Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane have been two world class signings for Manchester United this summer, but there are other players in the squad who could provide as much of a boost for manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in 2021/22 as the new recruits.
First, Donny van be Beek has looked fit and strong in pre-season training and reports suggest that there is a gritty determination from the Dutchman this season to prove his worth at Old Trafford.
A confident Van de Beek, playing like he did for Ajax, would be a tremendous asset for United, especially if Solskjaer can find a place for him behind or alongside Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba in the mooted 4-3-3 formation he is reportedly keen to try.
Another player who could have a breakthrough season for the Reds is Amad Diallo. The Ivorian is clearly one of the most talented teenagers on the planet but his delayed move from Atalanta last season left him little opportunity to make his mark at Old Trafford.
Solskjaer admitted in today’s press conference that ‘he’s doing really, really well in training’ before adding ‘I wouldn’t be surprised if he stayed.’
Whilst the manager has an embarrassment of riches on the wings, with Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, Mason Greenwood and potentially Anthony Martial, there could still be plenty of opportunities for Amad if he is promoted above Daniel James in the pecking order, something that must surely happen as soon as possible.
Back in defence, Diogo Dalot could feature this season if only because Atletico Madrid have decided to play hardball over Solskjaer’s preferred right back option, Kieran Trippier.
With Brandon Williams set to go to Norwich on loan, Dalot might be ‘Hobson’s choice’ for Solskjaer as right back cover, but the Portuguese international could be ready to sieze the opportunity with both hands.
He was outstanding for Portugal’s Under 21s this summer, which earned him a late call-up to the senior side after Joao Cancelo contracted Covid-19. He acquitted himself well in Euro 2020.
Dalot now has a point to prove at club level and is in blistering form, so could be one of the surprises of 2021/22.
Finally, watching an in-form Anthony Martial banging in goals for United is not the unlikely scenario that many expect it to be.
Many fans wrote Martial off after a horrible 2020/21, but despite the widespread belief that the Frenchman could not cope with the competition provided by Edinson Cavani for the number nine spot, the fact is that Martial’s campaign was blighted with a number of health and injury issues.
Martial endured an illness in November, a thigh muscle strain in December, a knock followed by a hip injury in March and a ruptured knee ligament that ended his season early.
With a clean bill of health this season, there is every possibility that the 25-year-old could find the form that saw him score 23 goals and provide 12 assists in 2019/20, especially with the service from the right wing that Sancho is expected to provide.