Thursday, February 2, 2023

How Will This Record Breaking Transfer Influence Manchester United Tactically?

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Rainar Angelo
An ardent follower of Manchester United who in his spare time likes to unravel mysteries of football and music. He also believes in continuously interacting with people in order to view things from a different perspective.

The likely arrival of Pogba to Manchester United will see the midfield played around him implying a possible change of tactics from Jose Mourinho. This being said it appears that the former Red Devil will now return to his former club for an insane sum which seems to be the world’s most expensive transfer (it’s not official till it’s done). The player who was denied an opportunity to prove himself under Sir Alex Ferguson could be a vital cog in the club’s route to being a world power in football again.

After 5 years, Paul Pogba will be part of a new era, a ‘new era’ which we believe will be in the right direction for the club and fans alike. The rumors surrounding Schweinsteiger’s potential departure under Jose shows that he is ruthless as can be. The fans are taken back but it doesn’t seem in the least to be surprising. The German International is one of the highest paid players and with his age plus injury woes, being a regular, with the intensity of the Premier League seems to be out of the question. No one would pay such wages and expect a player to do cameo performances. It’s brutal regarding a player of such status but the truth hurts and with the wages United are paying the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimović, Rooney and potentially Pogba it’s only natural that Schweinsteiger would have to leave. This also brings some interesting tactical queries. What will Mourinho switch to this season?

The good old 4-2-3-1

Mourinho has always trusted the classic 4-2-3-1 with a two-man midfield consisting of one defensive midfielder, a supportive central midfielder and a proper number 10 in front of the two. However, based on past teams and performances, the best way to unleash Pogba on the opposition is a free role as a central midfielder where he takes on defenses with his dribbles and gritty nature. The potential partnership is with Schneiderlin but the Frenchman is a box-to-box midfielder who was used in a more defensive role under Louis Van Gaal. There is no proper combo United can deploy to play a 4-2-3-1 unless the opposition is no big threat. It is a risk United can take by outscoring the opponent.

This is where the United midfield stands and potentially will line up this way. Unfortunately, Carrick cannot play games in and out like he used to and Herrera is a more attack-minded player despite his ability to win the ball.

4-3-3

The current United squad is a potential success with a 4-3-3 mainly because of the midfielders they possess. Paul Pogba thrives in such a midfield as we have seen at Juventus with the likes of Pirlo and Marchisio forming an intimidating opposition to any team. Pogba relishes the role of moving forward whenever he can, his take-ons are pure class and his off the ball movement is brilliant as well. This is limited in a 4-2-3-1 due to the lack of an extra man, but with a 4-3-3 United could be seeing their money’s worth and would easily be a midfield to reckon with. The likes of Martial and Mkhitaryan can easily attack from the flanks. It’s what they do best and the balance of the team is at its best.

France's midfielder Paul Pogba heads the ball during the Euro 2016 final football match between Portugal and France at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, on July 10, 2016. / AFP / MIGUEL MEDINA (Photo credit should read MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images)
France’s midfielder Paul Pogba heads the ball during the Euro 2016 final football match between Portugal and France at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, on July 10, 2016. / AFP / MIGUEL MEDINA (Photo credit should read MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images)

We do not as of now where the team stands. The lack of preparation has been evident, thanks to a poor preseason in China and the arrival of Pogba has been taking a fair amount of time considering the paperwork involving such a huge transfer it’s harder than it sounds. Mourinho has done well, but it remains to be seen as to how long will the current squad blend as a team and fight for a spot to regain Champions League football next season if not the Premier League title.

We can, however, conclude that Pogba as a defensive midfielder is a hindrance to his true abilities. It’s not right to use a player in roles not unleashing his full potential; certainly not someone who will end up being the world’s most expensive transfer.

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