Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal could axe defensive duo Rafael da Silva and Chris Smalling, as he continues his transformation of the club.
This has been reported by Goal.com, who have suggested that Van Gaal is set to hold a meeting with the club's executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward over potential January dealings.
And, that could see Rafael and Smalling axed from the squad after a disastrous start to the new season. The Red Devils have secured just five points from their opening five fixtures in the Premier League this term and have been awful at the back.
Having shipped four goals against MK Dons in the Capital One Cup last month, the Red Devils conceded five goals against Premier League new-boys Leicester City at the King Power Stadium yesterday afternoon.
Both Smalling and Rafael played in yesterday's clash and struggled with the pace of the game. Rafael, in fact, gave away a penalty when United were 3-1 up and in control of the game, and he could now be sold by the new United boss.
It's been suggested that Van Gaal sees Smalling behind Jones and Evans in the pecking order at the Theatre of Dreams, meaning he could leave the club sooner rather than later. Van Gaal will be well aware that he will have to offload players in order to bring new players to Old Trafford, so Rafael and Smalling could go the same way as the likes of Danny Welbeck, Nani and Shinji Kagawa in the next transfer window.
And, if United are serious about selling Smalling, it appears that Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is interested in taking him to north London. The Gunners boss has already landed Danny Welbeck from the Red Devils this year, so it remains to be seen as to whether he will make a move for Welbeck's former teammate in the near future.
Arsenal are certainly in need of additions in the defensive area with youngster Calum Chambers the only real back-up for Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker. Chambers, however, may have to play a key role in the right-back role with Mathieu Debuchy currently out with a long term injury.
It's uncertain, however, as to whether Manchester United will do business with Arsenal again so soon following the sale of Welbeck this past summer.
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