Some things in life are inevitable. Death and taxes are the most obvious ones. But a discerning eye cast over recent transfer windows will recognise that Manchester United being linked with the world's elite players is also a glum/hilarious inevitability.
Another plethora of talent has been linked with United this summer and while some of us enjoy seeing it all get pulled out from underneath them, this year's mirth may be altogether subdued. United have already secured Ibrahimovic, Mkhitaryan and Bailly. With Paul Pogba seemingly (finally) on his way, Jose Mourinho looks have a potential Manchester United XI that would bring a tear to a glass eye.
Let's start with the defence, or more accurately, let's start with the man who justifies Manchester United's back four even calling themselves a defence for the last two years, David de Gea. De Gea has some Peter Parker-eque reactions going on. They aren't quite Spiderman-esque because that would be ridiculous, but they are Peter Parker-esque because everyone is suspicious that something is up with that guy.
His reflexes are offensively quick and he has won United's Player of the Year for the last three years in a row, the first player to do so. Having signed a new 4-year deal contract in the wake of his collapsed transfer to Real Madrid, de Gea looks set to be the man in nets for a while to come.
In defence, Luke Shaw and Chris Smalling retain the positions they began last season in. Luke Shaw has been linked to a move away from Manchester in recent weeks but the rumours appear to be unfounded. A season that seemed to be filled with so much promise was cruelly cut short last year and Shaw will be looking to make up for lost time.
Smalling has a set of dead eyes and the most boring voice in the Premier League bar none, but despite that he has morphed into one of the league's best centre-backs. His commanding presence and coolness under pressure should see him become a key figure under Mourinho and potentially a future captain. That is until the English media tout him as the next England great and we watch his career shatter into a thousand uninspiring pieces.
If reports are to be believed, new signing Eric Bailly has not impressed Mourinho during his brief time in Manchester. Reports are usually not to be believed though, he should start and play the role that Jones and Blind often seem wholly incapable of.
Fabinho is a player who has been consistently linked to Man United. It's no secret that United need a right-back and Matteo Darmian has just come off a less than impressive season. With Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia as the other options for right-back, it isn't a stretch to imagine the 22-year-old Brazilian playing there next month.
This is more of a midfield/forward combo. Paul Pogba looks a dead cert to join United. If he doesn't then he and his agent Mino Raioli will have pulled off the cruelest honeydicking of all time. If/when he joins, Pogba will likely be marauding forward as often as possible meaning that a player with a more defensive mindset would will be needed to partner him in the holding role. Enter Morgan Schneiderlin. While Mourinho would probably prefer an imposing Matic or Kante figure alongside Pogba, as of right now Schneiderlin could be the best option.
Now it gets controversial. Anthony Martial starts in this team because he can play the rapid winger with an eye for goal and he tracks back more than Memphis Depay ever will, something which Mourinho demands from his wingers. A good start to the season could see him cement that position as his own as competition for the role centre-forward intensifies.
Now then, to James Rodriguez. Fresh reports emerge linking the Colombian with Manchester United almost every day and he is the kind of player who could fit well into this United team. Further reports suggest that Real Madrid's Marco Asensio has impressed Zinedine Zidane enough to warrant inclusion in the first team, a move which would see Isco or James move down the pecking order at Madrid.
Despite all of the links, (tenuous though they are), a move to Manchester does seem unlikely. However, should James sign for United he would almost certainly move ahead of Wayne Rooney in the selection ranks; at least as s soon as his form inevitably dips lower than a snakes belly. But I'll get to Mr. Rooney in a moment.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan is almost sure to start somewhere in this team on the first day of the season. The 27-year-old can play anywhere behind the main strikers and has impressed in pre-season. Martial's preference to play on the left could see him shifted to the right which shouldn't be a problem for the Armenian international.
It seems cruel and unnusual to leave Juan Mata out of this team. But it's no secret that Mata doesn't fit into the Mourinho mould. That will be made even more difficult now that he seems to have put on a few pounds...
I'M CRYING MATA IS FAT pic.twitter.com/8ix0tV21FE
— Aristotle (@Jurgenosophy) July 24, 2016
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is almost certain to be leading the line for Man United this season. The Swede scored 50 goals in all competitions last season and has taken Martial's no.9 jersey. All signs point towards the 34-year-old becoming Maourinho's main source of goals this season.
Now to address the elephant in the room: Mourinho has said that Wayne Rooney won't be dropping deep. He's a striker and that is where the Portuguese wants to play him. Mourinho said that, "For me he will be a 9, a 10, a nine and a half but never a 6 or an 8." He wants Rooney playing in an attacking role but he won't start ahead of Ibrahimovic. Worse still, if James Rodriguez does move to Manchester then Rooney could be dropped altogether.