Following United’s defeat against Sevilla in the Champions League round of 16, the mood around Old Trafford was incredibly bleak. Their shock result became the subject of a media storm regarding the shortcomings of Mourinho’s credentials to take United forward into a new era of success, but recent reports suggest that he still has the pedigree to attract talent of the highest quality to Old Trafford.
The report, which comes to us via Sport, claims that Mourinho has persuaded Bale (valued at £63 million by Transfermarkt) to swap Madrid for Manchester this summer, in a deal which would see Bale return to the Premier League for the first time since 2013. United’s interest in Bale is only natural considering his immense level of talent, but it will be intriguing to see where Mourinho fits him into his current United set-up as he is already spoiled for choice in attacking midfield positions.
The likes of Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial, Alexis Sanchez and Marcus Rashford have all been handed opportunities to impress on the left-side of United’s midfield this season, so keeping all of his players happy will be a difficult task for Mourinho to undertake following Bale’s arrival.
One avenue which the Portuguese manager will certainly need to explore is deploying the aforementioned players in different positions next season, and if he take this route then Marcus Rashford should be set to move into a centre-forward role once again.
Rashford is naturally a striker by trade, but he has been forced to adapt to a number of attacking midfield roles this season, mostly on the left-wing. Mourinho’s decision to play Lukaku upfront almost unconditionally has forced him out wide, but that cannot continue to be the case if Bale is brought into the squad.
With Bale, Rashford, Martial, Lingard and Sanchez all to chose from, something has to budge, and Rashford’s preference to play up-front should result in a new challenge for him next season whilst going head-to-head with Lukaku for a starting berth.
Of course, Rashford’s form has been up and down this season, and so a change could help him.
Fighting Lukaku will be an incredibly tough challenge for Rashford to embark on at just 20-years-of-age, but the potential and maturity he has demonstrated during his Red Devils career so far suggests he will have no trouble adapting to his new role at the club.
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