Stay or Go? Deciding Which Players Man Utd Should Keep & Offload This Summer

Manchester United face arguably the most important summer at any point since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, with current boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer overseeing the gradual emergence of a squad that might soon have the potential to challenge for major honours again.

United need to add more players in several key positions throughout the squad, but there is also the matter of continuing to remove any lingering deadwood and streamline so that resources can be better used to build.

Here’s a closer look at every first-team player on the books at Old Trafford and whether they should stay or go this summer…


David de Gea has endured a worrying slump in form

David de Gea (STAY) – Although De Gea’s slump has lasted two years and was quite problematic in the final weeks of the Premier League season, letting the Spaniard to go is a gamble. He also deserves a show of faith for staying loyal throughout Real Madrid’s interest. Also, is the market really there for him this summer? Probably not.

Dean Henderson (STAY) – The answer to the De Gea conundrum is not simply to ignore it and hope it goes away by itself, because that has been the attempted solution so far and it hasn’t worked. He needs genuine stiff competition and Henderson can give that.

Sergio Romero (GO) – If Henderson is brought back to compete with De Gea – it may be a big if given he is rumoured to be seeking assurances of a starting role – it would be time to let Romero go. The Argentine has been a reliable and loyal number two and would be missed.

Lee Grant (STAY) – 37-year-old Grant is pretty much a perfect example of a good third choice goalkeeper, who knows the likelihood of actually playing is slim. His importance to the squad is more on the training pitch than the actual pitch.

Joel Castro Pereira (GO) – Now 24, Pereira knows that any chance of ever becoming United number one has gone. The Portuguese only has one more year left on his contract so this summer would be an opportunity to at least charge a transfer fee. Small is all it would be.


Luke Shaw had a strong 2019/20 ended by injury

Aaron Wan-Bissaka (STAY) – Already looks worth every penny of the £45m fee United paid Crystal Palace last summer. Fatigue looked to kick in towards the end of the Premier League campaign, although the chunk of the season post-restart also brought better attacking input.

Luke Shaw (STAY) – Shaw has perhaps enjoyed his best individual season at United, despite having been named Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year 12 months ago. When fully fit, the 25-year-old has an awful lot to give and injury was a cruel way to curtail his campaign.

Brandon Williams (STAY) – The teenager can be thrilled with a debut season in the first-team that has seen him make over 30 appearances. This time last year, Williams was preparing for his permanent promotion to the Under-23 squad.

Diogo Dalot (GO) – Dalot hasn’t lived up to early expectation when he joined United in 2018. Even after overcoming frustrating injury problems that plagued the first half of his season, he was so out of favour that he barely made it back into the squad when fit. Bizarrely linked with Barcelona.

Timothy Fosu-Mensah (GO) – The Dutch defender is still only 22 and made his first United appearances in three years towards the end of the Premier League campaign. That was more out of necessity, however, and his playing prospects are small if he stays.

Ethan Laird (STAY) – United need full-back depth and it is thought to be a position on Solskjaer’s transfer wish-list, but if budgetary or time constraints don’t allow it to happen that could open a door to home-grown talent Laird, who made two first-team appearances this season.


Phil Jones has no future at Man Utd

Harry Maguire (STAY) – Good but room for improvement is perhaps the best way to describe Maguire’s first season at Old Trafford. The former Leicester star clearly has capability when it comes to being a leader but he’s not a world class player himself yet.

Victor Lindelof (STAY) – Lindelof is still capable of making mistakes, but he has shown enough good things in his United career to date. The Swede is a good complement to Maguire in terms of playing style and is now 26 and about to hit what should be his peak.

Eric Bailly (STAY) – On his day, Bailly is potentially a top defender. The problem is that he has struggled for four years to stay fit for a proper run in the side. With his contract up in 2022, the coming season could be his last chance to prove he deserves to stay longer.

Chris Smalling (GO) – Of all the United players who have been on loan in 2019/20, Smalling has done the most to suggest he deserves another chance in Manchester. The problem is that he is the most saleable asset that can afford to be let go and the club need to boost the summer budget.

Phil Jones (GO) – It is sad that it has ended this way when he was once tipped for superstardom, but Jones has now overstayed his welcome at United. The 28-year-old was hopeless when he did play, which was rare, before eventually succumbing to injury…again.

