Manchester United want to become Premier League title contenders this season.
The 2019/20 campaign proved that the Red Devils are capable of Champions League qualification even with a dreadful start and Bruno Fernandes' arrival has only solidified their top four status.
United seeking squad depth
However, although Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men are on the rise, there's no denying that they need to make further improvements if they're planning on ending Liverpool and Manchester City's duopoly.
That being said, the signings of the Solskjaer era have been uncharacteristically shrewd and thus, the club only needs to make a few surgical purchases to put the icing on the cake.
In the words of the United boss himself after their Europa League exit: "We need to strengthen the squad depth because it's going to be a long season. So we've got to be both good, smart and clever."
A busy summer for United
We couldn't agree more, Ole, so it's positive to see that United have finally made strides in the summer market and are now just an announcement away from signing Donny van de Beek.
It's the sort of purchase that really adds the squad depth that Solskjaer was talking about in Cologne and further signings at centre-back, centre forward and on the right wing would further secure that.
And with the 2020/21 season now effectively underway with last week's Community Shield, we decided to asses how United's first-team squad could look when the window closes in October.
We've used lineupbuilder.com to show the starting XI we think Solskjaer should play this season as well as two or three alternate options in each position to highlight that desired squad depth.
United's potential 2020/21 squad
If the Old Trafford club can pull this off, then they'll be outside contenders for the Premier League without a shadow of a doubt, so check out the full squad down below:
1. Dean Henderson
2. David de Gea
3. Sergio Romero
Geeeeeeeez. This could make for the most formidable line-up of goalkeepers ever assembled because you end up having the best two back-up shot-stoppers in the world regardless of how you order them.
For me, personally, you've got to start the season backing Henderson as number one given how unreliable De Gea was in 2019/20, but this could easily be swapped if things don't work out for the Englishman.
1. Aaron Wan-Bissaka
2. Diogo Dalot
3. Timothy Fosu-Mensah
Credit to Wan-Bisska because the England international has already asserted his authority as one of the Premier League's best full-backs at just 22 years old and he's the clear starter in this position.
There's admittedly a steep drop in quality were 'The Spider' to get injured, but United are blessed with two young, up and comers on the right defensive flank in Dalot and Fosu-Mensah.
1. Harry Maguire
2. Dayot Upamecano
3. Victor Lindelof
4. Eric Bailly
5. Axel Tuanzebe
6. Phil Jones
There's no signing that is more important to United this summer than securing a world-class partner for Maguire in the heart of defence and the brilliant Upamecano from RB Leipzig looks to be the perfect man for the job.
At the point where the more-than-decent Lindelof can be your rotational centre-back, you've got pretty good depth in this position and Bailly is better than he's given credit for when he's actually on song.
It's hard to see Tuanzebe or Jones getting any Premier League game-time of note, but they could alleviate some of the burden in cup matches to aid Solskjaer with the 'long season' he refers to.
1. Luke Shaw
2. Brandon Williams
With the exception of a few poor games, Shaw has flown under the radar as one of United's best players of the last two seasons and I think suggestions that he should be usurped are a little ham-fisted.
That being said, United really do suffer whenever he's injured and although Williams is coming on leaps and bounds from the academy, the club can't consistently rely on him in big games quite yet.
1. Donny van de Beek
2. Paul Pogba
3. Nemanja Matic
5. Scott McTominay
6. Andreas Pereira
Look at the quality in that top five, in particular. It's remarkable to think that the arrival of Van de Beek could mean that United's midfield is so strong that Pogba might drop out of the starting XI.
In fact, that's what we're predicting in the short-term with Matic the most likely candidate to take up defensive responsibilities as part of a trio, while the ever-improving Fred serves as a fantastic option off the bench.
McTominay also has the makings of a top player for United whether some people like to remember it or not and I think fans will feel a lot more comfortable with Pereira being their sixth-choice midfielder.
1. Bruno Fernandes
2. Juan Mata
3. Jesse Lingard
Yes, yes, yes, we know that Van de Beek's preferred position is actually in attacking midfield, but we don't think he'll play there straight away for United when you consider Fernandes' remarkable form last season.
And we don't think he's going to be chucked straight on the bench, either, so that's why his future Portuguese collaborator dominates this position and with little in the way of top quality back-up.
Although Mata and Lingard are following up Fernandes here, I'm pretty sure that Solskjaer would play one of the aforementioned 'central midfielders' higher up the pitch before turning to either of them.
1. Jadon Sancho
2. Mason Greenwood
3. Daniel James
There's quiet hope for United once again in their quest for Sancho and Sky Sports reiterated this week that the Dortmund star remains their summer priority, regardless of the deal for Van de Beek.
So, yes, that would see more time for Greenwood on the bench, but having an ambipedal 18-year-old who's just scored 17 goals in a season for cavalary is the definition of incredible squad depth.
1. Marcus Rashford
Again, the left-hand side of the pitch is perhaps an area where United are caught short, but some of the aforementioned right wingers or even centre forwards to come would readily support Rashford.
Nevertheless, the 22-year-old is one of the first names on the team-sheet for having this position nailed down right now and there's hardly a reason to change that after bagging 22 goals last season.
1. Anthony Martial
2. Moussa Dembele
3. Odion Ighalo
There are plenty of rival fans who think Martial is overrated but, I'm sorry, he has to retain his place as United's number nine after a 23-goal season that brought flashes of Roberto Firmino during the final months.
That being said, the Frenchman needs stronger support than Ighalo and that's why we're backing United to follow up on their long-touted interest in his compatriot Dembele, who boasts 44 goals in 92 Lyon games.
GIVEMESPORT's Kobe Tong says
Is it perfect? Absolutely not. Is it one of the best in Europe? You're damn right it is.
First things first, I feel pretty confident that Sancho will follow Van de Beek through the Old Trafford entrance this summer; it's only Dembele and Upamecano that I'm not so sure about.
But with reports that United are indeed looking for better back-up to Martial than simply Ighalo, I'm inclined to Dembele is one of the more realistic and exciting purchases the Red Devils could make.
In terms of Upamecano, reports from Germany seem to have poured cold water on a deal this week, but the young RB Leipzig man remains the most touted contender at this early stage.
As for the overall squad depth, I think it's incredible and pretty much on par with Chelsea's, not that many people will agree with me because of all the spending at Stamford Bridge this summer.
Maguire,Upamecano and Lindelof makes for a stronger centre-back trio than Chelsea's, while the quartet of Fernandes, Pogba, Van de Beek and Matic also tops the equivalent in west London.
I'd much rather have Sancho in my XI than Hakim Ziyech, Rashford currently outscores Christian Pulisic on the opposite flank and Timo Werner is one of few clear victories for the Blues.
So, does this mean United are going to win the league? No, I don't think so for a minute, because Liverpool and City are still much better rounded, but I certainly expect them to give it a good go.
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