With recent signings Kagawa and Powell now at United, who will be in their first XI next season?
Goalkeeper: David de Gea
There's no doubting David de Gea is United's number one. He showed tremendous substance last season after an appalling start. Although you have to look through his mistakes at the start, he showed why he's one of the best 'keepers in the Premier League after some terrific performances. Even though Anders Lindegaard is on the books at United, de Gea has shown why Alex Ferguson paid £17 million for the Spaniard.
Full Backs: Rafael & Patrice Evra
Right back is a tricky position for United. Since Gary Neville retired, they haven't had a permanent replacement on the right hand side of defence. Rafael recently signed a new contract at Old Trafford and Alex Ferguson sees him as a tremendous prospect for the club. Although Phil Jones and Chris Smalling could both play at right back, I feel their best positions are in the centre. Patrice Evra is one of the first names on the team sheet and doesn't have a specific rival. He may have his critics but Ferguson relies on him and always puts his faith in the Frenchman.
Centre Backs: Rio Ferdinand & Nemanja Vidic
A contentious decision to put Rio Ferdinand in front of Smalling, Jones and Evans but none of them have a partnership with the Manchester United skipper Nemanja Vidic. Ferdinand gives experience and leadership not just to the team but especially to David de Gea. When playing with Vidic, there aren't many defensive partnerships which can rival theirs. Vidic is always a starter for United when fit. He's the captain and one of the best defenders in the World.
Wings: Antonio Valencia & Ashley Young
Valencia was recently given a massive boost of confidence by acquiring the illustrious number seven shirt. He seems to be the number one choice for right wing as Ferguson doesn't know what he's going to get with Nani. Valencia is Mr Consistent and never puts a foot wrong. Ashley Young was a real coup for United when Ferguson picked him up from Villa. He showed tremendous skill and ability throughout the season and he was vital to their campaign. There's nobody else that plays as well on the left than Young.
Central Midfielders: Paul Scholes and Shinji Kagawa
Since Paul Scholes came out of retirement, he gave United what they were missing. Simply known as one of the best passers around, Scholes can't play every game but he is a starter for the big games. There's no doubting Ferguson would play Scholes ahead of Giggs, Carrick and Fletcher. Shinji Kagawa was the Bundesliga player of the year last season. He didn't spend much time in Germany but whilst there he moved mountains and pulled up trees. He's a real gem for United and a sure starter if they want to challenge City for the title.
Strikers: Wayne Rooney & Danny Welbeck
Wayne Rooney is United's best player and will go down in history as one of the greatest Premier League players. There's every chance that Rooney will break Shearer's goal scoring record of 260 Premier League goals and he seems hungry to break this. Ferguson isn't going to leave the Premier League's best striker on the bench. Welbeck and Rooney have a terrific partnership and Ferguson likes partnerships. Whenever he can create one, he'll make sure they work. That's why Welbeck will start ahead of Hernandez. Plus Chicharito is more of an Ole Gunnar Solskjaer than an Andy Cole. He's a super sub that punishes teams when they take their eye off the ball.
Obviously a big team such as United uses a team rotation system and a first XI doesn't start every game. But if Ferguson chose his best side, this would be it. It lacks the superstar names of the past but it can still rival City to the title. With youth on the bench in Jones, Smalling and Powell, Ferguson is looking to create a new side which will dominate for the next few years. That combined with experience in key players, United will remain a force in English football.710137