Sunday’s defeat against Tottenham Hotspur showed how much Manchester United’s squad is lacking in quality. On paper, they should have a world class squad, but the quality is not there. This summer Jose Mourinho will bring in new players, but who are the five players he would get rid off, and who should replace them?
United’s record goal scorer added to his tally yesterday, when he scored the last ever goal at White Hart Lane. However, it has been clear for a few years now that Rooney is past his best and no longer adds much to the United team, as shown by him losing his starting place. Still being the club’s highest earner as well, it looks destined that he will leave the club in the summer, and will need replacing.
Rooney’s direct replacement should be Dele Ali. The Spurs midfielder again has impressed this season, bagging 17 goals from midfield and is everything Rooney used to be, possessing skill, a range of passing ability, and an eye for goal. He would cost a lot of money but at the age of 21 will re-pay it back in the long term.
Matteo Darmian has been a solid performer for United since joining from Torino in 2015, filling in at left back as well as his normal position as a right back. However, he is not a title winning player, and his inability to attack has caused frustration among United fans. With Inter Milan interested in the Italian, I believe United should let Darmian leave the club.
Roma left back Emerson Palmieri would be an ideal replacement for Darmian. Like Darmian he has played his trade in Italy, thus is defensively solid but is a lot more attacking than him. Emerson has impressed this season as Roma have mounted a Serie A title push, and at the age of 22 will be able to settle as a squad player before emerging a first teamer in the future.
The Belgian continues to divide United fans. He has never been the world class-midfielder United are used to, but as shown this season he can do a job when needed, with Jose Mourinho using him a fair bit this season. He can also scored the odd goal, such as the one against Celta Vigo on Thursday. However as shown by his red-card against Manchester City he is a liability and this summer should be the one where United finally get rid of Fellaini.
There is already talk about United bidding £40 million for Eric Dier, and he is the ideal midfielder for the team. An upgrade on Fellaini, he breaks up the opposition attacks, can play a good pass, and with him sitting back in midfield it would allow Paul Pogba to bomb forward and demonstrate his talents. Dier is also capable of dropping in at centre back when needed, thus adding to his long list of talents.
Ashley Young has been a great servant to the club, always working hard for his team-mates, and willing to play out of position to benefit the team, as shown by him featuring at right-back and left-back this season. However at 31, he is getting on a bit now and isn’t a player which wins you league titles. Therefore this season should be his last at Old Trafford.
This one is a long shot, as it is unlikely Chelsea will sell to their rivals, but Willian has similar traits to Young as he is willing to work hard for the team. Mourinho is also a fan having brought the Brazilian to Chelsea in 2013. Willian has not been a regular this season, so may seek a move away from Stamford Bridge and I believe he would be a key player for United if they persuaded Chelsea to sell.