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17 Jul 2014 12:31:37
Eds, with Gundogan looking like he will return from injury next month, is there any likelyhood of an attempt to bring him in to partner Herrera?

He seems like an ideal partner, clever and a good passer who likes to sit a bit deeper than Herrera, where he could protect the back four when Herrera goes forward.


{Ed002's Note - No.}

1.) 17 Jul 2014 20:37:19
Said with such hope-crushing finality ;)

Oh well, thanks for the answer anyway ed.

2.) 17 Jul 2014 20:38:43
I was honestly hoping that our interest in Nigel "Kung fu" de Jong would be higher than it appears to be, first time poster btw guys and oddly I don't have any connections or sources at old Trafford or carrington, don't live next to rooney and I don't look after Nicky butts Nan's cats when she goes to the seaside for the weekend, so everything I say will be opinion based :)

3.) It would be good for us to have a pool of top class box to box midfielders to sign from. At the moment it seems we have had an interest in Enzo Perez (who I thought was very good in the world cup semi&final, ) and of course Vidal.

If we add a few more to that list, we might find prices dropping as their respective clubs realise they don't have the power to hold us to ransom. The possibility of a deal being struck increases the wider we are spread our net.

Gundogen is in that bracket and is a good target for me. U have to wander though will he be the same player with all those injuries he sustained? Its hard to say unless they let us do a medical on him before agreeing a fee.

4.) We just signed Herrera, so I would think a more defensive option as both short term cover and long term replacement for Carrick would be more of a concern than another b2b.

5.) Im not exactly sure, but I think Van Gaal's system accomodates 2 of these sorts of players. We have been trying to sign Vidal afterall, having already signed Herrera.

I think there's a deep playmaker, responsible for closing down in front of the back 4. His job is to be a defensive midfielder when out of possession, and a ball playing midfielder when in possession.
I think Herrera will fill that role.

Then there is a box to box player, who plays a very simple game. One two's always making themselves available for passes, - going up and down the pitch. De Jong was doing that role in the Netherlands team. If we get a world class player in this role, I think their responsability might be upgraded a bit. I think Vidal might have been targeted to play this role.

The third midfielder is an attacking midfielder and I think one of Rooney or Mata will play there. That was the reason we dropped out of the race for Toni Kroos if i'm not mistaken.

The Vidal speculation might have just been fiction, so I may be wrong, but I think we are still in the market for one of these box to box players.

6.) I still wouldn't mind seeing Carvalho coming into our midfield. He looks like a very good option in front of the back 4. Reads the game well and his quick distribution would be ideal for players like Herrera and Mata. The only problem is the reported 37 mil price tag.

7.) Herrera isn't a defensive midfielder though. He's more like a box to box player, and he definitely likes to come forward from central midfield and get involved in attacks. He's definitely also got the energy to get up and down the pitch.

At Bilbao he mainly played as a kind of box-to-box playmaker although he's also spent periods playing further up behind the striker as a number 10, but he's not as good there.

8.) Personally I'm expecting Carrick or a new defensive mid hanging back and moving the ball around, Herrera or Vidal (if we get him) as box-to-box, Mata behind the striker/s

9.) I only know what a poster on here explained about 6 weeks ago with respect to LVG's tactics. You may have seen the post aswell. He followed Dutch football for many years and seemed to know a lot about Van Gaal's system, which was explained in a long post.

When we signed Herrera I assumed he looked like a box to box player too, but after watching him I noticed his 2 main strengths seemed to be creativity and an ability to win possession. Even though he played higher up, his qualities will be wasted if he plays what the post described as a "limited" box to box position, in which the player makes himself available for passes and plays short one two's in triangles. There was also a deeper central midfield position according to the post, that required a creative player to do a lot of running off the ball, and to create when in possession.

Vidal is not a creative player. He dosen't play longer passes, through passes, or dictate tempo like a Xavi/Scholes. If it is true we are interested in Vidal, he would surely have to take the "limited, " box to box position, but would probably be given some freedom to be more expansive, given his ability. I would imagine that would involve him bursting into the box to score goals, and taking long shots when there are opportunties. that's the exact role he is currently playing at Juventus. He will not play as a deep creative player if he arrives.

It wouldn't surprise me to see Herrera rotated between box to box, and deep midfield, if we are not able to sign Vidal, or the likes of Enzo Perez. If one of the 2 come in, Herrera will have to move to the deeper position, or sit on the bench. I would be surprised if we paid 30m, while expecting to sign another player that will put him on the bench.

