Football

Four players that could face the axe if Jose Mourinho takes over at Manchester United

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The idea of Jose Mourinho arriving at Old Trafford to manage Manchester United is gathering pace, and while the notion is still only speculation, it seems more and more plausible given the circumstances.

Further pressure was lumped on Louis van Gaal as the Red Devils endured yet another embarrassing result last weekend, losing 2-1 to Norwich at Old Trafford.

While Carlo Ancelotti is on his way to Bayern Munich to succeed Pep Guardiola, who may be on his way to the blue side of Manchester, Mourinho may be the best available option should Van Gaal get the sack.

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But what effect could the Special One have at Old Trafford? Here are four players that could suffer should his arrival materialise.

JUAN MATA

The Spanish midfielder has enjoyed a relatively successful spell at United since arriving from Stamford bridge in 2014, his highlight an excellent brace scored against Liverpool last season.

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However, how will Mourinho respond to a player he deemed surplus to requirements at Chelsea? The Portuguese manager sold Mata to United despite the Spain international winning Player of the Year twice at Chelsea.

Mourinho opted for Oscar as his preferred no.10 and insisted at the time that Mata had to "prove himself", yet sold him four months later. Mata may not be willing to play under a manager in a system where he has been already told he does not fit.

WAYNE ROONEY

Mourinho has always been a fan of the United captain and - during his second spell in charge - tried to bring Rooney to Stamford Bridge.

However, a move failed to materialise and Rooney's form has since wavered, managing just two Premier League goals this season.

Twelve league goals the season before suggests Rooney is in a state of decline and Mourinho may feel that offloading the 30-year-old is best option for United, using the cash to reinvest in a new striker.

MEMPHIS DEPAY

The Dutch forward arrived at Old Trafford carrying big expectations, having impressed during the Brazil World Cup and winning the Golden Boot in the Dutch Eredivisie last season.

In his debut season at United, however, he has flattered to deceive, matching Rooney's tally in the Premier League of just two goals. Van Gaal has given the Dutch youngster many chances, starting him in most games this campaign, but United fans are growing impatient.

It would be interesting to see how Mourinho would handle Depay were he to take over, though you suspect he would hold no hesitation in dropping or selling the youngster if his performances and attitude didn't improve.

ANDER HERRERA

When Mata reflected on his departure from Chelsea he mentioned that "creative players suffer" and Herrera may fall into this category. When he arrived from Athletic Bilbao fans were excited to have a much-needed injection of energy into their midfield and he has fast become a fan favourite at Old Trafford.

Although he impressed in his first season, his second has been hampered by a lack of playing time and many United fans insist he will not reach his potential under Van Gaal.

However, if Mourinho arrives it seems Herrera's luck might not improve. The 52-year-old has never built his teams around creative players, with Claude Makelele a regular starter in his first spell at Chelsea and Javier Zanetti a featured midfielder at Inter Milan.

Mourinho brought in Nemanja Matic in his second spell at the Blues and his treatment of Mata suggests a player like Herrera may not fit into his philosophies.

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Topics:
Premier League
Football
Manchester United
Wayne Rooney

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