United set for big clear out this summer

This summer is shaping up to be an extremely busy window for Manchester United. With every area of the pitch in need of improvement and a lengthy list of players on Erik ten Hag’s transfer wishlist to do just that, there are expected to be plenty of departures from Old Trafford before the start of the 2023/24 campaign.

The squad is in desperate need of trimming down but the Dutchman has a difficult task in balancing that with the need to upgrade squad depth too. The mismanagement of the Glazers, failing to complete a takeover, could limit his budget and the club has been known to overspend on new signings before now.

There will be a lot of big calls that need to be made and a lot of deadwood that needs to be cut if United are going to challenge rivals Manchester City for the league next season. As his plans for two major signings begin to take shape, the boss is predicted to cut as many as 13 players from his side to make room for his new-look United. But who are the names set to depart as Ten Hag continues to rebuild? And who should be the first name to go? Here’s a look at who United could be selling this summer. 

Harry Maguire

The captain has endured a torrid time since his arrival from Leicester. Failing to deliver on the £80 million it took to bring him to Old Trafford, he has gone from one calamitous error to the next and it looks like the plug is about to be pulled on his United career. While still club captain, the 30-year-old only managed 16 Premier League appearances last season as the Dutchman began to phase him out the side. Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez are clearly the favoured pairing with Luke Shaw filling in on the odd occasion should tactics or injuries call for it and it’s worked to great effect, with United earning 17 clean sheets last term. With rumours circulating of Ten Hag potentially bringing in another defensive option this summer, it seems unlikely that Maguire is staying put. The England international is technically still under contract until 2025 but if the club is to recuperate any decent amount of the initial fee for the defender then now is the time to sell.

David de Gea

Given the Spaniard just agreed to sign a new deal recently this might come as an odd feature on the list of names potentially departing, but the 32-year-old is still yet to sign off on a new contract so there is a possibility. The team finished with the third best defensive record in the league, conceding only 43 goals with 17 clean sheets, earning De Gea the golden glove in the process. However, there were times this year where the shot-stopper has made some costly mistakes. Most notably De Gea was culpable for Sevilla’s first and third goals in their Europa League tie that saw the Spanish outfit knock the Red Devils out of the competition. Ten Hag has also made it known that he is in the market for a goalkeeper should the funds be available, one who can play it out from the back, something that the Spaniard simply doesn’t have in his locker. As the acquisitions of Ederson and Allison for City and Liverpool show, a goalkeeper could make the difference between a title-winning campaign and a heartbreaking second place finish. With Dean Henderson providing some stellar performances for Nottingham Forest, Ten Hag admitting that the Spaniard might not be first choice and De Gea’s contract situation still up in the air, perhaps now is the right time to make a change between the sticks. 

Scott McTominay

Betting sites in the US have United +1000 to win the league next year but they need to add to their engine room if they are going to do just that. The 26-year-old is a real fan favourite and has proven to be a big-game player when United needed him most but his spell at Old Trafford looks to be coming to an end. Ten Hag wants a midfielder this summer and the reality is that either Fred or McTominay are going to make way for that new arrival. The Scottish international is the most likely of the pair to be sold with the better resale value. At 26-years-old, with international pedigree and a contract that expires in 2026, the Scot would fetch a handy price to fund some of United’s more expensive transfers this summer. While he is still a valuable asset to the club as the only 20-something midfielder on the books in an aging midfield, Fred only has another season left on his deal and will not bring in the required funds, especially if interested clubs wait another six months. There is an upside to letting McTominay go though. The duo have been the source of a lot of scrutiny at times, often labelled as the problem when United’s midfield failed to produce in stale performances. It’s uop for debate but either way, if the club get £30 million for him this summer, it’ll be considered good business.

Jadon Sancho

When the England international arrived at Old Trafford in the summer of 2021 off the back of registering 50 goals and 64 assists in 137 appearances for Borussia Dortmund, many thought United had found the player to propel them to a title. Paying nearly £80million for the talent was a fee that seemed justified at the time. However, the 23-year-old has struggled since arriving in Manchester, failing to hit those lofty expectations. For whatever reason things just haven’t clicked for him under Ten Hag, with only 10 goals and four assists in his 65 United appearances. He is still capable of turning things around but with the likes of Alejandro Garnacho and Amad Diallo having breakthroughs both at the club and on loan, time might be running out for Sancho to finally make his mark. The Dutchman is in dire need of funds to fuel his rebuild this summer and with a £60 million price tag and Tottenham showing interest, he is set to be one of the big names on the chopping block this summer.

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