10.) He's not disciplined enough.

The guy shielding the back four needs to position himself to intercept or block off passes, slow the opponents play and break the rythm and momentum of attacks. Not rush around chasing balls down and closing players down to put them under pressure and force mistakes.

That's what Fletcher used to do, but he wasn't expected to protect the back 4, that was Hargreaves or Carricks job.

I do know the post you are referring to, but I don't see why the number 8 role has to be a "simple" box-to-box role, unless that's the players he has.

He's used more technical or creative players in that sort of role before. In fact I think I even remember him using Ribiery to bring the ball forward out of central midfield on occasion when he was at Bayern

11.) 18 Jul 2014 09:41:20
I think this is a shout to Shappy on the Van Gaal tactics.
Personally I think Carrick was lined up for the holding roll until Strootman could be brought in.whether his injury changes things I don't know?
Personally I would have a 3 of Strootman, Vidal, Harera. would put doubt on 1 or 2 of Rooney/Mata/Kagawa as I don't see them as part of an attacking 3.
That said if Van gaal adopts the 442 diamond of Liverpool then there is scope to fit them in
Interesting summer ahhead

12.) Your right about Strootman Brad. I think LVG rates him highly because he is a perfect fit for the holding role.

Based on the point Shappy was making, the idea is that the holding role in LVG's system is unusal.

If your a holding playmaker, u will have more industrious players in front for protection, and u will not have defensive responsabilities. Italian sides often do this. Pirlo behind De Rossi and Marchisio.

If you are a defensive midfielder, you clear things up at the back, and feed the ball simply to the attacking players.

LVG's use of the holding player is unusual because they are both the playmaker and the defensive midfielder. U can see why he favours Strootman. I expect to see Carrick in the role, because there is no other position for him, not because it suits him.

LVG wants a player like Strootman in the position, who has athletic qualities and the passing game. I believe Herrera will have been signed to play this role. His game is similar to Strootman. Physical, athletic & great passing ability.

Herrera can play box to box if needed, and Strootman has also spent much of his career as a box to box player. Herrera's best position in the system Shappy highlighted, will be the deep midfield role. Herrera is an obvious choice for that position just as Strootman is. It is also consistent with the idea that Vidal has been targeted for the other Midfield role.

13.) I understand the system, it's more or less what I've been hoping we'd start using for the last few years.

I don't see the similarity between Herrera and strootman though. Strootman is a little slower, and has a better range of passing. Herrera is trickier, and likes to use shorter passing, flicks and one-two's as well as technical dribbling to take defenders out of the game and open space. He's also not as physically strong, although he does still yet stuck in.

Think along the lines of a less developed version of Iniesta, but who has the energy and tenacity to get stuck in defensively as well, and to get up and down the pitch like Roy Keane.

We'll have to wait and see, but if he is shoe-horned into the defensive role I will be very, very surprised, as well as dissapointed. The potential link-up of Herrera and Mata is mouth-watering.

14.) Thome, please properly investigate before making comments. It dosent help people who come on the site to get a better idea about players. I incllude myself in that category. I don't make comments just to fit my personal theories. I watch the players and try to understand what their qualities are. I also read other posts like Shappy's, and take the time to understand the points they are making.

Strootman is either as fast, - and is probably faster, than Herrera. Herrera has good stamina and speed, but Strootman is a genuine athlete.

If you want to get an idea of Strootman's capacity to accelerate watch Strootman 2014 videos on youtube.

If you watch some of these videos, you'll also notice the box to box role Strootman features in. This is a player that LVG converted into his holding role player for the Netherlands, -LVG is a big fan of Strootman as we know and viewed him as a key part of his system in the Dutch national team.

Herrera is not the same type of player as Iniesta. That is fairly obvious and it is not down to a difference in quality. Iniesta is an out and out attacking midfielder. Herrera is as defensive minded, as he is attacking minded.

Herrera has changed position a lot in the Athletic team. When he plays higher up, he plays right midfield/wing, of a midfield 3. His role is not an as an attacking midfielder in this position. He services forward players, and wins possession.

It is not disimilar to Ji Sung Park in 2006-9, used as a defensive winger to counter Ronaldo's free role on the opposite wing, - or the right midfield position Gennaro Gattuso (a defensive midfielder) used to play for AC Milan.

If you still don't think Herrera can play deeper, something he actually did many times at Athletic, watch the Europa League game highlights of Herrera vs United, at Old Trafford.

