How Manchester United could line up with Pogba
The Red Devils look set to smash the world transfer record to bring in Paul Pogba from Juventus, but how might Jose Mourinho utilize him at Old Trafford?
Manchester United clearly means business. With more than three weeks still to go before the 2016-17 Premier League season kicks off the club has added Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Eric Bailly to the first-team squad, and now is on the verge of making Paul Pogba the most expensive player in history.
It all points to new boss Jose Mourinho having a far greater stock of players to choose from come the beginning of the campaign, and Pogba’s imminent signing gives the Portuguese a number of options when it comes to picking his team on a week-to-week basis this term.
Pogba has shown in his time at Juventus that with the right support around him in midfield he can play in a series of manners. While his box-to-box ability and quality in the final third stand out, he has much more to his game than just that.
So how might Mourinho employ Pogba in his United side? Goal takes a look at a few of the possibilities…
Mourinho is most familiar with a 4-2-3-1 shape, and used the formation in his opening game as United manager against Wigan on Saturday. With Michael Carrick providing the more restrained axis in midfield, Pogba could be asked to play centrally as the more attacking option of the two. That would allow Mourinho to use both Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Wayne Rooney in the attacking line behind one of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcus Rashford, with Anthony Martial able to interchange between left and right.
A change to a two-man front line could see United offer more threat around the box, especially if Mkhitarayan is the man supplying the ammunition. Alongside Bastian Schweinsteiger and Michael Carrick, Pogba may well find he has greater licence to join attacks when necessary thanks to the pair’s instincts being less adventurous than the France international.
A slight change of shape could give Pogba more freedom, with the extra midfielder (Wayne Rooney in this example) tucking in to provide extra cover when the Frenchman gets forward. Any inclination that Mourinho would use the system may give hope to the likes of Ander Herrera, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Morgan Schneiderlin and Marouane Fellaini, who could otherwise see their game-time squeezed.
Another option would be to go with a slightly more condensed version of the 4-3-2-1, allowing greater interchanging between the two midfield lines. That would possibly restrict Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Anthony Martial a little but would at least free up Pogba and Rooney some more.
The original version of this story which was published by goal.com Serie A can be viewed here.
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