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How would Man United line up if Jose Mourinho got Spurs players he wanted?

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Here's the team Manchester United COULD have had: Jose Mourinho's dream team would have included Harry Kane, Eric Dier and even more Tottenham stars but Ed Woodward failed to sign them... so, is it better than their current line-up?Jose Mourinho returns to Old Trafford dugout on Wednesday nightHe was sacked by United 12 months ago but is now in charge of Tottenham  Many of Spurs' current players were targeted by Mourinho at Manchester UnitedThe United team he wanted to field would look very different to theirs now 

On the day of Jose Mourinho's appointment as Tottenham head coach he immediately lauded the strength of the squad at his disposal.

Upon signing a £15million-a-year deal with the north London outfit, Mourinho said: 'The quality in both the squad and the academy excites me. Working with these players is what has attracted me.'

Mourinho's admiration of these players has long been known - at Manchester United he tried and failed to sign multiple Spurs stars during his two-and-a-half year reign. Who knows, that spell in charge could have gone on far longer if he'd managed to land his targets, such as Harry Kane. 

Imagine Jose's dream team, the one that United could have had right now, and the question remains: is it better than the current United line-up, who sit a lowly 10th in the Premier League? 

Jose Mourinho lauded the strength of the Tottenham squad at his unveiling as manager, and no wonder - he tried to sign many of their players while he was in charge of Manchester United

FORMATION - 4-2-3-1  

GOALKEEPER - DAVID DE GEA

The Spanish goalkeeper was spectacular during Mourinho's early tenure, frequently coming to the rescue when United needed him most, but dipped last season.

The shot-stopper's form has been a little patchy since Mourinho's departure in December 2018, although the Red Devils were stronger as a defensive unit back then.

Yet he remains one of the best goalkeepers in the world. 

David de Gea was Manchester United's standout player during the Jose Mourinho era

RIGHT-BACK - AARON WAN-BISSAKA

The right-back may have been signed by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the summer for £40million, but replacing the ageing Antonio Valencia would have been a priority of his too.

The Crystal Palace academy graduate is a bundle of energy who sees keeping his opposite man quiet as a priority, a quality seldom displayed by most modern full-backs.

His defensive nous would have been the perfect fit for Mourinho, who was desperate for more than one new signing at the back when Ed Woodward bizarrely chose not to back him in the transfer market in the summer before he was sacked.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka has added solidity to Manchester United's right-hand side this season

CENTRE-BACK - TOBY ALDERWEIRELD

Mourinho was reportedly denied the funds to sign Alderweireld as Red Devils boss, despite the Belgium international's relatively modest £25m release clause and his clear desire to leave shown by not signing a new contract.

Alderweireld has been formidable since his arrival in north London from Atletico Madrid in 2015.

His partnership with Jan Vertonghen has been the cornerstone of Spurs' progress under Mauricio Pochettino, and Mourinho will undoubtedly look to build his new team on those solid foundations.

Toby Alderweireld was long targeted by Mourinho when he was in charge at Old Trafford

CENTRE-BACK - HARRY MAGUIRE 

Harry Maguire's summer move to United might give some insight into Mourinho’s strained relationship with United chief Ed Woodward. 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was trusted with £80m to spend on the Leicester man despite having done little to suggest he could use the money wisely after six months at the helm.

Maguire would undoubtedly have been on Mourinho's radar too - he was a target for just about every big club, including Pep Guardiola and Manchester City, before United offered a world-record fee for a defender.

Mourinho was denied the funds to sign Harry Maguire after his impressive World Cup displays

LEFT-BACK - DANNY ROSE 

Another Spurs player who was linked with a United switch during Mourinho's spell in charge. He reportedly wanted to move closer to his hometown of Doncaster and he attracted interest from both Manchester clubs.

The flying full-back covers plenty of ground, and would give support in attack and added mobility on Maguire's side of the back four.

His spiky attitude is tailor-made for a Mourinho side too.

Danny Rose was a long-term target for Manchester United when Mourinho was there

DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDER - ERIC DIER 

Mourinho has been a long-term admirer of Dier, and his immediate re-introduction to midfield against West Ham allowed Dele Alli to flourish without the burden of defensive responsibility.

Former Spurs boss Tim Sherwood believes Mourinho is prone to throwing players 'under a bus', and it looked as if he had been proven right when Dier was substituted on 29 minutes against Olympiacos.

But Mourinho later revealed he had apologised to Dier, showing just how much he still values the versatile England international, who can also play in the defensive line.

Mourinho has brought Eric Dier back into the first-team fold at Tottenham since taking charge

DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDER - NEMANJA MATIC

Now frozen out under Solskjaer and destined for a move away, Matic would surely still be in the team had Mourinho remained in charge.

Matic is a player Mourinho clearly loves, having signed him for both Chelsea and United, and he remained an almost ever-present name on the team sheet up until the Portuguese was sacked.

It is unlikely that Scott McTominay would have shifted Matic from the side under Mourinho's watch, as he has done under Solskjaer. 

Nemanja Matic is not often spotted in United colours these days but was a Mourinho favourite

ATTACKING MIDFIELDER - PAUL POGBA

The Frenchman was criticised by many over his role in Mourinho's sacking, and he made a not-so-subtle dig on Twitter in the aftermath of the coach's departure, but Pogba incontrovertibly has the ability to be a match-winner.

His days at Old Trafford looked to be numbered under Mourinho, but he is still there, despite the lingering saga over a potential move to Real Madrid. 

The former Chelsea boss would have jumped at the chance to pair Pogba with Dier. With Dier's robust tackling and Pogba's superb distribution and ball-carrying skills, they could have complemented each other nicely. 

Paul Pogba and Mourinho had an uneasy relationship during their time at Old Trafford

RIGHT WING - DANIEL JAMES 

United's £17m summer recruit from Swansea has made an impact at Old Trafford and edges out Anthony Martial from this team due to Mourinho's total breakdown in relations with the latter.

James is still a raw player of much potential but even at the age of just 22 he possesses some of the hallmarks of a Mourinho player, particularly his lightning pace.

Mourinho's title-winning Chelsea teams all featured electric wide men, remember, such as Damien Duff, Arjen Robben, Eden Hazard and Willian. 

Daniel James is the type of pacy, direct winger who has thrived under Mourinho

LEFT WING - MARCUS RASHFORD

Rashford scored just 11 goals for club and country during the 2016-17 campaign, but he was still little more than a teenager learning his trade.

Mourinho showed belief in an inexperienced player by handing him 53 appearances that season, and he is now reaping the rewards. The forward's goalscoring display against Liverpool in October highlighted what he is capable of, even without an established strike partner.

He has his critics, but Rashford remains a sublime home-grown talent. 

Mourinho showed faith in a young Marcus Rashford when he was an emerging talent

CENTRE-FORWARD - HARRY KANE 

Mourinho seemed fairly coy on Sky Sports punditry duty a few weeks ago when colleague Roy Keane suggested Manchester United should go out and buy Harry Kane.

Now it all makes sense. Kane's goals - 177 so far in 271 Spurs appearances - will be invaluable if Mourinho is to take the step Mauricio Pochettino never could and finally win a trophy at Tottenham.

They would have been invaluable for United too, so it's no wonder Mourinho tried to sign him.

Harry Kane has been among the goals for Spurs in Mourinho's first three games in charge

This is the team United could have had right now if Mourinho had landed his targets at Spurs

AND HERE'S MAN UNITED'S CURRENT FIRST-CHOICE XI 

(Formation: 4-3-3)

David de Gea; Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof, Brandon Williams; Paul Pogba, Scott McTominay, Andreas Pereira; Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Daniel James


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