Anyone can see these things by watching videos and highlights on youtube, which i'm sure we all do. Before posting comments such as "Herrera is faster than Strootman, " try to remember we are in the 21st century, and can all learn a lot about players with an internet connection.

15.) YouTube videos aren't a great way to judge a player, they tend only to show the best moments. I expect anyone watching a YouTube highlights video of Nani would think they were looking at one of the world's very best players, but we know that's not true. I'm not judging by those, but I'm not just making stuff up to fit my opinion.

I usually watch mostly dutch and German football, in addition to EPL obviously, but ever since I got excited about Herrera (thanks partly to those misleading YouTube videos) last summer, I've tried to watch his games, because I always thought we'd go back in for him, and I've watched him a little over a dozen times this season, as well as watching older games from the season before. I haven't rewatched our games against them from Europe, but I seem to remember Javi Martinez playing the holding role, not Herrera.

I must admit I haven't watched Strootman this season, but in the Netherlands he always struck me as too slow over distances of 30 yards or more, and I worried he'd be too slow getting back and would be left behind by counter attacks if he came here (obviously not a problem if he takes Carricks role). Yes he gets moving quite quickly, that's not the same. Maybe I'm remembering him as slower than he is though, if so, my mistake.

When I mentioned Iniesta, I meant in the way he is happy receiving the ball in tight space, and having the control and technique to play or bring the ball out past his markers. Obviously Herrera is different in many ways, and yes that includes being very capable defensively (although I would dispute his being as defensively minded as he is attack minded).

I know he is capable of playing a defensive role, but he lacks discipline so he gives away too many fouls and leaves gaps by closing down too aggressively, so it's not his best position and he looks far more comfortable pressing and winning the ball higher up the pitch.

I'm not saying he can't play that role, just that it would be a waste of his attacking talent, and others could do it better.

After we payed a significant price for him, I don't want to see him wasted. Anderson was a bright attacking talent when he came to us, but after a few years of being forced into a defensive role he didn't fit he had lost his confidence, picked up too many injuries, seemed to lose interest, and started turning into the chubby party animal we have today.

I don't want the same to happen to Herrera.

16.) If you watch player highlights from individual games, - that is every touch a player has in the course of a match, you will get a good idea of the type of position the player plays and what their qualities are. There are a dozen or so you can watch on Herrera.

I do not watch highlights showing goals and skills.



31 Jan 2014 11:54:22
I've been hearing a lot of chatter this morning about a bid being planned for Guarin, nothing concrete though yet.

Would be an improvement if true.


1.) Personally all my enthusiasm since the Mata deal has gone. Utd had the chance to really push on but for whatever reason have not done so (unless something out of the ordinary happens). personally not sure Guarin long term is what we need but if it is a swap loan with Nani I will take that all day long.
Maybe try and get Otamendi/Garay in to add some Argentinian steel to the defense and then hope for the best!

2.) Guarin would be at least something/someone!

3.) Not sure he's the answer long term either, but he'd be a real improvement on Cleverly. Good option to play alongside Carrick, and he'd be great as third choice, playing backup to Vidal next season.



18 Dec 2013 17:30:06
Copied from beeb:

Sevilla playmaker Ivan Rakitic, who has been linked with a possible January move to Manchester United, Chelsea or Liverpool, expresses frustration with his side's lack of progress. "Such is the nature of our business. I'm in Seville for three years now and in this time many things have changed, " the 25-year-old told Slovakian website Nogomania. "If there is no success, if there are no trophies, frustration grows. Everything has changed."

Ed, do you know of any interest from utd? If so, would he be available in jan and would he be the central playmaker utd need?


{Ed002's Note - The long term interest in him is from Lazio where he was expected to move in the summer. Personally I do not see him moving in January.}

1.) I remember Rakitic moving to Sevilla for around 4.5 - 5 million a while back, it was around the same time SAF said there was no value in the market. He was still a good player then but more of a poor mans Modric. I'm not convinced he'd be that great for is though for the money being quoted but he is good from set pieces which is something we don't have in abundance either.

2.) Would rather go for Matic to be honest. both are quite pricey



08 Mar 2013 12:37:15
How many of those who said Rooney would leave still stand by that in the wake of SAF's comment this morning?

Or are you going to tell us he's playing mind games?

Get over it Rooney is still the beating heart of the team just look at the effect he had when he came on against Real.


1.) Did you honestly expect him to say anything else.
'He's finished'
'We're desperate to get rid of him'
'Not fit enough'
Would knock millions off his price in one swipe.

