Mauricio Pochettino's potential Man Utd XI for 2021/21 if he replaces Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

  • Kobe Tong

Manchester United are in dire straits after their defeat to İstanbul Başakşehir on Wednesday night.

The Red Devils find themselves stewing in the bottom half of the Premier League table and two disastrous defensive errors saw them suffer their first Champions League defeat of the season.

As a result, the pressure is mounting on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and speculation is growing that former Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino could soon replace him.

Pochettino ready to return

Multiple reports over the last few weeks have claimed that the United hierarchy have already been in contact with Pochettino, who publicly stated on Monday that he wants to return to management.

The Argentine told Sky Sports' Monday Night Football: “I always feel ready to get back involved in the game. I love football, it’s my job.

“It’s not a stress when you are working, it’s not a stress to go into the training ground, it’s not a stress to prepare the game, it’s not a stress to compete. I am looking forward again to being involved in the game.”


Pochettino to Man Utd?

Well, if the latest murmurings are to be believed, United are willing to back Solskjaer in the short-term, but are unabashedly lining up Pochettino to replace him if the disappointing results continue.

And with United finding themselves in such a rut, I think we can be forgiven for imaging what a world where the Old Trafford club are managed by Pochettino looks like.

Recently, we drew up a potential Pochettino XI at United if the Argentine was hurriedly airdropped in, but now we're turning our attention to a long-term future under the ex-Spurs coach.


Man Utd XI under Pochettino

As a result, we have imagined what United's starting line-up might look like at the beginning of the 2021/22 season if Pochettino is backed in the upcoming January and summer transfer markets:

GK - David de Gea

I'll openly admit that I tipped Dean Henderson to be United's number one this season, but De Gea has been superb so far, proving me wrong in turn, and there's no chance 'Poch' would replace him.

RB - Aaron Wan-Bissaka

A shaky first few games of the season aside, I think we can all agree that Wan-Bissaka is one of the strongest defensive right-backs in the Premier League and more than deserving of a starting place.


CB - Harry Maguire

At the end of the day, like it or loathe it, Maguire is a world-class defender on his day and perhaps a change in the technical area would help him rediscover the superb form of his Leicester City spell.

CB - Dayot Upamecano

The first of three transfer tweaks in our starting XI and although Upamecano struggled during RB Leipzig's 5-0 loss at Old Trafford, don't let that fool you into thinking he's anything short of top-class.

The Frenchman is exactly the sort of intelligent, physical and left-sided centre-back that United need alongside Maguire and if nothing else, is streets ahead of Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof.


LB - Alex Telles

I'm a bigger fan of Luke Shaw than most, but even I have to admit that Telles offers United more going forward and I'm inclined to think Pochettino would prefer the Brazilian's deadly crosses.

CDM - Declan Rice

It could be an uphill battle for United to beat Chelsea to Rice's signature, but it's well worth trying with Nemanja Matic not getting any younger and Scott McTominay looking suspect in front of the back four.

Rice would be a dynamic and hard-working presence in midfield for Pochettino and his experience at centre-back makes him ideal for dropping back while Telles bombs forward on the left flank.


CM - Donny van de Beek

I'll make no secret of the fact I think Paul Pogba will be waving goodbye to United next summer, so it's a no-brainer playing Van de Beek in the midfield three after an impressive start to the season.


CM - Bruno Fernandes

Let's ignore his dreadful display in Istanbul for one second and remember that, by way of being United's best player on his day, the Portuguese should be the first name on Pochettino's team sheet.

RW - Jadon Sancho

Solskjaer might have experimented with the diamond recently, but I think 4-3-3 is the way forward for Pochettino if he can add some width and United shouldn't look any further than their 2020 target.

Few attacking players balance goals and assists quite as well as Sancho and his age means that United shouldn't hesitate to fork out over £100 million because it would be a long-term investment.


ST - Anthony Martial

As much as United are always on patrol for a new number nine, I think Martial should remain the number one pick and Pochettino could really coach him into a Roberto Firmino-like presence.

LW - Marcus Rashford

The bottom line is that Rashford has been United's best player this season, so it's hard to imagine any manager - whether Solskjaer stays or Pochettino arrives - dumping him out of the starting XI.


GIVEMESPORT's Kobe Tong says

If you're Solskjaer, you'd be so frustrated if United instantly backed Pochettino in a world where they do indeed sack him and bring in the Argentine.

It seems desperately predictable that United hire a manager, back them, qualify for the Champions League, stop backing them, look as though they'll miss the top four and then sack them.

It's literally the exact cycle that saw Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho bite the bullet at Old Trafford, so don't be surprised if United sack Solskjaer before they start backing the manager.


And that's why I'm incredibly wary about the club making yet another hasty managerial switch, even though I can't help admitting that the aforementioned XI would look impressive under Pochettino.

I can't deny that Solskjaer is failing to do the business at United, but it's hard to imagine a world where United make any meaningful progress as long as they keep going round in circles.

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