Manchester United returned to the top four under Louis van Gaal last season, and the Red Devils are expected to improve even further in the 2015-16 campaign with a busy summer of transfer activity anticipated.
Eurosport reported that van Gaal has been handed another £150m to spend over the coming months, and there are set to be some blockbuster arrivals – and perhaps departures – at Old Trafford.
As such, we’ve put together a potential starting XI for the Premier League giants next season, with this possible 4-3-3 certainly one of the most formidable in Europe.
GK – Jasper Cillessen (Ajax)
David De Gea, despite a fee yet to be agreed upon with Real Madrid, looks destined to return to the Spanish capital before the start of the new campaign. Replacing a goalkeeper of such quality as the Spaniard will be no easy task for van Gaal, but rumoured target Cillessen [via the Express] would be a fine successor for the No.1 shirt.
RB – Seamus Coleman (Everton)
According to the Daily Mail, the 26-year-old is van Gaal’s first-choice right-back target. The defensive position is a significant area of concern for Manchester United, with midfielder Antonio Valencia – while deputising well and a threat going forward – is often susceptible to defensive errors. Coleman has been excellent for the Toffees over the past few seasons, and his confidence at Goodison Park suggests he could adapt to the pressure at Old Trafford with ease.
CB – Chris Smalling
Ideally, an English partnership of Phil Jones and Smalling would surely be preferred at Old Trafford – if just for communication reasons – with Chelsea’s John Terry and Gary Cahill a chief example of such success. However, the duo’s ability on the European stage is still questioned. Smalling, nonetheless, impressed van Gaal last season, improving tremendously under the Dutchman, and may be considered his long-term centre-back.
CB – Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)
Despite the intense speculation that Los Blancos’ vice-captain is heading to Old Trafford this summer, questions still remain on whether the defender is simply trying to earn himself a new deal at the Santiago Bernabeu. Nonetheless, the prospect of signing a European superstar is certainly exciting – even if he is one of Europe’s most volatile centre-backs.
LB – Luke Shaw
Injury damaged the former Southampton star’s debut season with the Premier League giants but – at just 19 and with a year’s experience under van Gaal – the teen could return to top form in the 2015-16 campaign.