Manchester United are still licking the wounds of the humiliating 4-1 defeat to Manchester City on Sunday.
By the time that the Red Devils entered the closing exchanges at the Etihad Stadium, accusations that they had simply given up started raining in on Twitter as City swaggered their way to over 90% possession at times.
In the end, braces from Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez, undercutting Jadon Sancho’s equaliser, defeated United on the day, but it was the broader significance of the result that was truly damning.
Worrying times for Man Utd
It’s not that United fans were particularly shocked to have come away from their ‘Noisy Neighbours’ empty-handed, but rather the nature of the performance confirmed their worst fears about the current regime.
As the Old Trafford club hurtle towards an uncertain period in their history and the search for a new permanent manager, the lack of progress since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s sacking has made for a tough pill to swallow.
With dressing room leaks and tepid performances aplenty, there’s a quiet understanding that the Premier League giants will need to change more than just the person in their dugout this summer.
Calls for Man Utd to sell key players
And while a large part of that will come in the form of incoming transfers, Ralf Rangnick himself will know better than most that the squad needs to be streamlined with some strategic and ruthless outgoings.
Besides, you only have to look at Roy Keane declaring that “five or six [players] should never play for Manchester United again,” after the Manchester derby to get an idea of the problem’s magnitude.
However, former Premier League Golden Boot winner Chris Sutton thinks that Keane was actually understating things, which is not something that you don’t hear very often about the United legend’s punditry.
Sutton ‘bins’ 10 Man Utd players
But that’s because Sutton believes that up to 10 players should be sent packing from the ‘Theatre of Dreams’ with everyone from bit-part players to top-class stars slammed as part of his Daily Mail column.
Admittedly, Sutton concedes that he’s under no illusions that all 10 players he’s classified under ‘bin’ will be sold at the first opportunity, but he clearly still thinks that they’re not the way forward for United.
So, as the Red Devils limp ever closer to the revolving door of the summer transfer window, who is Sutton pointing towards the Old Trafford exit? You can find out with our overview of his verdicts down below:
1. Aaron Wan-Bissaka
Key line: “Is Wan-Bissaka a bad right back? No. But in a weekend in which Trent Alexander-Arnold, Reece James and Kyle Walker showed what they’re all about, Wan-Bissaka is lagging behind.”
While it might sound as though Sutton is stating the obvious, lest we forget that ‘AWB’ was once being touted in that conversation and the 24-year-old’s decline ever since then has been worrying to watch.
2. Victor Lindelof
Key line: “As if allowing Foden to loop the ball over him wasn’t bad enough, he then stood and watched Kevin De Bruyne score instead of getting back to help.”
Look, Lindelof isn’t perfect and he’s probably not up to scratch as a regular starter for United, but a tough day at the office against City shouldn’t completely undercut all his good work recently.
3. Harry Maguire
Key line: “Maguire’s £80m move to United hasn’t worked out. He’s not the Virgil van Dijk they hoped he was.”
It’s pretty hard to imagine United flogging their club captain, so don’t put too much faith in Sutton’s wishes, but there’s no denying that Maguire has endured a torrid, torrid season.
4. Alex Telles
Key line: “Completing a fully-binned back line is Telles, who was pointing at De Bruyne as he scored City’s opener.”
We’d lean towards keeping Telles around in the interest of squad depth, but there’s more than enough evidence now to suggest that he’s not good enough to be United’s first-choice left-back.
Key line: “I’d let Fred leave. He lacks discipline, wanders and switches off.”
One of the most divisive players in the United squad, Fred is probably a midfielder worth keeping around because there’s potential for him to shine in a new manager’s system as more of a box-to-box outlet.
6. Paul Pogba
Key line: “Pogba’s time in a red shirt is up. There have been too many distractions and I don’t think we can say it’s been a success.”
Consistently inconsistent, United fans must be bored to death of Pogba flitting between world-beating performances and looking completely out of his depth on almost a weekly basis.
7. Marcus Rashford
Key line: “Reports have suggested he wants out. If that’s the case, off you pop.”
Rashford simply hasn’t looked himself this season. It would certainly be sad to see his fairytale journey at Old Trafford come to an end, but perhaps now is the right time to seek pastures new.
8. Jesse Lingard
Key line: “Time for Lingard to cut ties and get his career back on track.”
It seems inevitable now that Lingard will run down his contract and leave in the summer, which makes sense for both parties because the 29-year-old is far too talented to be collecting dust on United’s bench.
9. Cristiano Ronaldo
Key line: “I see this as more of a commercial signing than a smart one in terms of tactics. He’s 37 now and it’s time to move on.”
If Ronaldo is going to leave in the summer, then you’d imagine that it would come on his own terms as opposed to United’s, but there’s certainly reason to believe that his Old Trafford return was misguided.
10. Edinson Cavani
Key line: “I don’t think he’s the future. In the summer, United should really be looking for someone who can lead them for seasons to come.”
This is like a break-up you don’t want to go through, but that you know is for the best. It’s time to thank Cavani for his services and amicably part ways.
Who should stay and who should go?
Ruthless. Absolutely ruthless.
However, it’s important to note that Sutton’s breakdown of the United squad wasn’t merely a bloodbath, because he was also keen to tip his hat to the players who can take the club forward into the new era.
The former Chelsea striker placed Bruno Fernandes, Jadon Sancho, Anthony Elanga, Scott McTominay and David de Gea in the ‘keep’ category.
Nevertheless, regardless of whether or not you agree with all of Sutton’s tips for the United exit, the fact that so many players are being discussed as potential outgoings says it all about the club’s predicament.
Who knows, perhaps a new manager will be exactly what’s needed to save these 10 players from an early departure, but recent performances suggest that Sutton’s recommendations are hardly unreasonable.
Don’t be shocked if a fire sale is top of United’s agenda in the summer. We’ll just have to wait and see whether the outgoings are closer to Keane’s estimates or Sutton’s whopping cohort of ten…