Manchester United: Is This How Gareth Bale Would Fit into Jose Mourinho’s New-Look Team?

Should Manchester United pull off another shock transfer this summer and sign Gareth Bale from Real Madrid, José Mourinho will have to find space for him in his team.

United has already spent more than £100 million (about $131 million) this summer, bringing in Swedish center-back Victor Lindelof and Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku. But the possibility of 28-year-old Bale trading Madrid for Manchester could double United's spending this summer.

On Wednesday, ESPN reported that United was prepared to pay a world-record sum for Bale and believed that he may leave the Spanish capital, should Kylian Mbappe complete a move to Madrid. But where would the Welshman fit in at Old Trafford?

After Lukaku’s arrival, there are currently seven players on United’s books who play in a similar position to Bale. Henrikh Mkhitaryan was signed last summer but made only 15 starts in the Premier League last season.

Related: Jose Mourinho and Manchester United Consider World Record Bid For Real Madrid Star

United may still extend Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s contract at Old Trafford, but with Lukaku’s arrival this summer, the Belgian striker will, likely, lead the attacking line for Mourinho next season.

José Mourinho José Mourinho, left, at the FedExField, in Landover, Maryland, July 26. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty

The Portuguese coach tends to prefer a front three, with two attacking players either side of the striker. Last season, the likes of Juan Mata, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Mkhitaryan and Jesse Lingard filled those roles. All remain at the club.

The front-three system suits Bale. In Spain, where he has won one La Liga title and two Champions Leagues, he has formed a formidable attack force along with Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema. Bale took up the role on the right, cutting in onto his lethal left foot.

But he has shown, particularly in his final season at Tottenham Hotspur, that he is capable of playing behind the striker, given the freedom to roam and find space. During that season, 2012-13, Bale scored 31 goals in 52 games.

If Mourinho had Bale and Lukaku in his attack, United would look like strong challengers to win its first Premier League title since 2013.

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