2.) He may or may not leave. Do you not remember when SAF said that he wouldn't even sell Madrid a virus, nevermind Ronaldo? Well where is Ronaldo now? Point proven.

3.) I wouldn't expect the manager to say anything different. We have a league title to win.


4.) I also seem to recall a Mr Ferguson saying Beckham wouldn't leave United and that he wouldn't sell Madrid a virus! let's just wait and see what happens come the summer. If he goes he goes the club will go on. If he stays then brilliant!

5.) What effect was that, he missed a sitter from 6 yards. Hernandez would have scored that with his eyes shut.
Was he the heart beat of the team when he came to pure season a stone overweight?
He has shown that he couldn't be professional enough to control his weight let alone the ball!

6.) If you think he's going to come out & say that's it were getting rid of rooney at the end of the season. Than you need to give your head a good shake.

7.) As far as I can recall, Sir Alex never did sell them a virus, just a player who he had already acknowledged would go there sooner or later. he was just trying to get an acceptable price.

Beckham was different due to a major falling out, which clearly hasn't happened here as evident from Rooneys demeanor when they arrived for the Real game.

8.) "Beating Heart beat" How old are you and we obviously were dead on tuesday because he was not playing until the 75 minute.


9.) Ronaldo, beckham van nistilrooy all players in there prime when they left united all to madrid

10.) Ye - we got beat and he missed a sitter

11.) What effect?

How about the one where he fired everyone else up, and drove the team on. He does it all the time and that is why I called him the beating heart of the team.

Rooney epitomizes the determination, drive, passion and unyielding will to win which characterizes utd under SAF. It's what has enabled utd to win so many league titles even when our squad looks weaker than our rivals on paper. It was one of the things Keano brought to the team and so does Rooney. He leads by example and makes the team try harder.

12.) Beckham wasn't in his prime, we moved him on as we had Ronaldo coming in to replace him. It was good business as his value would have declined with every year.

As for Ronaldo, he always wanted to play for REal Madrid so had no choice.

Then as good as Van Nistelrooy was, we weren't exactly at our most successful when he was at United

13.) We got beat and fergy has said this in previous years stam keane Rudd v etc




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19 Feb 2021 09:52:23
12 minutes isn't much to judge a player on, but I liked the look of what I saw from Amad. He showed a willingness to do the defensive work, and he did it intelligently, watching passing lanes etc.

Nice bit of skill by the touchline to escape from two opponents and scare the third into a clumsy foul.

Looking forward to seeing what he can do given a bit more time.


1.) 19 Feb 2021 10:22:45
I have to agree Thorne. He looks a very confident lad and seems to have the pace, energy and skills to take people on and what he did on the touchline with 3 opponents close to him was fantastic.

A very short cameo but I am excited as well to see him given more opportunities and minutes on the pitch.

2.) 19 Feb 2021 14:42:13
When Dan James scored his goal, Diallo had burst all the way forward right to the goal line. He was probably only one shoe size away from nicking the goal off DJ. Encouraging to see that sort of instinct in one of our forwards.

3.) 19 Feb 2021 15:26:28

It's too early but the signs are really encouraging and if we believe the reports that everyone at the club are really impressed by him and if he could just keep improving and show glimpses of what he is capable given more opportunities then we could soon have a skillful player on the flanks who could get us on the edge of our seats.



11 May 2019 17:32:42
Really finding it hard to believe that we couldn't manage to keep Herrera. I know he asked for a big contract, but he was worth it, and it will cost us much more to get a replacement anywhere near his quality.

Worse, it comes at a time when we already lack depth in midfield, Matic is slowly declining, and Pogba looks set to leave. Are we really going to bring in 3 first team midfielders this summer? On top of the right winger, a right back.


1.) 11 May 2019 18:01:33
Instead of renewing jones and young that money could've gone on Ander and saved 30-50 million in the market on replacing him. Jones could've been replaced internally and young wouldn't have cost as much to replace.



13 Jul 2014 00:29:29
So now that the Dutch players are on there way home, which ones are we likely to see following LVG to Manchester?

My money is on Blind as cover for Shaw and midfield, maybe Classie as understudy to Carrick for this season and long term replacement?

Any thoughts guys? Eds?


{Ed004's Note - only two I would consider would be de Virgl and blind. Obviously robben isn't an option. Possibly Strootman in January}

1.) 13 Jul 2014 02:25:34
Would love to see Robben here but its not going to happen

2.) 13 Jul 2014 05:55:40
Yeah. Vrjil also for me

3.) 13 Jul 2014 08:12:38
If we are going to be linked with de Vrij can we at least make sure we start to spell his name. I think the two on this post are the 15th and 16th different spellings of the name so far!

