 FA Cup third round win over Wigan Athletic on the road.
The club will now turn their focus to the Premier League clash against Tottenham Hotspur at home on Sunday where manager Erik ten Hag could have Christian Eriksen and Luke Shaw back in the squad.
Ten Hag is also expected to have Harry Maguire, Mason Mount, Victor Lindelof, Casemiro, Lisandro Martinez and Tyrell Malacia in the mix soon. United could be at full strength for the season run-in.
Meanwhile, the club are likely to pursue a couple of winter deals to reinforce the squad. Guinean striker Serhou Guirassy could be signed for a bargain fee from Stuttgart despite his recent injury scare.
Nice’s Jean-Clair Todibo seems a realistic target for United to bolster the backline. With funds limited, the club could propose to sign him on loan with an option or obligation to buy for around €40m.
With this in mind, let’s have a look at how United could line up with January deals and injury returns.
Andre Onana has been an undisputed starter in goal for Ten Hag. The Dutchman has not contemplated a change even in the Cup competitions and it could happen later this month due to Onana reporting for African Cup of Nations duty. However, the Cameroonian should be back in the XI for the season run-in.
Diogo Dalot seems Ten Hag’s preferred choice in the right-back role ahead of Aaron Wan-Bissaka. The Portuguese’s attacking contributions make him a better pick over Wan-Bissaka. He should reclaim his position with Shaw expected to become a permanent starter at left-back on his return.
Lisandro Martinez is the only specialist left-footed centre-back in the squad. When fit and available, he is an assured starter from the left centre-back position. If United were to land Todibo from Nice, he should get the nod over Raphael Varane with his better recovery pace and duel winning ability.
Kobbie Mainoo has been a revelation from the number six position lately, but he has made the odd mistake. At full strength, it is most likely that the manager will prefer the experience of Casemiro over him – at least for this season.
Mason Mount has had a difficult start to his United career due to multiple injuries but the former Chelsea man is the most creative number eight in the squad, considering Bruno Fernandes plays higher up. He should partner Casemiro ahead of Christian Eriksen.
Bruno Fernandes is a nailed-on starter in the number 10 role. Alejandro Garnacho and Marcus Rashford are expected to get the nod out wide. Garnacho has recently impressed from the right wing and he could make the position his own ahead of Antony.
Up front, Guirassy is most likely to lead the line if he is purchased from Stuttgart. The Guinean has been in the form of his life with 19 goals in just 16 games across all competitions for the Bundesliga outfit.
On the contrary, Rasmus Hojlund has had a tough introduction to English football. He has six goals but just one of those have been in the top-flight. It is a hard decision but the Dane could drop to the bench.
How Man Utd could line up with January deals and Injury returns
Stats from Transfermarkt.com
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