Manchester United have had a bizarre season, but it may just have a grandstand finish. The Red Devils were flat under previous manager Jose Mourinho, with the club seemingly out of the race for Champions League places. Fast forward a few months and they are in the Champions League quarter-finals after overcoming PSG in the round of 16 and they are firmly in the hunt for qualification for next season.
Silverware is still likely to escape the club for a second straight season, which isn’t good enough for a club of Man United’s stature. Fortunately, you have the opportunity to rewrite history on Football Manager 219 with the Red Devils. RealSport gives you all you need to know as you set up with the Premier League giants.
Manchester United have been criticised for their style of play ever since Sir Alex Ferguson left the club… which was six years ago. This must be changed, and the board will expect you to play attacking football as soon as you arrive at Old Trafford. United have always had a mix between homegrown talent and world superstars, so you will be expected to sign high profile players, sign young players for the first team and develop players using the club’s youth system.
As for your expectations, you will need to reach the quarter-finals of the European Champions Cup and qualify for the Champions Cup in the English Premier Division. For the FA Cup, you will be expected to reach the final. If you target the semi-finals in Europe you will receive an extra £1.4 million for your transfer budget.
There a plenty of options to go with for your tactical style at United, and it does depend on the system you want to use. We have gone with control possession, but tiki-taka, vertical tiki-taka, wing play and fluid counter-attack are all possible options.
Manchester United have tended to go for a 4-3-3 this season, but with so many attacking options, you should adjust this into a 4-2-3-1 wide. A 4-4-2 or 4-2-4 can also be used if you want two strikers on the pitch.
Star man David De Gea is in goal as Ashley Young, Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly and Luke Shaw make up the back four.
Ander Herrera and Paul Pogba are in central midfield with Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata and Alexis Sanchez in ahead of them. Romelu Lukaku leads the line in attack.
On the bench go for Lee Grant, Chris Smalling, Matteo Darmian, Nemanja Matic, Fred, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford. Sergio Romero will be your goalkeeper on the bench when he returns from injury.
Manchester United may not be at the heights they were under Sir Alex Ferguson’s tenure, but still have some of the finest players on the planet.
David De Gea – CA 4.5 star (179), PA 4.5 star (183)
The world’s best goalkeeper for many, but David De Gea is still rated beneath Bayern Munich’s Manuel Neuer (CA 186) on FM. De Gea has been in the PFA Team of the Year four years running, with his trophy haul including two Europa Leagues, a Premier League, a FA Cup and a League Cup.
De Gea has a 179 CA rating on Football Manager 19, with this able to rise to 183 for the 27-year-old. The Spaniard’s best stats include 20 reflexes, 18 agility and 18 handling, which sees him valued at £56 million and with wages of £200,000 a week.
Paul Pogba – CA 4.5 star (174), PA 4.5 star (185)
Paul Pogba is an enigma, but the way his form has been transformed under new manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer just shows how influential he is to the rest of the team. The difficulty you will have is getting the most out of the World Cup winner, with the solution to pay him in midfield three rather than in a two behind a number 10.
Pogba is still only 25, so his 174 CA still has time to reach his 185 potential. Stats of 19 flair, 18 balance and 18 first touch takes his value to £66 million, with his wages at a staggering £300,000 a week.
Alexis Sanchez – CA 3.5 star (157), PA 4 star (182)
Alexis Sanchez is perhaps the only United first team regular that hasn’t seen his form significantly improve under Solskjaer. The Chilean international only just edges out Anthony Martial in our starting lineup, but at the age of 29, the younger players will soon overtake him.
A 157 CA has fallen considerably from a 182 potential for left winger or striker Sanchez, and you could even consider selling the former Arsenal man. Valued at £42.5 million and with outrageous wages of £400,000 a week, you may want to get Alexis off the books.
Manchester United have a rich history of youngsters coming out of the academy and into the first team. In the current squad Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford, Scott McTominay and Andreas Pereira have come up the ranks at the club, following in the footsteps of Bobby Charlton, George Best, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Darren Fletcher.
