Manchester United’s squad could shed an entire team of players in the next two transfer windows, if reports are to be believed.
Since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer became manager of the club, a number of players have moved on, including Antonio Valencia, Ashley Young, Matteo Darmian, Marouane Fellaini, Ander Herrera, Angel Gomes and Romelu Lukaku.
However, there could be up to eleven more first team squad members who will be sold this summer or leave in January as the Norwegian’s revolution continues. They are:
1. David de Gea
Whilst Solskjaer publicly defends his number one passionately, insisting he is the best goalkeeper in the world, it cannot have escaped his notice that the Spaniard’s form has been erratic over the last two seasons.
The Times and Daily Record’s Duncan Castles recently reported that United are looking to offload De Gea but admitted they will find it hard to find a buyer who can sustain his £255,000 per week wages.
However, with the excellent Dean Henderson knocking at the door and the likes of Chelsea and PSG looking to upgrade between the sticks, the opportunity may well arise to move De Gea on to pastures new.
2. Diogo Dalot
José Mourinho touted Dalot as ‘the best full-back in Europe in his age-group’ but the now 21-year-old has not kicked on as had been hoped. He has not impressed in recent performances and Solskjaer appears to prefer using Brandon Williams as a backup to Aaron Wan-Bissaka at right back.
With PSG again showing interest and Dalot needing first team opportunities, there is a good chance that the Red Devils will move him on this year.
3. Tim Fosu-Mensah
There has been a lot of bad luck with injuries that has held back the 23-year-old’s career but with his contract expiring next summer, United will almost certainly look to sell him in this window rather than lose him on a free.
The Telegraph recently reported that United have given Fosu-Mensah an ultimatum that he must sign a new contract before being allowed out on loan, but whether this is because they see a future for the player at the club or because they are protecting his transfer value remains to be seen.
4. Phil Jones
After another abject season littered with more injuries and calamitous performances, it is almost certain that Jones’ United career is at an end. The Express recently reported that the Reds have set a £15 million asking price for the England International, but in fairness they may have to accept less than that as clubs are going to be very wary of his injury record.
5. Chris Smalling
Smalling has been performing well on loan to Roma in Serie A this season and looks close to signing up for another year, with a compulsory purchase in June 2021. Reports claim the deal is agreed, with just small details left to be resolved.
6. Marcos Rojo
Another player with a terrible injury record, Rojo has been on loan at his former club Estudiantes in Argentina but only managed one game there before lockdown. Both club and player are desperate for the loan to be extended but with just a year left on his contract, United want to cash in by selling the player.
Estudiantes cannot afford the £12 million fee but negotiations are continuing and it looks unlikely that the 30-year-old will play again for United.
7. Andreas Pereira
Pereira has been desperately disappointing this season after showing so much promise earlier in his career. Solskjaer has been incredibly patient with the 24-year-old, giving him 39 games, in which he has scored two goals and provided four assists.
Everton and Newcastle are reportedly interested in signing the Brazilian, who should arguably be one of the easier of our Has-Beens XI to sell as long as the Red Devils are realistic in their valuation.
8. Jesse Lingard
Lingard’s situation is similar, but even more desperate than Pereira’s. He has played 36 games this season, scoring two goals – one in the Europa League and one in the FA Cup – and providing two assists.
Solskjaer again has been publicly incredibly loyal to the 27-year-old and gave him yet another chance last month in the FA Cup Quarter Final against Norwich, where he lasted just 63 minutes before being subbed. Lingard has not even appeared on United’s 9-man bench since and it looks as if time has finally run out for the player, who has also been linked with moves to Everton and Newcastle along with Leicester and West Ham.
9. Juan Mata
Mata was widely tipped to stay at Old Trafford and evolve into a coaching role but recent reports have linked the Spaniard with a move to Turkish side Fenerbahce this summer. It may well be that at 32, Mata will make the move to enjoy some regular competitive football for the last few years of his career and follow in the footsteps of Robin van Persie to the Super Lig.
10. Alexis Sanchez
United are almost certainly trying to offload forward Alexis Sanchez but it is not easy. The Chilean was never able to recreate the form that made him a star at both Barcelona and Arsenal after his 2018 move from the Emirates and was shipped out on a loan switch to Inter Milan this season.
After injury problems, Sanchez has done enough to persuade Inter to extend the loan but they are far from convinced about making the deal permanent.
It will be difficult to find any club willing to take the 31-year-old off United’s hands due to his £375,000 plus bonuses per week salary, but the club may opt to buy out his contract and let him go on a free transfer rather than risk the disruption to the dressing room that could be caused by his return.
11. Odion Ighalo
The Nigerian’s extended loan from Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua runs until the end of the winter transfer window and it seems unlikely that it will be made permanent at that stage. Whilst he has proven to be an excellent loan signing and has become an overnight cult sensation at Old Trafford, the fact is that he will be approaching 32 years of age by then and the Red Devils will almost certainly in the meantime have strengthened the squad with younger strikers.
Here then, is our ‘Has-Beens XI’ of potential leavers:
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