The summer transfer window is set to be a mammoth one at Manchester United, with a new manager on track to arrive at Old Trafford and a whole host of stars in danger of being booted out
Manchester United are set for a summer clear-out, with plenty of players on the chopping block.
From Paul Pogba to Cristiano Ronaldo, the Red Devils could look very different next season, particularly with interim manager Ralf Rangnick making way for a permanent boss and moving upstairs into a consultancy role. In need of a reboot on and off the pitch, United will undoubtedly turn to the transfer market – as well as the dugout – in search of salvation, but that’ll also mean saying goodbye to a number of long-time servants.
Having been dumped out of the Champions League in the last-16 by Atletico Madrid on Tuesday, the inquest looking at where the Red Devils go from here is well underway and the Old Trafford boardroom will be forced to make some difficult decisions in the near future. With that in mind, here are 12 United players who are safe – for now.
David de Gea
Easily the Red Devils’ player of the season, De Gea is far from being pushed out of the Old Trafford door. Reports suggest that the 31-year-old will be offered a new contract in the coming months and it’s difficult to say it’s not well deserved. The one glaring downside on De Gea is his under-par distribution, which a new manager could look to upgrade in the future. For now, though, his place between the posts is secure.
If De Gea is United’s best player this term, Fernandes has undoubtedly been the best since his arrival over two years ago. The Portuguese magnifico’s work rate, leadership and, most importantly, quality has dragged the Red Devils over the line on countless occasions. And while statistics can often blind us in football, Fernandes’ are undeniably top drawer.
Speaking of goals and assists, Sancho’s numbers are beginning to justify why the club splashed out £73million on him last summer, having courted him for at least one year prior. The 21-year-old has shown flashes of his brilliance during Rangnick’s reign, notably netting a stunner against Manchester City in the recent derby humiliation. Sancho might just be the only man to securely fit in both the short and long term.
Action Images via Reuters)
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Certainly one for the short-term pile, Varane needs no introduction. The fact his absence has coincided with United’s worst results this season is no coincidence, with his assured presence being of benefit to every player around him at the back. Having only racked up 24 appearances since his £34million arrival from Real Madrid, Varane still has plenty more to give.
Albeit less reliable at the back this campaign, Shaw has enough credit in the bank to be considered a mainstay for the near future. Cast your mind back to last season and the England ace, having scored the opening goal of the Euro 2020 final, was one of world football’s most coveted left-backs. Another star said to be in discussions over a new deal, Shaw looks set to stick around.
One man who many wouldn’t have predicted still to be at Old Trafford by now is Fred. The much-maligned midfielder has spent years enduring intense scrutiny following his £52million move from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2018, with his attributes often going under the radar. But it seems that Rangnick has unearthed them, with Fred emerging as one of the Red Devils’ more consistent performers of late. What makes him durable in United’s rebuild is his pressing ability, a trait Rangnick’s successor will likely make use of.
A hard-working, committed academy graduate, it’s hard for fans not to like McTominay. Despite the 25-year-old’s deficiencies in possession, his goalscoring ability and physical prowess make him a useful asset – not to mention he’s a favourite of Sir Alex Ferguson. McTominay may not be a regular starter in a new era, but he – like Fred – has been relied on by three different bosses in the past.
Continuing with another academy graduate, Elanga has been a certifiable breakout start for the Red Devils this season. With his infectious energy and fearlessness on the ball, the 19-year-old has been thrown in at the deep end by Rangnick and repaid his manager’s faith. While there’s a long way to go until Elanga is considered a pillar of the United attack, all signs point to him continuing to push for a place in the foreseeable future.
While named as part of a defensive quartet that are expected to stay by the Manchester Evening News, Maguire’s career at Old Trafford hit a low point on Tuesday when he was jeered by his own supporters after his substitution. The club captain was hauled off by Rangnick in a last-ditch effort to change the tide against Atletico, with fans voicing their pleasure at Maguire exiting the fray. However, the England ace cost the Red Devils £80million less than three years ago and will be in no rush to leave – but he’ll have to improve.
As with Maguire, Wan-Bissaka’s £50m price tag from Crystal Palace in 2019 shows the club clearly have faith in the right-back. Having slowly improved on the ball under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the ex-Eagles starlet may no longer be a regular in the starting XI but it’s unlikely he’ll be heading off this summer.
Almost the opposite of Wan-Bissaka in terms of profile, Dalot’s attacking qualities saw him usurp his teammate following Rangnick’s appointment in December and finally gain a run of Premier League starts. A Portugal international and still only 22, he might just be getting started.
Another full-back who has failed to convince is Telles, having been brought in two years ago to provide Shaw with competition. It certainly worked for the latter, as the Brazilian has had to make do with a consistent place on the bench for most of his time in Manchester. But, like Dalot, Telles has seen an upturn in appearances under Rangnick and will be confident of keeping on that same trajectory.
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