Diogo Dalot – CA 2.5 star (130), PA 4-5 star (150-180)
Diogo Dalot arrived in the summer from Porto, having just played eight senior matches. He has since made 17 for Manchester United, and looks to be the long-term solution at right back. The Portugal U21 international can improve from a 130 CA to a potential between 150 and 180.
Tahith Chong – CA 2 star (116), PA 4-5 star (150-180)
Dutch U21 international Tahith Chong has made three appearances from the bench this season, with the winger expected to be the next big thing to come out of the club’s academy. Chong has a 116 CA rising to a potential between 150 and 180, seeing him valued a £8.5 million and wages of £10,000 a week.
Angel Gomes – CA 2 star (110), PA 3-4 star (140-170)
Angel Gomes was the first player born in the 200s to play in the Premier League, but has only added two first team appearances since making his debut in 2017. The U17 World Cup winner has a 116 CA on FM which can improve to a potential between 140 and 170.
|Goalkeeper depth||Overall depth|
|Star goalkeeper (David De Gea)|
|Star midfielders (Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard)|
Team Leaders - Antonio Valencia (C), David De Gea, Paul Pogba
Highly influential - Ashley Young, (VC), Juan Mata, Alexis Sanchez, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Romelu Lukaku, Jesse Lingard, Jesse Lingard, Ander Herrera, Sergio Romero
The Transfer Market
Starting transfer budget: £63 million
Remaining wage budget: £580,000 a week
Players to sell
Manchester United have a well-balanced squad, so if you want to bring in new talent, you will need to ship out some the players on the books. With five centre halves at the club already, you can certainly allow Marcos Rojo to go, with the Argentine fetching you around £12 million in the transfer market and freeing up a huge £110,000 in your wage budget.
It’s a big move to get rid of your club captain, but Antonio Valencia doesn’t offer much anymore. The right back is out of contract at the end of the season, and at the age of 32 you should cash in and sell him for £6 million to free up £90,000 a week in your wages. Scott McTominay can also go with the midfielder not having enough quality, with the Scottish international collecting £9 million in the transfer market and saving you £35,000 a week in wages.
New transfer budget: £90 million
New remaining wage budget: £815,000 a week
Top quality right back
In selling Antonio Valencia, you are still left with three right back options, Ashley Young, Matteo Darmian and Diogo Dalot. Young can fill in for now, he and Darmian can also cover at left back and Dalot is likely to be in the starting frame in a few seasons’ time.
A new reliable starter is required, and you should look to Napoli’s Elseid Hysaj. The Albanian will set you back £35 million in the transfer market, with his wages starting at £51,000 a week. That will get you his 147 CA and 156 potential, with his best stats his 17 stamina, 16 natural fitness and 16 tackling.
|Sergi Roberto||26||Barcelona||Spain||160/ 167||£49m||£173k|
|Alessandro Florenzi||27||Roma||Italy||150/ 159||£21m||£89k|
|Mario Gaspar||27||Villarreal||Spain||147/ 153||£12m||£42k|
|Hugo Mallo||27||Vigo||Spain||146/ 157||£11m||£36k|
|Mattia De Sciglio||25||Juventus||Italy||146/ 151||£17m||£64k|
Solid defensive midfielder
You still have enough cash for another man in your starting lineup, and you must choose whether to go for left back, centre back or defensive midfield. We’ve gone for the midfield option to add a little of protection in the middle of the park, freeing up Paul Pogba.
Marcelo Brozovic presents the best value for money in this position, with the Inter Milan man available for £45 million and wages of £80,000 a week. Stats of 18 natural fitness, 17 stamina and 16 passing take his CA to 155 with a potential of 161 for the 25-year-old.
|Player||Age||Club||Country||CA/ PA||Value|| Wage|
|Sergi Roberto||26||Barcelona||Spain||160/ 167||£49m||£173k|
|Casemiro||26||R. Madrid||Brazil||160/ 167||£49m||£43k|
|Axel Witsel||29||Borussia Dortmund||Belgium||159/ 170||£35m||£138k|
|Saul||23||A. Madrid||Spain||157/ 169||£39m||£207k|
|Javi Martinez||29||Bayern Munich||Spain||154/ 165||£35m||£103k|
Four United players have their contacts running out at the end of the season, and you may have some tough decisions on your hands. Ander Herrera has emerged into a key man for the club, and even if you bring in another midfielder, you will still want the Spaniard in the squad. Juan Mata may be forced out of the starting lineup by the end of the season, but with so much quality, you cannot afford to lose the attacking midfielder for free.
