There can’t possibly be enough departures from Manchester United in the coming months following a disastrous campaign.
United signed Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo in the summer and they were expected to contend for the Premier League title but that challenge never began. United were embarrassingly eliminated from all cup competitions by March and they’ve been left with the challenge of reluctantly making sure of Europa League football before the season ends.
Interim manager Ralf Rangnick has two games left in charge of United. Erik ten Hag, currently manager of Ajax, will take over the reins after the German’s exit and he’ll be facing the biggest challenge of his career to transform United’s fortunes.
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United need a major rebuild and multiple departures are expected from the club, so what could Ten Hag’s perfect 25-man squad for next season look like? We’ve taken a closer look below and analyzed some potential incomings and outgoings.
The goalkeeping situation at United has been unhealthy for some time now. Dean Henderson, 25, has proven he’s ready for regular first-team minutes and he should be allowed to leave if Ten Hag wants David de Gea as his No.1 stopper. While De Gea has been United’s standout performer this season, there are doubts about his distribution and long-term suitability of him to Ten Hag’s style.
Considering Harry Maguire has just endured a nightmare campaign and Raphael Varane’s concerning injury record, United need to sign a world-class centre-back. Villarreal’s Pau Torres is back on the United’s radar and he’d be a shrewd addition in central defence. United should finally sell Phil Jones, Eric Bailly and Axel Tuanzebe to ease the financial commitment of that transfer.
The full-backs currently in United’s squad are not good enough, with the exception of Luke Shaw. He has enough credit remaining in the bank to keep his place from him after an inconsistent season, however, Diogo Dalot, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Alex Telles do n’t. The latter should be sold – he can’t defend – and Tariq Lamptey should be brought in to start at right-back, in an ideal world.
Regarding the three-man midfield, United simply need to sign a specialist defensive midfielder. United have an interest in Kalvin Phillips and he would be an outstanding signing for a transfer fee that should be less than West Ham’s valuation of Declan Rice.
Bruno Fernandes’ place in the starting XI never appears vulnerable – rightly or wrongly – and Fred should take the final starting position. Scott McTominay, James Garner, Donny van de Beek and Hannibal Mejbri can provide competition for those places.
It would be foolish for Ten Hag not to involve Cristiano Ronaldo in his plans. Ronaldo has scored 24 goals in 38 appearances this season and he’s been forced to shoulder the burden of single-handedly scoring United’s goals, which needs to change.
Darwin Nunez, 22, is one of Europe’s most exciting centre-forwards and he could score goals at Old Trafford for years to come. Although Nunez is a striker, when Benfica line up in a 3-4-3, he starts as the left attacker and drifts inside and he could switch positions with Ronaldo during a game. Rangnick recently suggested Ronaldo doesn’t want to play as a lone No.9.
Anthony Martial has been whistled by Sevilla fans during his time in Spain and that’s all you need to know. If United can find a willing buyer, his time at the club should end. Amad and Alejandro Garnacho can receive permanent promotions to the first team.
Goalkeepers: De Gea, Heaton, Mastny.
defenders: Varane, Torres, Maguire, Lindelof, Shaw, Lamptey, Dalot, Wan-Bissaka,
Midfielders: Fred, McTominay, Phillips, Fernandes, Garner, Van de Beek, Hannibal.
forwards: Ronaldo, Nunez, Rashford, Sancho, Amad, Garnacho, Elanga.
Sell: Henderson, Jones, Bailly, Tuanzebe, Martial, Pereira, Telles, Williams.
Release: Grant, Matic, Pogba, Lingard, Mata, Cavani.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.