Manchester United are heading into yet another year with a bloated squad.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has made a conscious effort on that score since his appointment, but United haven’t done a good enough job of shifting deadwood.
We’ve picked out six players United should at the very least consider selling in the new year, to freshen up the squad, free up funds on the wage bill and allow the players concerned to kickstart their stagnating careers.
Mino Raiola thinks it’s best if Pogba leaves United and the circus around the midfielder is tiresome now, even if the club are able to keep the situation ticking over until the summer.
It’s fair to assume Pogba’s agent has heard positive things in terms of finding a suitor. There seemed to be precious little interest in the summer.
With Pogba’s contract dwindling, United need to try and recoup some of the then-world record fee they paid in 2016.
The club’s best chance of doing that seems to be a sale in 2021, provided any interested club makes a suitable offer.
Lingard may have made the wise decision to cut ties with Raiola but he still needs a move in 2021.
His career has stalled at United. He hasn’t played a Premier League or Champions League match this season and he’s miles away from the England picture.
Sky Sports reported earlier this month that Lingard’s representatives have held talks with Real Sociedad, among other clubs, over a January loan deal.
TeamTalk also reported links with Celtic and Rangers, as well as unnamed clubs in Italy and Germany.
Lingard’s contract expires this summer, unless United trigger the one-year option to take it to 2022 – so it would make sense to cash in.
In truth, Romero should already be gone.
Not because of his performance levels – he has served the club with distinction whenever called on as David de Gea’s deputy.
But when it became clear Dean Henderson was going to come back and challenge the Spaniard this term, Romero should have been granted an exit to get first team football.
Instead, he has been frozen out at Old Trafford.
It remains to be seen whether he can find first team football mid-season, during a window when clubs don’t generally change their goalkeepers barring injury, but hopefully he can.
Romero’s fellow Argentine Rojo finds himself way down the pecking order at United.
At 30, Chris Smalling gave his career a new lease of life in Italy, and perhaps Rojo could take inspiration from that.
He’s a seasoned international defender who always gives his all, but too rash and not good enough on the ball for what Solskjaer wants.
The Times report he’s on £160,000-a-week at Old Trafford. That could prove a stumbling block to a move, but United have to try and shift that huge salary off the wage bill and soon.
Fosu-Mensah’s United career got an unlikely renaissance in the closing weeks of last season when he was pulled in from the cold to play at left back against Crystal Palace.
He played the first game of this term too, but like Lingard, his current deal expires in 2021.
If he isn’t getting a new one, it’s better for United to try and raise some money by selling him in January rather than lose him for nothing.
With Ethan Laird coming through, Brandon Williams able to play right back and Diogo Dalot out on loan, it seems unlikely the Dutchman will establish himself at United anytime soon.
Jones needs to get himself fit and then get his career back on track with a move to earn regular football.
He’s still just 28, and Newcastle, West Ham and Leicester have all been credited with interest in him by Eurosport.
His United career is beyond repair. It’s just a case of whether he can get fit enough to convince a suitor to take a punt on him.
Jones joined United in 2011, so 2021 would, in theory be his testimonial year.
But the best way for him to celebrate would be establishing himself in another club’s first team, and finally showing some of the qualities which convinced Sir Alex Ferguson to buy him in the first place.
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