Finally it has happened. The transfer of the year – hell, the transfer of the decade. The signing of Paul Pogba has finally happened. It has been a transfer in the making after his first year at Juventus, where he showed his worth, and we have finally brought him back to Old Trafford – albeit for a sizable sum. We broke the transfer record bringing him back, and this reporter believes it was money well spent.
But there is one question lingering on every supporters mind, with all the money spent on him, How will we line up with him? I mean, if there is anyone in the squad at the moment to build around it’s him – I would also say Zlatan Ibrahimovic but he won’t be with us for much longer.(Don’t get me wrong I am excited to have him, it’s just his age puts me off when it comes to building a squad around him.)
Well one thing to keep in mind is how Jose Mourinho likes his teams to play. We have seen him almost exclusively use a double pivot nearly everywhere he has managed, and I don’t see him changing in that regard. Jose has always been very adamant about using two defensive minded midfielders – or forcing one of his midfielders to think that way like he did with Modric with great success.
So it’s safe to assume that we will utilize the double pivot, and in that double pivot we would have to see Pogba playing there. Of all the years I have seen Mourinho’s teams it’s always been this way, and he isn’t a man that tinkers with his squad much.
So if it is a double pivot, how will Pogba perform under it? Well we should get the best out of Pogba like Juventus did, and that’s with him playing box to box, and having a defensive minded player shielding behind him and in front of the back four. Naturally you would expect Schneiderlin to make the defensive midfield role to be his but I personally believe it will be Michael Carrick. I expect to see Pogba partnered in the double pivot with Michael Carrick quite a lot this season. He has long been our stalwart in that area of the pitch, and he will continue to perform there this season. Carrick has the experience to cover when Pogba moves forward in the attack, and he knows when he should be helping in the attack when Pogba is on the back foot. He is one of the best options to partner with Pogba in football at this moment. I truly believe that.
How the rest of the team will line up after this is a guess, but stick with me. Jose has long favored the 4-2-3-1 formation, and when he knows he has an advantage, he will allow that to morph more into a 4-3-3. One thing you can be sure of with Mourinho is his desire to keep clean sheets. He would rather win 1-0 than 10-3. So you can expect to see a rigid 4-2-3-1 most of the time.
I would assume that Wayne Rooney would then be moved to the number 10 spot, as Mourinho really favors him and tried to bring him to Chelsea in his second stint at the club. He would definitely play Zlatan as the lone striker when he is fit. I would imagine that Martial will be starting on the left for most of the season like he did last season once Rashford broke onto the scene. When it comes to who play’s on the right wing, it’s all about who’s form is better at that moment, or who Mourinho believes can work for him and put in a defensive shift as well. If this preseason has told us anything, Jesse Lingard is ready to make a first team impact but can he oust Mkhitaryan from the first team?
When it comes to how we will line up, it all comes down to Mourinho’s tactics. I have watched him and studied him for quite a while now, and one thing that’s for certain is his players mold to his tactics, not the other way around.