A new era has officially begun at Manchester United – again – with Erik ten Hag ready to take charge of his first season at the club.
Ten Hag arrived in summer ready to take over following a dismal 2021/22 season that saw the club finish with their lowest ever Premier League points tally, following the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and failed interim spell of Ralf Rangnick.
United’s sixth place finish was of severe disappointment to fans, especially considering the summer transfer window saw them sign Raphael Varane, Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo, and the previous season had seen them finish Premier League runners up and as Europa League finalists.
Expectations are now as low as they have ever been once again among United fans who now have to stomach the prospect of yet another rebuild in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era.
Ten Hag of course wants to make his mark on United’s team as soon as possible. He has managed to do that in his first summer with the signings of Tyrell Malacia, Christian Eriksen and Lisandro Martinez, but needs and wants more.
And while there is an excitement to see which current players he can improve through coaching, it is abundantly clear that United’s squad needs ripping out, with mounds of money having been wasted on players who aren’t the right fit.
It’s left the Red Devils in a difficult position. Selling players is not easy when they have to leave behind such an esteemed club, and likely for lesser wages. Trimming the squad is a must, though, even if it means the Dutch head coach has to persevere with a smaller pool of players to begin with.
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There are younger players in need of a temporary exit to find regular, senior minutes, older players who are surplus to requirements, and those who simply no longer want to be around the club.
With all the focus on who might still come in at United ahead of the 2022/23 season, we at GIVEMESPORT have elected to focus on who ought to leave the club instead. The problem is so significant, that we’ve been able to put together an XI of players who should probably depart, be it temporarily or permanently. Be sure to check it out below.
GK: Nathan Bishop – permanent
It’s harsh on Bishop, but a reality he must face. 22 is no age for a goalkeeper and he probably could stick around at United for a little longer to learn from the ‘best’, but he’d be better served taking a risk and trying to be a number one elsewhere.
With David de Gea still firmly number one for at least the next few years, suddenly breaking into the first team feels an unlikely prospect.
RB: Aaron Wan-Bissaka – permanent
One of many worrying examples that highlight just how poorly United have conducted themselves in the transfer market, Wan-Bissaka was signed for £50 million in 2019.
Three years on, he couldn’t be any further away from looking like a £50m valued right-back and is clearly not fancied by the new manager. It’s best for all parties if he has a fresh start somewhere else. A capable player, but not at the level required for United.
CB: Eric Bailly – permanent
When Jose Mourinho signed Bailly in 2016, he was a rather unknown entity, but one that immediately became a fan favourite due to his obvious qualities.
In 2022, the Ivory Coast international has been linked with a move away several times, can barely feature regularly due to fitness woes and is near the bottom of the pecking order with United hoarding central defenders. Bailly is clearly more than capable on his day, but it clearly isn’t meant to be at Old Trafford.
CB: Phil Jones – permanent
Ferguson once suggested that Jones could become United’s greatest ever player. And while that sounds ridiculous in 2022, it highlights the sad reality of just how much injuries have ruined his career.
Now 30, the Englishman hasn’t featured over 30 times in all competitions in a season since 2013/14. The worst part is, in the eight times he featured in 2021/22, he looked one of United’s best players. He deserves the chance to move on, find a regular run of games and show his qualities.
LB: Brandon Williams – permanent
Williams broke through under Solskjaer, but has lost his way after a bright start and now appears to be surplus to requirements.
Malacia’s signing means he is unlikely to feature, but he showed he is a Premier League capable defender on loan at Norwich last season. If he harbours hopes of fulfilling his potential and perhaps becoming an England international, he must move on before getting lost in the shuffle.
RM: Facundo Pellistri – loan
Truthfully, Pellistri feels like a signing that is destined to be mentioned in ‘what happened to X?’ lists in years to come. The Uruguayan again looked bright in pre-season, but is in competition with United’s regular names and Amad Diallo, who signed for significantly more money in the same summer.
A loan to Alaves didn’t work out, but he deserves the chance to stake his claim in senior football once again before a decision is made. Pellistri is young and clearly has potential; it’s up to United to help him deliver on it.
CM: Scott McTominay – permanent
A very controversial pick for one of the most polarising players in football right now. United fans continually point the finger of blame towards McTominay for their shortcomings, but the fact every manager he’s played under has used him so frequently is telling.
Having said that, there are obvious drawbacks to his game which continually fail to improve. And with United in desperate need of another midfielder, selling the Scotland international for a considerable fee could be a wise decision to recoup some funds.
CM: James Garner – loan
Garner’s loan spell at Nottingham Forest was seriously impressive and proved that he very clearly has the talent to make it at a high level.
But again, with Ten Hag clearly keen on bolstering his midfield in the transfer market, perhaps heading out on loan once again is what’s best for his development. Forest are now a Premier League club and would present the 21-year-old with a chance to prove his worth in the top flight.
LM : Tahith Chong – permanent
Chong has had a handful of loan spells to varying degrees of success and the chance to make his mark on United’s first team since he arrived as a teenager in 2016.
Every time he has been given a chance to stake his claim at United, though, he has failed to impress. The same reality occurred in this summer’s pre-season and it has become increasingly obvious that he is not at the required level for United. Time to move on.
CF: Shola Shoretire – loan
It’s all gone a little bit quiet on the Shoretire front following his breakthrough under Solskjaer at just 17 years old.
There’s a clear reason why he became the youngest player to feature in European competition for the club, though. Shoretire has tremendous potential and is still just 18 years old, but if you’re good enough, you’re old enough. A loan would be ideal in giving him some minutes in the senior game.
ST: Cristiano Ronaldo – permanent
Sure, it was a complete dream come true for many United fans when Ronaldo dramatically returned in 2021. It has become incredibly obvious, though, that he does not want to remain at the club.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner is now 37 and will turn 38 before the 2022/23 season is over. He wants to play Champions League football while he still can, and is of no use to a squad that needs to rebuild. It’s best for everyone involved if United can find a buyer and facilitate his exit as soon as possible.