The signings have already been made, now it’s time for the departures.
Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho hasn’t wasted any time in rebuilding his squad, signing Eric Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan before a single preseason match has been played.
And while a move for Paul Pogba is still being sorted out, the exodus is set to begin.
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According to the Mirror - who quote the Daily Record - Juan Mata, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Daley Blind and Marcos Rojo will all be shipped as Mourinho prepares to wield the axe.
The four players probably won’t be surprised to learn their fate - especially Mata, who was sold by Mourinho when he was at Chelsea.
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But it reaffirms the Portuguese’s desire to have specialist players in his squad, not the multi-functional ones that Louis van Gaal brought in.
In Mourinho’s eyes, Mata’s lack of pace, stamina and poor defensive skills are a detriment to his plans. The arrival of Mkhitaryan, who moves the ball forward at a swifter pace, deems the Spaniard surplus to requirements.
Schweinsteiger was expected to become a dressing-room leader; an influential figure both on and off the field. However, the German made only 13 Premier League starts and has little to offer.
Blind, who followed Van Gaal to Old Trafford after the 2014 World Cup, suffers from being mediocre in various positions.
While Van Gaal admires the flexibility, Mourinho doesn’t believe Blind has the physical stature to be a first-choice centre back and doubts the 26-year-old is good enough to play in midfield.
Rojo, another of Van Gaal’s multi-functional signings, could not command a starting place at either left or centre back. United fans will be happy to see the back of the Argentinian based on his 16 league appearances in 2015-16.
£100m for Pogba
Though United will be forced to take a loss on those four signings, who cost close to £80 million combined, the Premier League club will take what they can as they look to stump up the £100m it will take to sign Pogba from Juventus.
Real Madrid are said to have dropped out of the running to sign the 23-year-old, leaving the door open for Mourinho to complete an impressive haul of incomings.
However, his agent, Mino Raiola, told The Times that Pogba isn’t desperate to leave Turin.
“He is in no rush to leave, and Juventus do not want him to go,” Raiola, who also represents Ibrahimovic and Mkhitaryan, said.
“We are very happy at Juventus.”
United must hope that Mourinho’s appeal is enough to convince the Frenchman to return to the Theatre of Dreams.
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