The FA Cup quarter-final defeat in March has raised questions once again about the makeup of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United squad.

The summer transfer window will represent another chance for Solskjaer to try and improve it across the pitch.

It’s not clear yet which players will still be at the club this season and it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say some are playing for their futures.

Manchester United Training Session
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Eric Bailly

Bailly is hugely talented, very quick and a hugely popular member of the squad – but he just can’t stay fit.

ESPN recently reported that United are undecided over offering Bailly a new deal, because of those fitness concerns.

Bailly’s contract expires at the end of the 2021/22 season. That means this summer represents one of United’s two final chances to get a transfer fee for him.

It would be a shame to see Bailly leave in the summer, but using the money to invest in a central defender whose fitness is more reliable would make sense for Solskjaer.

Bailly is – yet again – facing a battle to convince United he can stay fit for a consistent length of time.

Fulham v Manchester United - Premier League
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Juan Mata

Mata’s contract expires at the end of the season, although United have the option to extend it for another year.

Will United use it? Mata is an excellent professional, but Solskjaer has hardly found a role for him this season.

He’s currently injured too, which doesn’t help his bid to impress.

Not many United fans would begrudge Mata a summer exit, if it meant he gets regular football.

He’s 32 now, and won’t want to spend the twilight of his career rotting away on the bench at United.

 

His quality isn’t in doubt and he’s an example to his teammates, but this summer feels like a crossroads.

Manchester United v Newcastle United - Premier League
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Nemanja Matic

In July, United tied Matic down to a new contract which runs until 2023.

At that point, he was starting regularly for a United side who were flying en route to a third-placed finish.

Less than a year on and Matic looks like a busted flush. He looks too slow to play for this United side, and frequently drops far too deep to get the ball.

Offloading Matic would create space for James Garner to come through next season and the Serbian is running out of time to show anything which would convince Solskjaer to keep him around.

Earlier this month, Matic left the door open to rejoin former club Benfica but the aforementioned contract means he is the one who holds more of the power going into the summer.

FBL-ENG-FA CUP-LEICESTER-MAN UTD
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Edinson Cavani

There have been times this season when it’s felt like a foregone conclusion that Cavani would extend his stay at Old Trafford for another year but that’s not the case right now.

Injuries have hampered his progress since the turn of the year and his performances have dipped when he has played.

There has also been talk from his father that he’s not happy at United, which doesn’t help.

Talk has started again that United will be in the market for a big-money striker, and freeing up Cavani’s wages could be a major help in that regard.

There’s no doubting Cavani’s quality or professionalism. But it might be the case that by the summer, concerns over how fit and settled he is may mean he and United part ways.

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