Man Utd's potential XI under Thomas Tuchel with Chelsea boss on their shortlist

  • Kobe Tong

Thomas Tuchel managing Manchester United is certainly a heady thought.

With the Red Devils set to appoint a new permanent coach in the summer once Ralf Rangnick moves upstairs, the search for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s full-time replacement has intensified in recent weeks.

It seems as though Mauricio Pochettino and Erik ten Hag are the leading candidates to lead United next season, but you can certainly forgive them for investigating the possibility of recruiting Tuchel.

Tuchel on Man Utd’s shortlist

That’s because the sensitive situation at Chelsea in wake of the UK Government sanctioning Roman Abramovich has placed a huge question mark over the future of many key figures at Stamford Bridge.

And while the prospect of Tuchel standing in the Old Trafford technical area might feel like a pipe dream, there are multiple reports claiming that United are genuinely interested in the Champions League winner.

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Let’s start easy: who’s this iconic character?

The Guardian reported this week that United are monitoring Tuchel’s situation at Chelsea, including him on their managerial shortlist along with Pochettino, Ten Hag, Julen Lopetegui and Luis Enrique.

It’s claimed that Chelsea’s current problems have “alerted the Old Trafford hierarchy to the potential availability of Tuchel” with the club said to be understandably impressed by the German’s CV.

Man Utd 0-1 Atletico Madrid Match Reaction (Football Terrace)

How would United look under Tuchel?

So, ok, it might well seem highly unlikely that Tuchel would swap Premier League giants over the summer, but the fact that United are considering the possibility meant that we couldn’t resist thinking it through.

In fact, we whipped out the tactics board and started to wonder how the Old Trafford club would line up in a crazy world where Tuchel really did say ‘auf wiedersehen’ to his current employers.

And the result is certainly an exciting one with the prospect of Tuchel implementing his 3-4-3 formation promising exactly the sort of fresh direction that United need to shake off all the troubles of the last nine years.

Soccer Football – Premier League – Manchester City v Chelsea – Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain – January 15, 2022 Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel REUTERS/Peter Powell EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club /league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

United’s potential XI with Tuchel in charge

We’re not going to jump the shark by parachuting in tonnes of new signings, but rather imagine who United might feasibly sign and sell if they did manage to spectacularly raid Chelsea for their manager.

So, strap yourselves in and join us down a hypothetical wormhole by picturing how United would line up for the 2022/23 season with Tuchel in the dugout because it’s certainly thrilling – check it out:

How Man Utd could line up under Thomas Tuchel.

Let’s be honest here, that doesn’t look half bad, does it?

The dream appointment?

While appointing Pochettino and Ten Hag might seem far more realistic, there’s very good reason to think that Tuchel would nevertheless prove the optimal appointment given his stunning track record at Chelsea.

Deploying his 3-4-3 formation would cradle United’s defence in the bubblewrap that they need with Harry Maguire given far more protection in the Antonio Rudiger role where he could lean into his penetrative forward runs.

Not only that, but Victor Lindelof’s flirtation with the right-back position makes him a perfect Cesar Azpilicueta analogue, while Diogo Dalot and Alex Telles’ attacking attributes would finally be optimised.

Soccer Football – Champions League – Round of 16 Second Leg – Manchester United v Atletico Madrid – Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain – March 15, 2022 Manchester United’s Alex Telles and Bruno Fernandes REUTERS/Phil Noble

However, all of this hinges upon United signing the type of top-class defensive midfielder that could hold the formation together because Fred and Scott McTominay sadly aren’t cut out to channel N’Golo Kante.

That’s where Declan Rice comes in because although the West Ham United hero reportedly prefers a Chelsea move, the drama at Stamford Bridge might allow the Red Devils to get their hands on him.

And the England star’s ability to mix both top-class defensive screening with knife-through-butter runs forward would make him the perfect Duracell bunny to bring the energy alongside Bruno Fernandes.

Soccer Football – Europa League – West Ham United Training – West Ham Training Ground, London, Britain – March 16, 2022 West Ham United’s Declan Rice during training Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge

Marry that to Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and whoever you prefer out of Marcus Rashford and Anthony Elanga bringing the ammunition up front, and it’s easy to fall in love with a Tuchel-led United.

But like we say, even though United seem to have their eye on the world and European champion, it would be ambitious to get overly besotted with the idea of Tuchel moving to the ‘Theatre of Dreams’.

Then again, stranger things have happened. Stranger things have happened…

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