Andreas Pereira may be a little short on quality to be a United regular, but with the ability to play anywhere in midfield, it may be worth keeping him on for the next few seasons. As for Antonio Valencia, with injuries creeping in and plenty of competition at right back, you don’t need to keep him at the club any longer.
Man United are never going to be short on cash, and as you can see by their financial projection there is nothing to worry about at the Old Trafford club. The overall balanced of the club is on an upward curve, but there should be concern about the level of profits. This is to decrease until the end of the 2019/2020 season, but will creep up after that. Guaranteeing Champions Cup football could cause this to boom again. As for your transfer budget, this should hit £189 million for the start of next season.
Back to the top
No league titles in six years is bleak for Manchester United, and they need to at least close the gap on rivals Man City to show they are heading in the right direction. You should target one of the cups this season as well as reaching the Champions League knockouts, so expect to use the full depth of your squad as you look to juggle all the competitions. There is a nice blend of youth experience with Man United at the minute, and in around two seasons time you should be ready to go all the way for the league title.
Full Man Utd player ratings
| Player||Age||Pos||Role||Duty||Role Ability||CA/ PA |
|David De Gea||27||GK||GK SK||Any||4.5 stars||179/ 183|
|Ashley Young||33||DR DL ML||FB CWB WB IW||Attack Support||2.5 stars||143/ 168|
|Victor Lindelof||24||DC||BPD Libero||Cover Support Attack||3 stars||150/ 160|
|Eric Bailly||24||DC||CD NCB||Defend Stopper||3 stars||147/ 167|
|Luke Shaw||23||DL||WB||Support Auto Defend||3 stars||145/ 162|
|Ander Herrera||28||MC||BBM DLP Carrilero BWM||Support Defend||3 stars||150/ 156|
|Paul Pogba||25||MC||AP DLP Mezzala||Support Attack||4.5 stars||174/ 185|
|Jesse Lingard||25||AMR AMC AML||Winger AP SS AM IF||Support Attack||3.5 stars||152/ 158|
|Juan Mata||30||AMC AMR||AP AM||Support Attack||3.5 stars||152/ 174|
|Alexis Sanchez||29||AML ST||IF||Support Attack||3.5 stars||157/ 182|
|Romelu Lukaku||25||ST||TM||Support Attack||3.5 stars||155/ 168|
|Lee Grant||35||GK||SK||Defend Support||2.5 stars||130/ 130|
|Chris Smalling||28||DC||CD NCB||Defend||3 stars||145/ 152|
|Matteo Darmian||28||DR WBR DL||FB WB NFB||Any||2.5 stars||140/ 150|
|Nemanja Matic||30||DM MC||DLP CM||Defend Support||3 stars||148/ 165|
|Fred||25||MC DM||AP Mezzala DLP||Support Attack||3 stars||143/ 168|
|Anthony Martial||22||AML ST||IF||Attack Support||3.5 stars||156/ 175|
|Marcus Rashford||20||ST AML||AF IF||Attack Support||3.5 stars||151/ 176|
|Andreas Pereira||22||AMC MC||AM AP Mezzala||Support Attack||2.5 stars||136/ 155|
|Diogo Dalot||19||DR WBR||CWB WB FB||Support Attack Auto||2.5 stars||130/ <150|
|Scott McTominay||21||MC||BBM Carrilero BWM||Support Defend||2 stars||126/ 140|
|Phil Jones||26||DC||CD NCB||Defend Stopper||3 stars||144/ 152|
|Antonio Valencia||32||DR||WB FB||Any||2.5 stars||140/ 158|
|Sergio Romero||31||GK||SK||Support Attack||2.5 stars||140/ 146|
|Marcos Rojo||28||DC||NCB CD||Any||2.5 stars||138/ 150|