Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is preparing his players for a major shift in tactics this season, opting for an ultra-attacking 4-3-3 style. The Norwegian is considering dropping his trusted midfield pairing of Fred and Scott McTominay in favour of only one holding midfielder in order to accommodate new recruit Jadon Sancho as well as star midfielders Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes in the same starting 11.
The club must sign a ball-playing centre back to make the plan work, with Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane top of the club’s list.
Last season, Solskjaer used a very similar starting line-up as the squad finished second in the Premier League and advanced to the Europa League final. A double holding midfield pivot of McTominay and Fred, who played 28 times together in all competitions, was a regular presence.
However, with the club wanting to establish a true title campaign for next season and go deep in the Champions League after being knocked out of the group stage last season, he is looking to freshen up his team and make them more offensive so that new acquisition Sancho can shine.
A three-man midfield might also be a lifeline for Donny van de Beek, who only made four Premier League starts after a £40 million move from Ajax last season. Over the course of the season, some fans became tired of Solskjaer’s 4-2-3-1 configuration, so the possibility of a more forward formation will excite them, albeit the squad may lose some of the security that comes with playing two defensive midfielders.
That is why the team is so eager to sign a world-class central defender who can come forward and help the midfield. Varane, who has a year left on his Real Madrid contract, is widely seen as United’s first candidate. United are also said to be looking at Real Madrid’s city rivals Atletico Madrid for a new right back, with the goal of bringing Kieran Trippier in to compete with Aaron Wan Bissaka.