These footballers will be looking to move on with competition for places in the squad going up.
Manchester United is a club synonymous with success and a fanbase that spans the entire globe. But the Red Devils have been going through a lean patch in the last few years. They have brought in players who have been important but it hasn’t resulted in trophies since 2016, when they won their last one. Last season, they finished second in the Premier League in 2020-21 and endured a shock defeat in the final of the UEFA Europa League against Villarreal CF.
The club had a proactive transfer window in the summer of 2021. They went out and strengthened their squad with the additions of Raphael Varane, Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo. The club has an exciting squad capable of challenging for trophies. Now with these additions, it has become clear that Ole’s side will also need to remove some players to make space in the squad.
A few players are either surplus to requirements or have not been given much playing time. Therefore, these five players could look to move on in the winter transfer window in January 2022.
5. Phil Jones
Phil Jones has endured a difficult time at Manchester United in the past few years. The former Blackburn defender signed a decade ago but has always been a supporting player at the club. Jones has never completed more than 30 games in the league and has completed more than 25 league games in only two out of his 10 seasons at Manchester United.
Jones has been out of action since January 2020 owing to different injuries. In the meantime, he has fallen down in the pecking order. The club has since got Varane, Maguire, Lindelof and Bailly.
Now 29, Jones’ time at United seems to be at an end. The 27-capped England international would be better off looking for a role elsewhere to resurrect his career.
4. Eric Bailly
Bailly signed for Manchester United in the 2016-17 season. He had a great first season with the English giants, winning the Europa League and the League Cup. But since then, he has never completed more than 20 league appearances for the Red Devils.
Like Jones, Bailly has suffered multiple injuries. These injuries have limited him to only 106 appearances in five seasons. The Ivorian has had a few bright spots but his highly aggressive nature has also got him into trouble at many times.
He is currently behind Lindelof, Varane and Maguire in the centre-back pecking order. Bailly is only 27 and would be capable for another club where he could get more gametime. But it seems highly unlikely that the Ivorian would be able to fulfill the potential that defined him when he first walked through the doors of Old Trafford.
3. Anthony Martial
Martial capped a dream debut for Manchester United by scoring against rivals Liverpool in front of the famed Stretford End crowd in 2015. The Frenchman has had some memorable moments in the Reds shirt. He had a fantastic 2019-20 season scoring, 23 goals in all competitions (squad highest) and 17 in the league (joint-highest with Marcus Rashford).
But he has faced periods of inconsistency as well which has limited his potential. Now the Frenchman faces an uphill battle to surpass the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford and Edinson Cavani in the lineup.
This season, Martial has got a few minutes making substitute appearances. But his ability and quality demand more. It is still easy to forget that Martial is only 25. Therefore, he would be looking to move to a club where he can secure regular gametime.
He has become a regular in the France national squad as well. Therefore, it is a crucial time for him to play more and get himself on the plane to Qatar as part of France’s squad for the World Cup next year.
2. Jesse Lingard
Like Martial, Jesse Lingard has also gotten little time off the bench this season. The Manchester United academy graduate played magnificently for West Ham United in the second half of last season. Lingard scored nine goals and made five assists in a six-month blitz for the Hammers on loan.
He narrowly missed out on the England squad for the Euros but shone for the Three Lions in the previous international break. Therefore, this season would be crucial for him to make it to the England squad for the FIFA World Cup next year. West Ham looked to sign Lingard permanently, but he instead opted to fight for a spot in the United lineup.
But time seems to be running out for Lingard at his boyhood club. In his current form and quality, he deserves regular game time, something he would only be served somewhere else outside Old Trafford. Lingard is too good to play second fiddle off the bench. But currently, like Martial, that is what he might have to settle for at United behind Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba.
1. Donny van de Beek
Donny van de Beek has rather received some unfair treatment from Ole Gunnar Solksjaer. The Dutchman signed for Manchester United in the summer of 2020.
But he only made sporadic appearances last season playing 19 times in the league. While it was touted that the Dutchman was adjusting to life in the English top-flight, there have been widespread concerns over the usage of van de Beek by Solksjaer.
Things reached a boiling point when van de Beek’s agent reacted to Ronaldo’s signing as a potential death knell for van de Beek’s game time. It was also reported that Ole blocked a transfer this summer for the Dutchman stating that he has plans for van de Beek in the squad. But it is quite head-scratching to think what that role could be.
But nonetheless, if the trend of playing the Dutchman sporadically continues then for his sake, it is only optimum that he is given a chance to continue and rediscover his form elsewhere. There is no doubt that there would be plenty of suitors for the 24-year old.