The transfer window is now underway and Manchester United will be looking to strengthen the squad.
This means taking a hard look at the players on the club’s books too, and working out who should stay, who should go, and who may need a loan move.
Ahead of the window, here is a look at 35 first team and fringe Manchester United players, and where each of them stand heading into the summer.
David de Gea – The Spaniard’s future could go one of two ways. We know he is unlikely to be kept on as a back-up. De Gea still has flaws in his game, two of which came to light in the Europa League final, with poor kicking and a seeming inability to save penalties.
De Gea is on high wages and is costly for United to keep as a back-up. With big European clubs making managerial changes, the goalkeeper could find there is an increased market for his services. Prediction: De Gea leaves.
Dean Henderson – If United keep De Gea then Henderson will be off, and this would be a risky move on United’s part with the goalkeeper a future England number one.
Henderson still has room to improve, but giving up on him now could be a big error. He has made excellent progress and showed in the win over City that his distribution can make him an upgrade over De Gea. Prediction: Stay
Nathan Bishop – Rarely seen Nathan Bishop has been fourth choice this summer and the possible arrival of Tom Heaton won’t make his life any easier even with Lee Grant leaving.
The 21-year-old needs to put his coaching at United to good use and play regular football. A loan to a Championship or League One club is his best option. Prediction: Loan
Aaron Wan-Bissaka – There is very little to say on Wan-Bissaka’s future itself. He is a key player who has made 100 appearances in two seasons.
He could face extra competition from an arrival at right-back, which could further help him raise his game. Prediction: Stay
Brandon Williams – After his breakthrough season, the 2020/21 campaign was a big disappointment for Williams, who was kept on as a back-up at right-back.
He can’t afford another season of stagnation and there was loan interest in him during the last two transfer windows. Expect him to be sent out on loan to another Premier League club to continue his development. Prediction: Loan
Diogo Dalot – Dalot may have a bright future, but it is unlikely to be with United. He did enough on loan at AC Milan to show he can be an asset elsewhere, and raise funds for United’s transfer budget. Prediction: Sell
Ethan Laird: If both Williams and Dalot leave, then there is a possibility Ethan Laird comes through as a back-up right-back. Laird impressed on loan at MK Dons, showing he can stand up to the rigours of professional football after bad injury luck for the under-23s.
Laird’s prospects depend on whether United sign a right-back or not. If the club do add another, then expect Laird to be loaned out, possibly to a Championship club. If he seizes a chance to impress in pre-season, then Laird could be United’s stand-in, and save the club money in the market. Prediction: Stay or loan dependent on other moves.
Victor Lindelof – Victor Lindelof’s future at Manchester United is not under threat, this summer. But if United do sign another centre-back, then Lindelof will be pushed down to third choice, and in 2022 or 2023 there may be a conversation over his future. He is a player United need to upgrade on, but he will still have a valuable tole to play. Prediction: Stay
Harry Maguire – United’s club captain’s role is as safe as any other player in the team. Perhaps next season he will get a few more rests, after he finally broke down with injury after playing non-stop for two seasons. Prediction: Stay
Eric Bailly – Bailly has made clear he does not wish to stick around if he is not first choice, despite signing a new contract. The problem is, he has not been able to displace Victor Lindelof from the team, and United may add another centre-back. There is likely to be a parting of the ways with Bailly after five years this summer. Prediction: Sell, possible part-exchange with Pau Torres.
Axel Tuanzebe – United’s young centre-back has the ability, but he has not had much luck over the past two seasons. He should not be happy with his current role, especially as with regular football, he could have been in the England squad.
A loan deal should appeal to Tuanzebe, but if United sell Bailly, then it does not make sense to let him leave too, even if another centre-back arrives. It is probable Tuanzebe stays and fights for his place for another year. Prediction: Stay.
Luke Shaw – United’s most improved and most consistent player of 2020/21, Luke Shaw’s spot in the side is as secure as Harry Maguire’s. Prediction: Stay.
Alex Telles – Shaw’s quality has made it difficult for Alex Telles to make the impact he is capable of. There will no doubt be links touting the former Porto man with an exit from Old Trafford, and you could not blame him if he is frustrated.
If United grant him an exit, then you know what will happen, Luke Shaw will get injured, and we will be back at square one. Next season may be different for Telles, and he should stick around to find out. Prediction: Stay.
Teden Mengi – Promising centre-back Teden Mengi saw his season saved by a productive loan to Derby County. You don’t see many 18-year-old centre-backs playing on loan in the Championship, and Mengi is better for his loan spell. Derby want him back and this is likely a deal which gets done. Prediction: Loan.
Phil Jones: Jones has not played a game since January 2020 and never came close during the season just gone. United would love to get him off the books, and providing Jones can stay fit, that will happen. The problem is with his injury record and high wages, clubs will see him as high risk. Prediction: Loan.
Nemanja Matic: Few players took a backwards step this past season like Nemanja Matic. His snub for the Europa League final shows where he stands in Solskjaer’s thoughts.
United need to sign a new defensive midfielder and this will help pave the way for Matic’s exit. There is likely to be substantial interest from Serie A, and United could raise around £10 million from his departure. Prediction: Sell.
Fred – Like Victor Lindelof, Fred’s future at United is not under threat but he could see his role reduced next season by new arrivals. Prediction: Stay.