4.) I've been really impressed with De Vrij, very solid at the back. To be fair, so have Vlaar and Martins Indi, although Indi looks like he has a mistake in him - still a little raw. Less impressed with Blind.

Wijnaldum also looked strong as an action packed box to box, good ball retention, excellent defensive cover but also prepared to drive forward and run past the strikers if necessary.

To be honest, just hope he brings back the real RVP, rather than the imposter who turned up for Davey Moyes last season.

5.) Virgie, blind, indi jamat for me.

6.) For me blind, depay, and then maybe strootman in jan.

I was impressed with de vrij however I would rather us go all out for an established more experienced cb such as hummels, and get jones back on track. I kno a lot of people said he went backwards last year but I think we'd struggle to name a player that didn't last year

7.) I'd rather we leave Indi alone for the time being I personally feel Vlaar and De Vrij were much better.

8.) LvG got a lot more out of that squad than most could have done but as with MOTD or You Tube fever there is often World Cup fever. Players look decent for a few games and some think they are then good enough. We don't need good squad players, we have plenty of those, we need top quality in my opinion in three positions with also an eye on a cover for left back. Out of the Dutch squad, who considerably over achieved, perhaps Robben but his age is against him, not sure about any others.

9.) De Vrij for me would be great, looked very composed and years ahead of his age and would be set for years.
Martins indi is done to Porto I understand and will be announced this week.
I would take jaanmat to push Rafael and Blind as cover for Shaw or holding midfield.
I don't see a mass influx immediately but Maybe some surprises with youngsters with the under 21 manager coming in too.

10.) I would like to see one of blind or indi. Blind because he can offer cover for the left back spot which we will need due to the impending loss of Evra and he is definitely better in midfield than either clevs or fellaini. Or indi because he can play cb and then the left back spot if shaw gets injured

11.) Very impressed with de vriij over the whole tournament quietely got on with his job, had another solid game last night.



02 Sep 2013 21:14:51
Nick Powell has gone to Wigan on loan. Cleverley got good experience there and they play nice passing football, so I reckon it's a good place for him to go.

More importantly, it only leaves us with Carrick, Cleverley, Ando (chronically unfit), Fletch (long term health issues) and Giggs (too old to be played too regularly) for central midfield. Surely this suggests at least one cm target is almost done?


1.) Hopefully Powell will get regular football and will stay fit which is a worry imo.

2.) Yeah Cleverley's experience there done him a world of good eh. He's rotten.

3.) Cleverly looked like a really good player til he had that injury hit season



21 Mar 2013 20:09:00
I was wondering if any eds or anyone else can shed any light on the story about Toure and his contract?

If he does look to move on, how far-fetched would our chances be of signing him?

I would have thought SAF would love to nab one of City's best players, and he would be an instant solution to our cm problem. He has to be one of the best all round midfielders going, good on the ball, can win the ball, physically dominate opposition midfielders and score too. Also great at bursting runs out of midfield.

Personally I'd rather get him than any other cm I can think of, even Iniesta, Fabregas etc. As he'd suit our play better.

Any chance of it happening? {Ed002's Note - No.}





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12 Apr 2021 22:37:20
I like Neves, not sure he's what we need though. IMO we need a modern equivalent to Carrick, who can block passing lanes and slow attacks long enough for us to get players back.

That would let us use players like Pogba or DVB more effectively in midfield, because they would have more freedom to push high up the pitch.

At the moment, we regularly see comments moaning about Ole using 2 holding midfielders, but the truth is we don't HAVE 2 holding midfielders. Fred and McT both want to run around, chasing the ball and pressuring people, but that forces their partner to hang back, which stops Pogba or DVB doing what they do best. We need someone with more positional discipline.




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03 Oct 2020 17:50:31
No Trololo, because again, Porto don't really want to sell him.

Porto have a choice, they can sell for less than they value him for, or they can hold out for their valuation and risk losing him on a free in a year.

They may feel that they can afford to replace him better in a years time, even without getting a fee for him. Or they may think we'll sign someone else instead, and that he'll then be willing to sign a new contract.

Either way, it's still a different situation to Smalling, who we actually want to get rid of.




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26 Sep 2020 09:26:19
Well not all of us follow golf RobbieWood, didn't know they used a league structure now.




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18 Sep 2020 23:09:41
That's cruel.

