Manchester United would do well to clear out a number of their under-achieving players as they prepare for life under new manager Erik ten Hag next season.
The Red Devils are limping to the finish line of this hugely disappointing campaign, with interim manager Ralf Rangnick failing to get much out of these players before the time comes for him to step aside and make way for Ten Hag to come in as the new permanent manager.
It’s not going to be an easy job for the Dutch tactician, but former Man Utd midfielder Luke Chadwick has told CaughtOffside about the changes the new man in charge could make to help get the new era off to a positive start.
Chadwick believes there are at least five, if not more, first-team players who should be sent packing, while Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong could be an ideal signing to strengthen United in the middle of the park.
When asked about players who could leave as part of Ten Hag’s rebuild, Chadwick said: “Phil Jones hasn’t played regularly for a number of years now so it would probably be best for him to move on, and I’m sure he’s got a lot to offer to someone else in the Premier League.
“Wan-Bissaka, he came in and did really well at first but he’s not got that extra dimension to his game or made enough improvement to his game in the final third of the pitch, which is so important in the modern game. You look at Manchester City and Liverpool, their full-backs offer so much going forward and that’s an area that Wan-Bissaka hasn’t improved enough in.
“I think Martial’s time has come, he’s gone out on loan and just hasn’t found that consistency. It does look like it’s the right time for him to start again somewhere else.
“Bailly’s never had a solid run of games. Lindelof would be a bit more in the balance, though, I’d imagine. He’s had some good spells, and was obviously selected ahead of Harry Maguire for the Arsenal game, but he’s also not been an automatic starter as much this season.
“The way the team’s playing at the moment, you could add quite a large number of players to that list. At the same time, the new manager has to take a look at the players and make his own mind up once we get to pre-season.
“I think the new manager will come in and assess these players. Obviously there does need to be a change, and a freshness about the squad, and hopefully the finances will be there for him to bring players in.
“It’s not going to be a short-term process, but there needs to be a long-term plan about what the team’s going to look like and the style they’re going to play. In Solskjaer’s early days they looked an effective counter-attacking team, but a club like Manchester United can’t do that in every game – you can’t play at Old Trafford in front of 80,000 and try to get smaller clubs in the Premier League on the break, it just won’t be effective.”
There’s already a decent amount of transfer gossip and speculation naming Ten Hag’s former players who could be lined up to join him at Old Trafford, and Chadwick is certainly a fan of Barca ace De Jong.
The ex-Red Devil also mentioned Donny van de Beek, who has struggled since joining United from Ajax a couple of years ago and who is currently out on loan at Everton.
“De Jong’s a hugely talented player, and he looked particularly at home in Ten Hag’s Ajax team that got to the Champions League semi-finals a few years ago,” Chadwick said.
“He didn’t hit the ground running at Barcelona but I think he’s improved as time’s gone on. He looks like someone who’d appease the fans – I think United supporters will want to see that brand of football that did so well for him at Ajax.
“De Jong’s a fantastic passer of the ball and I think Ten Hag could do well to build his midfield around someone like that.
“You look at Donny van de Beek as well as someone who could potentially get more opportunities with a manager who knows and trusts him.”