Scott McTominay – McTominay showed during the Europa League final what a top quality player he can be, and he has reached those levels a fe times during the season just gone. He will continue to play an important role. Prediction: Stay.
Paul Pogba – This is such a tough one to read. Pogba has given few clues over his future, and while United would like to extend his deal, there has been no progress in renewing his contract over the past 12 months, and just one year remains.
Managerial changes at Real Madrid, Juventus and possibly PSG will make Pogba a more sought after target by new bosses looking to spend, and United could have a tricky decision to make. Whatever happens next will be determined after the Euros. Prediction: Flip a coin, this one could go either way.
Donny van de Beek – Expect plenty of speculation from spurious foreign sources that Donny van de Beek will be sold this summer. Don’t bet on it happening. He is under contract until 2026 and was signed with a bigger picture in mind. Prediction: Stay.
Bruno Fernandes – Is there anything which needs to be said here? Bruno stays, end of. Prediction: Stay.
James Garner – Garner is an interesting one after playing 40 games at Championship level. He now either needs a loan move to the Premier League, or to go straight into United’s squad.
His role at United will be dictated by possible Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba departures, incomings, and how he performs in pre-season. With first team stars at the Euros, he could get an early chance to impress, and bet on him to seize it. Prediction: Stay, or be loaned as part of a transfer swap deal.
Ethan Galbraith: A breakthrough season for Ethan Galbraith did not quite materialise and he now needs a loan move to demonstrate his potential.
There should be plenty of interest in the Northern Ireland international after Garner’s recent success. Prediction: Loan.
Hannibal – Hannibal made his debut this past season and looks to be a surefire star of the future. Only 18, Hannibal has time on his side and there is no need to send him out on loan just yet.
Expect United to keep him flitting between the under-23s and the first team squad, and make a handful of first team appearances next season. Prediction: Stay.
Dylan Levitt – Two separate loan moves have worked out poorly for Levitt, with injury ending his stint in Croatia. It is really hard to see a way through for the Welshman at United at this point, but he may get another last chance loan to try and improve on this year. Prediction: Loan or sell.
Juan Mata – Mata’s contract is set to expire and while United would grant him an extension if he wants one, now feels like the right time to move on and Mata should recognise that. He barely played this past season and should have plenty more left to offer if he returns to Spain. Prediction: Prediction: Leaves on a free.
Jesse Lingard – A fantastic loan move for Jesse Lingard to West Ham has rejuvenated his career and got him back into the England squad. It will be impossible for him to now go back to playing a bit-part role at United.
Lingard will leave, it is just a matter of where. Does he return to West Ham or hold out for a better move? Prediction: Sell.
Andreas Pereira – A loan to Lazio was unconvincing and the Serie A side won’t be taking up their option to buy. Pereira’s time at United is done, however, there is no place for him. Whether it be in Italy, Belgium, or Brazil, United and Pereira will work to find a solution for his permanent exit. Prediction: Sell.
Tahith Chong – Another player who seemingly does not have what it takes to make it at United. Chong ended both loan spells in Germany and Belgium on the bench and out of favour. At this point it better for United to simply cash in for a small fee. Prediction: Sell.
Marcus Rashford – Rashford will be both helped and challenged by the potential arrival of Jadon Sancho. A move would decrease United’s reliance on Rashford, but also possibly push him out of the first choice XI. At this stage of his career it is a challenge Rashford should embrace.
One issue at hand is to extend Rashford’s contract, which expires earlier than some of his teammates. Prediction: Stay.
Anthony Martial – Martial’s name will be thrown around this summer with potential swap deals or a sale, but don’t expect any to materialise. From a business perspective it makes little sense for United to sell on the back of a seven goal season when his stock is at it’s lowest ever.
Martial netted 23 goals a season ago and expect him to be given another chance to recapture that form. Prediction: Stay.
Edinson Cavani – It is lucky Cavani’s contract is already extended and we no longer have to worry about his role next season. Cavani will play a major part, and while there is a challenge to get a replacement sorted from 2022, now is the time to simply enjoy Cavani and try to work on getting the best from him while we have him. Prediction: Stay.
Mason Greenwood – Expect another big season for Mason Greenwood after he ended this season strongly. Prediction: Stay.
Anthony Elanga – Elanga showed great promise this season for the under-23s and by scoring a first team goal. He is player capable of featuring more prominently at first team level if given an opportunity. It is possible he could stay in the first half of the season and then be loaned in January if the first team chances are not there.
A strong season for Elanga, either at United or on loan, could accelerate Martial’s future departure. Prediction: Stay or loan.
Amad – United have huge hopes for Amad and will want to keep tracking his development first hand. Prediction: Stay.
Dan James – James’ future depends on what he wants. Is he happy with playing a bit-part role at the club, or does he want to leave and play first team football more regularly.
Solskjaer likes James and it seems the winger is content with his current role. There will be interest from elsewhere, but the speedster will likely stick around. Prediction: Stay.
Shola Shoretire – A fantastic breakthrough season from Shoretire saw him score 10 times for the under-23s and provide six assists. He is only 17, and he will continue in the same age group next season, and hope to mix in at first team level where possible. Prediction: Stay.
Facundo Pellistri – Pellistri is United’s potential James replacement, but he is not ready yet. While he picked up good experience on loan at Alaves, United need to see more.
Another loan deal is required for Pellistri to kick on and improve and show he has what it takes to challenge for United’s first team. Prediction: Loan.
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