Manchester United could end up fielding a pretty different XI for the opening day of the Premier League season for a variety of reasons.
As it stands, the Red Devils have had a pretty quiet summer transfer window, though Fred is surely set to become a regular in midfield after joining from Shakhtar Donetsk.
The Brazil international could also be thrust into the action straight away at the start of the new Premier League season, which kicks off in just under four weeks’ time.
United start their season at home to Leicester City, and will surely hope to make other new additions by then as well, with strengthening in defence surely a priority.
Speculation seems to be growing that United could go in for AC Milan centre-back Leonardo Bonucci for around £30million, with his club in need of selling due to financial woes, according to the Daily Express.
The Italy international is one of the best players in the world in his position and after a summer break due to no World Cup involvement, he should be nice and fresh to go straight into Jose Mourinho’s first XI.
Bonucci could be partnered by Eric Bailly in what looks a strong pairing – a big improvement on Chris Smalling and Phil Jones, who played far too many games last season.
In midfield should be Fred and Nemanja Matic as mentioned, and further forward we could perhaps see Ivan Perisic, who has reportedly been in advanced talks over a move to Old Trafford, according to Get French Football News.
The Croatia international could be a very useful addition to give United more quality from wide areas, with Anthony Martial not really a winger and struggling in that department last season.
Either the Frenchman will be on the bench, or he could even leave the club as the Evening Standard link him with Chelsea after a difficult campaign in which he could not establish himself as a regular starter for United.
Meanwhile, it’s quite possible that Paul Pogba, Marouane Fellaini and Romelu Lukaku will not be ready to start on the opening day due to going so far in the World Cup.
Pogba won the competition with France, while Fellaini and Lukaku reached the semi-finals with Belgium, playing in their third place playoff just a day before the final.
Marcus Rashford also got to the semis with England, but was not a regular starter for Gareth Southgate’s side, just was he wasn’t for United in the second half of last season either, so should be ready to take Lukaku’s place up front in this somewhat make-shift side.
It’s perhaps not an ideal way to open the season, but there’s enough there especially if United get their signings done, to start with three points…