Manchester United: Whether to keep, sell or release every squad member


Manchester United have finally confirmed the identity of their next manager.

Erik ten Hag will take charge of the club from the end of the season, on a three-year deal with an option for a fourth – and he has one hell of a task ahead of him.

The incoming boss will be expected to oversee a rebuild in his own image, and implement a fresh style of play with a mix of current squad players and new arrivals. And there’s set to be plenty of departures.

Here’s the 90min take on who stays and who goes before the start of next season.

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Dean Henderson

Dean Henderson is sure to leave the club in the summer / Visionhaus/GettyImages

David de Gea – KEEP – David de Gea is in the keep section for now because he’s among United’s leading performers. Always pretty damning when it’s a goalkeeper though, isn’t it? But his inability to distribute the ball effectively and play out with his feet make him yesterday’s man. There’s a need to upgrade here in the future, but not immediately.

Dean Henderson – SELL – Henderson was meant to be the man to succeed De Gea between the sticks, but he blew his chance last season and has barely had a look in this term. It’s time to cash in and reinvest. You’d imagine if United were capable of selling well they could make some decent money here…but time will tell on that one.

Tom Heaton – KEEP – Homegrown and experienced. Good option for a number three.

Lee Grant – RELEASE – It’s expected Grant will leave at the end of the season. His best performance at Old Trafford came for Stoke City.

Harry Maguire

Harry Maguire’s world has turned upside down / Matthew Ashton – AMA/GettyImages

Harry Maguire – KEEP – How do you sell Harry Maguire when he cost £80m and the captain’s armband is weighing him down to a point of embarrassment? You can’t. He’s staying. The main positive is there’s a not much farther to fall.

Raphael Varane – KEEP – You’d hope Varane’s injury record can improve next season, but United are better with him in the team. He’s stuck in this mess for a while yet, whether he likes it or not.

Victor Lindelof – KEEP – Worth selling if there’s a decent offer coming in, but also seems a logical option to keep as a rotational centre back. Likely to stay.

Eric Bailly – SELL – Signed a new contract less than a year ago and is noticeably unhappy that Maguire’s getting picked ahead of him. As much fun as he’s been, Bailly needs to be sold.

Phil Jones – SELL – Signed a new contract in 2019 on wages no other club on the planet would pay and has barely featured since. Typical United really.

Axel Tuanzebe – SELL – Has spent time out on loan at Aston Villa and Napoli this season, and can’t get in either team. Doesn’t scream future academy star at Old Trafford unfortunately.

Aaron Wan-bissaka

£50m down the drain, etc etc / Visionhaus/GettyImages

Aaron Wan-Bissaka – KEEP – Similar case to Maguire. Bought for £50m and has huge limitations for a United right back. There’s not a chance in hell United will recoup their outlay so they’re stuck.

Diogo Dalot – KEEP – Defensively suspect but has ability going forward. Needs a coach to bring the best out of him.

Luke Shaw – KEEP – Still United’s best full-back, probably, and has actually shown he can be great. Has the abilities to flourish under Ten Hag. This season’s been awful, though.

Alex Telles – SELL – Hasn’t cut it since joining. Could make their money back on him.

Brandon Williams – LOAN – He’s said it himself this week; there’s little point going back to United to sit on the bench. Another year’s worth of experience elsewhere could be the best option.

Paul Pogba

It’s not been a great six years for PP / Soccrates Images/GettyImages

Paul Pogba – RELEASE – It’s expected now that Pogba will leave United for free twice. A failure on the club’s part.

Scott McTominay – KEEP – McFred will live on forever.

Fred – KEEP – McFred will live on forever.

Nemanja Matic – RELEASE – Has already confirmed he’s leaving. Definitely signing for Mourinho’s Roma, isn’t he?

Bruno Fernandes – KEEP – Has recently signed a new deal and will remain a key part of the furniture into a new era.

Hannibal Mejbri – KEEP – Could be a squad player moving into next season, and showed more fight in five minutes in a recent loss at Liverpool as most of the squad have all season.

Andreas Pereira – SELL – The biggest problem will be getting him off the books permanently, because there won’t be many takers.

Donny van de Beek – KEEP – Can see him finally getting his chance under Ten Hag, who used to manage him. But he’s hardly impressing with Everton at the moment, so the jury remains out.

Marcus Rashford

Marcus Rashford looks bereft of confidence / Matthew Ashton – AMA/GettyImages

Jadon Sancho – KEEP – We’re starting to see the better side of Jadon Sancho, but it’s been a tough first year overall. Will be one of the first names on the teamsheet next season.

Marcus Rashford – KEEP – Fans are split on this one, and suggestions are that Rashford is too. He’s at a crossroads in his career and has lost his international place months out from the World Cup. Needs to find his happiness and confidence again – and it would be a real shame if that didn’t happen at United. Worth sticking with.

Jesse Lingard – RELEASE – Most signs point to Lingard seeking regular first-team football somewhere else. He’s not getting it at United, so at 29, it’s time to go.

Juan Mata – RELEASE – Out of contract and has stayed just that little bit too long.

Anthony Martial – SELL – Won’t be signed permanently by loan club Sevilla, but United could raise some cash if they find a buyer. Martial has had long enough.

Anthony Elanga – KEEP – Fresh faced, with the right attitude and desire to grow. Should be a fixture in the squad for the coming years.

Amad Diallo – LOAN – Might need another year’s worth of adjustment to British football – ideally at a Premier League club.

Cristiano Ronaldo

The homecoming hasn’t gone to plan for Ronaldo / Soccrates Images/GettyImages

Cristiano Ronaldo – SELL – The prospect of Cristiano Ronaldo not playing in the Champions League isn’t something you’d think he could stand for. Might be best to cut the return short and put the team first since so much change is on the horizon anyway.

Edinson Cavani – RELEASE – Decent first year but has been an expensive, injured and useless mistake in season two. Will leave on a free transfer.



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