Marcos Rojo (GO) – At times, Rojo looked like he could be a real United star. But woeful performances and a terrible injury record ensure he will be remembered as a flop. The latest gossip is that he would prefer to stay in Argentina following his recent loan at Estudiantes.

Axel Tuanzebe (STAY) – In what was supposed to be his breakout year as a United player, Tuanzebe was ravaged by hip and hamstring injuries and missed valuable chances to impress at first-team level. Solskjaer is a fan but he will be playing for his future next season.

Central Midfielders

Paul Pogba has performed well since returning from injury

Paul Pogba (STAY) – There was never likely to be a buyer with the necessary funds to make an acceptable offer for Pogba, but now that the Frenchman is thought to actively want to stay it is a huge boost. His relationship with United’s attacking players is special.

Nemanja Matic (STAY) – Matic earned a new three-year contract earlier this month, a surprisingly long-term deal for someone his age. The Serbian has been a revelation as United’s defensive midfield shield when it previously looked as though he was past it.

Fred (STAY) – The Brazilian probably no longer gets in United’s strongest XI, but an impressive first half of the season in a struggling team will ensure that he retains an important place as a squad player moving forward. Rotation will be key next season and beyond.

Scott McTominay (STAY) – The 23-year-old is another whose value now lies as a squad player rather than an automatic starter, although he could eventually replace Matic and will continue to develop in that role as opportunities present themselves.

James Garner (GO on loan) – Now 19, Garner needs first-team football to take his career progression to the next level and he probably won’t get that if he stays at Old Trafford in the short-term. Ultimately, Solskjaer has hopes the youngster will be the next Michael Carrick.

Attacking Midfielders

Jesse Lingard has struggled for playing time

Bruno Fernandes (STAY) – The impact Fernandes had upon joining United in January was beyond what even the most optimistic fans could have hoped for. His goals and creativity lifted the whole team and he won two Premier League Player of the Month awards.

Jesse Lingard (GO) – Lingard scored in the final day win over Leicester, his first direct goal involvement in the Premier League since January 2019, but the time has come to move on. It is telling that he barely even made it onto the bench in the league after February.

Juan Mata (STAY) – As a bit-part squad player, Mata still has something to offer United, especially when it comes to rotation and ensuring there is suitable depth for Solskjaer to call on. Could potentially leave next summer at 33 when his contract is up.

Andreas Pereira (GO) – Rather like Lingard, it was telling how little he played once United found their rhythm and a settled XI from February onwards. Arguably only appeared as much as he did this season because there were no better options.


Daniel James will be a squad player next season

Marcus Rashford (STAY) – A difficult start to 2019/20 turned into Rashford’s best season to date. He reached 20 goals in all competitions for the first time in his career and is rapidly maturing into a senior leader in the squad at the age of just 22.

Anthony Martial (STAY) – Being restored to a centre forward position and having his old number nine shirt back worked wonders for the Frenchman. There has been a shift in his mentality and attitude and he too reached 20 goals for the first time in his career.

Mason Greenwood (STAY) – Greenwood only turned 18 in October and has scored 17 goals in his debut season as a first-team player. There is yet time for him to reach 20 when the Europa League resumes and the sky is the limit for such a naturally skilled finisher.

Odion Ighalo (STAY) – Ighalo had his loan from Shanghai Shenhua extended until the end of January 2021, by which time United will hope to have secured the extra striker they are seeking. The Nigerian will continue to be a relief and cup player.

Daniel James (STAY) – The Welsh speedster seemed to run out of steam after Christmas and never quite recaptured his early form even after the season restarted. Only played as much as he did because there were no other options and will likely be a squad player in future.

Alexis Sanchez (GO) – While there may be opportunity to raise transfer funds by selling Sanchez, United mostly just need to remove the burden of the Chilean’s squad-high salary from the wage bill. With resources stretched anyway, that money could be far better spent.

Tahith Chong (GO on loan) – With a new contract until 2022 under his belt, Chong now needs first-team football to demonstrate he has got a long-term future at the top level. The right opportunities won’t come at Old Trafford right now, especially if Jadon Sancho arrives.

For more from Jamie Spencer, follow him on Twitter and Facebook!

Source : 90min