Recent reports state that Jose Mourinho will have to sell players before he can buy any in the January transfer window. This could be big news considering some of the names United have been linked with. Carlos Soler, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez are all players United have been rumoured to be after, but none of them can join until others leave.
Last season, Mourinho sold three players during the January window. Morgan Schneiderlin went to Everton, Memphis Depay was sold to Lyon, and Bastian Schweinsteiger left to join the Chicago Fire. These sales made United 39 million, which helped fund the purchases of Romelu Lukaku, Victor Lindelof, and Nemanja Matic the following summer. This January could see even more players leave the club.
Juan Mata was seen as a dead man walking as soon as Mourinho joined United. Their history is well documented, as Jose was manager when Mata was forced out of Chelsea. The diminutive Spaniard surprisingly survived the season, and was a key figure in the club’s victorious Europa League campaign. However, he has not been nearly as prominent in this seasons team, and the transfer rumors surrounding him have returned. A couple of reports have linked Mata with a shock move to Real Madrid, but the player could realistically go to any La Liga side. He will be turning 30 in April, and this could be a last chance for United to get a substantial transfer fee from his sale.
The English defender is one of the longest tenured players at the club today. Signed from Fulham in 2010, he was seen a player who could become a club legend by the time his career was over. Although he was a stalwart of the backline for an extended period, his starting spot has become less guaranteed as of late. Now, with all the depth United have at the centre-back position, there’s a chance he could be sold. There was substantial interest in the summer from Premier League teams like Everton and West Ham, and both still need help defensively. At 27, Smalling certainly isn’t past it yet, and United could get a decent return from his sake considering how much money Premier League clubs have nowadays.
Darmian was another player who was rumored to be leaving Manchester in the summer. Serie A sides Inter Milan and Juve both wanted to bring the Italian international back home, but Mourinho blocked off any of these advances. At the time, it seemed like the right call. Darmian had just started the Europa League final, and was a part of the reason why United were able to shut down the Ajax attack. Fast forward 6 months, and he’s lost his place in the starting XI. Ashley Young has rejuvenated his career, with his performances at left back keeping him in the first team. Marcos Rojo and Luke Shaw are getting closer and closer to returning from injury. It is also clear that United are looking to buy a new left back sooner rather than later, and that new signing would only push Darmian further away from the first team. With the World Cup fast approaching, and Darmian still a starter for Italy, he might want to leave United in search of consistent match time. Most clubs in the Serie A would gladly take him.