Some poor farmer or someone might actually need a donkey, call that number and get stuck with Phil Jones.

Sure he can probably haul a load, but he'll spend all harvest injured, and his gurning will traumatize the other animals.




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18 Sep 2020 09:32:56
I don't understand why anyone praises the "not selling our unwanted on the cheap" policy.

Now, with a player like Lukaku, in the prime of his career and a very good player, who just doesn't fit our style, ok. You want to recoup as much as you can on one like this.

But players like Smalling etc? Totally different. Holding out for this marginally higher fee makes the club look greedy, incompetent, and like they have no respect for players who have given us most of their career.

We used to let these kind of players go fairly cheap. That was a GOOD policy. It let us move on players on large wages and get them off the wage bill. It also improved our image among players, because it told them that we valued their years of service.

Our current policy makes it look like we don't value the years of service, and it is costing us money, because we aren't getting a higher fee, we're just not getting anything while we continue to pay high wages to a player we don't want any more.





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19 Feb 2021 12:01:23
I'd imagine it's because he's not happy with the inconsistency. I know in his position, I wouldn't be overjoyed at a good performance like that, I'd be annoyed that a team capable of that had played the way they did in the last few games.




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10 Feb 2021 15:39:49
I think Grealish could also add an option on the right. Plenty of times I've seen him pop up on the right during games and play fantastic passes and crosses from there, I've become convinced that he could play on the right just as effectively as the left.

He also seems like a player who can be shuffled around different positions without suffering as much as a lot of players do.




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10 Feb 2021 13:40:52
While I can see why people think this about Martial, I'm still not convinced that this is the problem. I can't quite put my finger on what it is about him, but I have a nagging feeling that the cause of his struggles is being misdiagnosed.

With Donny, I'm more in agreement. Play him at number 10 with wide playmakers rather than wide forwards, and I think he'd shine. Playing him with Pogba behind him and Mata on the right might work. Cavani up front would probably help too, as he is the type of forward who can hold up the ball and look for those runs being made around him.

The problem with that is that we can't build our entire team around what gets the best out of one player. Maybe if you have someone like Messi or Ronaldo you can do that, but much though I like Donny, he is no Messi or CR7.

However, with a proper holding midfielder who sits deep and shields the defence (a role only Matic currently fills), Donny could play more alongside Bruno rather than behind him, and Bruno is definitely a player who could find Donny in those spaces. Hell, Bruno would love having someone alongside him with that kind of movement.

The other thought I have regarding Donny is that even without that extra creativity around him, he could do well for us in big games against big teams who don't just sit back. There will be a lot more space for him to find, and it will be easier for others to find him in that space. He also offers more than Bruno in terms of pressing and winning the ball back, which synergises well with Ole's preference for Fred and McT in these games.




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30 Oct 2020 09:28:41
Agreed Shappy. I was really excited to see him come back to Utd, but I've been so disappointed with him ever since.

I've believed all this time that it is just an issue of motivation and desire, that he doesn't really want to be here, and that he is the kind of player who thrives on playing for the sheer joy of it, which isn't going to happen much when you are at a club you don't want to be at.

If I was wrong, and he just needed a system which suited him, then so be it, I'll be delighted, as that is something Ole can actually work with, and given our lack of true wingers, it may suit the rest of the team too.




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30 Oct 2020 09:12:02
In a back 3, like Shaw, I think AWB would work well, but not in a back 2, for much the reasons TRD has stated.

AWB is limited offensively, but that doesn't have to be a problem. With a LB who is the total opposite (ie excellent offensively but not great defensively) and inverted left wingers like Rashford who want to cut inside, we can play a 4231 formation but when we are on the offensive, the 2 cb's and AWB can effectively shift into a back 3 while Telles overlaps down the left and Rashford can either go inside or stay wide to create overloads wherever looks more promising. The issue then is who plays at RW.

In some ways, someone like a younger Antonio Valencia would be perfect, someone who is going to stay wide and keep it simple, bomb down the flank and whip a cross in.

Alternatively, someone like Mata as a wide playmaker could work. Would give plenty of good balls in from the flank and let us work another creative mind into the team alongside Bruno and possibly Pogba/ DVB, but it means giving up some of our counter-attacking pace, and we'll already be losing some pace whenever we play Cavani up top.

Greenwood might be a good compromise, as he has enough pace to maintain the counter-attacking threat, and he can stay wide and put crosses in or come inside to score, where the sheer quality of his finishing is enough to make up for the reduced creativity compared to having a Mata-type playmaker.