There is no doubt that this summer presents a massive opportunity for a clear out for Manchester United and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. It could be argued that this should have been done years ago, with deadwood plaguing the team of the chance to move forward. Old Trafford has become stagnant of players on lucrative contracts who simply aren’t up for the fight of resurrecting this famous club. For a long time United had been a solid pick by soccer bets as a potential winner of the Premier League. However, nowadays that just isn’t the case.
The rebuilding process must start again, and the decks must be wiped. In truth, there is no chance that all the players that have plagued the club are all going to depart; it’s simply impossible since there are too many of them. There are 14 players that could easily be sold and not an eyelash would be blinked. However, that isn’t a likely circumstance to occur, so Solskjaer must pick the ones that undoubtedly need to move on.
The contract situations involving Juan Mata, Ander Herrera and Antonio Valencia have made his job a little easier since the trio can depart for nothing and be allowed to find new clubs. Herrera would be the only one of them that will be sorely missed, and the club have missed out big time on tying him down on a new deal.
The talent of all three has never been in question, and no matter how loved Mata is, the club already has a ready-made replacement for him in Jesse Lingard. That is the other factor that must affect United’s business; there shouldn’t be two players who both offer the same qualities.
David de Gea is another player whose contract situation means that the club may be prepared to listen to offers. The Spanish keeper ended the season in terrible form and made errors in each of the last four games of the season. It was uncommon for the goalkeeper, and United would still profit to tie him down with a new deal than entertain the prospect of losing one of the best goalies in the world.
Changes in Midfield
Fred’s transfer hasn’t materialised in the way that many hoped, and he seems to draw comparisons to Anderson’s time at United. He obviously has the talent, but he seems reluctant to work hard, and that is what the club fundamentally needs. Nemanja Matic is another player who has endured a turbulent season, and the team plays quicker and more expansive football when he isn’t in the team.
United need an aggressive type of player in the midfield who can dominate games and the Serbian international doesn’t fit the bill. The Red Devil’s midfield has been taught a lesson over the course of the season by fluent midfielders such as Declan Rice, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Idrissa Gueye; all of which would sadly walk easily into the United XI.
Romelu Lukaku has had a stop-start season again for the club, and while on paper he fits the bill for what United needs, he is yet to show it consistently. The Belgium international should be given more time, and under a legendary striker like Solskjaer he could flourish, but he is in the last chance saloon. The one factor that has always gone in his favour is his work ethic; he has happily played anywhere along the forward positions and worked hard in his defensive duties; something that sadly isn’t the case with Alexis Sanchez.
The Chilean’s move to Old Trafford highlights everything that is wrong with the current set up. He was brought in as a marquee signing by Ed Woodward to meet commercial demands; the team never needed him, and the transfer has never worked out because of that. It is undoubtedly time for United to cut their losses on him.
This summer is going to be huge for United, and while Solskjaer will deservedly be given time to mould the team into his image, the board need to give him the freedom that he needs. There can be no politics from the hierarchy at the club, and the Norwegian should get everything that he desires.
The players leaving the club are as crucial as the players that will be coming in. The mentality needs to change, the hard-working players need to remain, and while skill is obviously vital for any team pushing for major honours, those previous two factors are the most important. The minimum that any fan wants is the hard-working, never-say-die attitude and desire that is synonymous with the successful Red Devils teams of yesteryear.