Manchester United may not have got exactly what they wanted in the summer transfer window, but they now have options.
In the end, Edinson Cavani and Alex Telles arrived to support the earlier acquisition of Donny van de Beek, with United also welcoming Uruguayan teenager Facundo Pellistri in the summer too. Amad Diallo will join from Atalanta in January.
So how will the signings impact Solskjaer’s team selection? Here are four possible line ups that include some of the new boys:
New boys, old system
It is probably unlikely that Solskjaer diverges too far away from his favoured 4-2-3-1 system, even with the new signings in tow.
This is the formation that helped haul United into third place last season and gets the best from Bruno Fernandes in the No.10 role. Given how Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic performed in the 6-1 thrashing by Tottenham, there may be changes in the deeper midfield spots with Van de Beek pushing hard for a start.
Both Telles and Cavani would fit easily into this system. The Brazilian could replace Luke Shaw at left-back with Cavani possibly giving a focal point up front, around which two of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood could play.
Shaw and Telles
Solskjaer’s Plan B for much of last season was a three-man central defence, wing-backs and a double-pronged strike attack. Whether or not Cavani would suit one of those roles in this system, which is suited to counter-attacking, remains to be seen. But United have at least four forwards who could spearhead this formation.
Telles is an attacking player suited to a left wing-back role and Shaw proved himself capable of playing on the left side of a back three, alongside Harry Maguire and Eric Bailly. The extra man in defence could also allow a dream midfield trio of Pogba, Fernandes and Van de Beek.
Pellistri on the wing
Could United have a wildcard choice to play in the right-wing position that caused so much concern during the transfer window?
They did not get Sancho, Ousmane Dembele or Ismaila Sarr amid interest in all three players, with 18-year-old Pellistri arriving instead. The Uruguayan may play some Under-23 football but if he can live up to his potential, he could become a genuine option to play on the right flank instead of Greenwood, who United see as a centre-forward in the long run.
If the youngster can benefit from competing with Greenwood, Daniel James and Jesse Lingard for the spot, United might find they have a Sancho alternative after all. Their regular system requires a creative option on the right.
Star studded diamond
There has been a sense for a while that a diamond midfield might be Solskjaer’s best tactic, if he wants to get the best players on the pitch together.
That may suit both Telles and Cavani, too, with the Brazilian bombing forward to create width on the left and the former PSG striker linking up with Fernandes and company.
United may not have got their primary right-wing target, but Solskjaer certainly has options as he assesses his squad after the closure of the transfer window and going into the international break.
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