Manchester United fans have had much reason to celebrate in the last few days, after their team completed a superb 2-1 comeback against Manchester City in the derby to take them to within a point of the reigning EPL champions.
Off the pitch however, celebrations have been sparse.
The Red Devils have made just two loan signings this month with Dutch striker Wout Weghorst and back-up goalkeeper Jack Butland making the six-month-move to Old Trafford from Burnley and Crystal Palace respectively.
Any further incomings are not expected, with the Glazers gearing up for a summer sale, after a tenuous spell as Manchester United owners that has lasted nearly two decades and was protested against from day one by most fans of the club.
United’s objective instead is to trim the wage bill, sources have told Football Insider.
They also turned down the opportunity to do so on a number of other expiring deals, including goalkeeper David de Gea, who is on an eye-watering £350,000-a-week contract.
Phil Jones, the only outfield survivor from Sir Alex’s last league winning team of 2012/13, is still just 30 years of age, two days older than the undroppable Casemiro.
His career has been ravaged by injuries over the last half a decade, and the former Blackburn man finds himself out of Erik ten Hag’s plans at the moment.
Axel Tuanzebe was a standout in the United academy, captaining the youth team to the Milk Cup in 2014.
A winner of the Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year in 2015, and the Denzil Haroun Reserve Team Player of the Year in 2017, Tuanzebe was once heralded as a generational talent. A mixture of bad luck coupled with constant injuries has meant that he never realised that potential.
He did show glimpses of it though. The 25 year old was instrumental in a 2-1 away win against PSG on his Champions league debut under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, combining with Aaron Wan-Bissaka to completely nullify the threat of Kylian Mbappe on the night.
Tom Heaton is another United old boy, coming through the academy during the early noughties. The three-times capped England International returned to Old Trafford in 2021, over a decade after his first departure from the club.
He is the likeliest of the three to survive the January culling. Martin Dubravka’s premature departure to Newcastle United might mean that Heaton has to provide cover for De Gea and Butland for the rest of the campaign, with the Red Devils looking to compete on multiple fronts.
As Erik ten Hag attempts to balance his squad, by getting rid of the deadweight, January may well turn out to be a month full of goodbyes at Old Trafford.
It could also herald a new beginning both for the club and the departing players as the likes of Tuanzebe and Jones look to resurrect their respective careers outside Manchester.
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