Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made it apparent in his first transfer window in charge of Manchester United that there will be multiple incomings and outgoings during his time at the club. Which players could be in jeopardy of being made surplus to requirements in the next stage of the rebuild?
The Norwegian has shown that he isn’t afraid to move on experienced players that don’t fit the long-term philosophy he is trying to bring to Old Trafford.
There is a clear desire to build a team around young, talented and a hungry crop of players, but the current United side is made up of a mixture of players signed from Sir Alex Ferguson, David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and Solskjaer himself.
Solskjaer will want to use the upcoming windows to have a squad made up solely of players he has signed or believes in.
Here are five players whose careers at Manchester United could be coming to an end….
The Argentine seemed destined for a deadline day move to Everton, only for the deal to be called off at the last minute by United’s hierarchy because they reportedly saw the Toffees as a direct rival for the Champions League places this season. How wrong they were, Marco Silva’s side currently sit 18th and United are only two points better off, not the battle we imagined.
Rojo has been used sparingly this season in the Europa League and against Rochdale in the Carabao Cup, Solskjaer simply doesn’t rate or trust his ability to defend or distribution in possession. He did come on for the injured Diogo Dalot in the defeat to Newcastle, but the United manager wasn’t left with any other choice due to injuries.
In his last start against AZ Alkmaar, on a number of occasions Rojo aimlessly hoofed the ball to a youthful United attack that was being spearheaded by little Daniel James. The 29-year-old never looked comfortable with the ball at his feet, and his infamous rash approach to defending put United under needless pressure.
European clubs could come calling in the January window, and with everyone fit and available and some promising defensive talent coming through the academy, Rojo’s long-term future at United could be coming to an end.
Gone are the days of United fans having Jones and Chris Smalling as the favoured first choice centre back pairing at the club, Solskjaer has significantly improved the clubs defence.
The former Blackburn Rovers man has significantly fallen down the pecking order following the signing of Harry Maguire and the emergence of academy graduate Axel Tuanzebe.
With Eric Bailly still to return from injury, Jones may have to seek either a temporary move similar to Smalling if he wishes to secure regular first team football or a permanent transfer.
If Jones decides to end his eight-year spell at United, he might embark on a similar career path as former Red Michael Keane, who has successfully rebuilt his career and found himself back in the England squad.
At the age of 31, the big Serbian doesn’t have the ability to cover the ground as fast and as dominant as he once did in his prime.
Solskjaer wants a side built on energy, pace and creativity, Matic’s physical attributes are no longer suited to the frantic pace of the Premier League and with the growing emergence of Scott McTominay, Matic could be weighing up his next career move.
He has been caught dawdling in possession on too may occasions already this season and he hasn’t been able to protect the clubs defensive as stoutly as previous seasons.
His contract is due to expire at the end of the season, but there is an option to extend by a further year, following the significant defensive signings made in the summer, Solskjaer’s next priority could be to address the midfield department.
The Brazilian midfielder’s time in England has been nothing short of inconsistent, but at a club the size of Manchester United, you only get so many chances.
Fred has been lucky due to injuries and a lack of midfield signings, but his recent performances makes you question how many lives he has got left.
The 26-year-old hasn’t shown the form that convinced the club to splash out £47m on him, but if Solskjaer fails to sign his long-term midfield targets, Fred will continue to get further opportunities due to a lack of depth.
Manchester United fans are probably torn on the future of Fred, does he deserve further chances or is it time for James Garner to be finally given a chance?
After plying his trade in a fairly uncompetitive Ukrainian league with Shakhtar Donetsk, Fred has struggled to adapt to life in England, but you only have to look at the success of Fernandinho at Manchester City, who followed in the same footsteps. The clock is ticking for Fred.
United’s little Spaniard has benefitted from the injuries sustained to Solskjaer’s young forward line, but it is difficult to see what he brings to the United side.
Mata’s attacking influence on matches seems to be worryingly regressing with every passing game, despite the absence of key personnel, Mata hasn’t seized the opportunity to stake a claim for being the clubs first choice number 10.
At the age of 31, Solskjaer will not be seeing Mata as part of his long-term plans, but similar to the Fred predicament is it time for Angel Gomes to be given a chance to reignite a stale United side ahead of an experienced international.
Mata’s new contract made sense, especially with Solskjaer planning the season without Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku, but United’s number eight looks a shadow of his former self.
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