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Who should leave Manchester United this summer ahead of Erik Ten Hag’s rebuild?

(Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

Amongst all the talk around incomings ahead of the 2022/23 campaign, fans of Manchester United know that the removal of certain personnel is essential this summer should Erik Ten Hag have long-term success at Old Trafford.

Frenkie de Jong, Jurrien Timber and Anthony are three names that have dominated the transfer talk around the club as the season comes to a close, and it cannot be disputed that these types of players would bring good quality and a better mentality to the team, especially considering the quality and mentality of the current crop.

Yet, with that being said, it would be pointless bringing in a fresh, determined mentality if the rotten, unmotivated mindset still lurks around Carrington.

Outgoings are essential, and here is a look at who ought to leave the club this coming transfer window in each area of the pitch…

Goalkeeper

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The mismanagement of both David De Gea and Dean Henderson was there for all to see during Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s tenure at the club. Following his successful loan spell at Sheffield United in the 2019/20 season, Henderson could credibly have made a case to be United’s first-choice shot-stopper ahead of the upcoming campaign; De Gea had been at the club for many years, and with his form having staggered at the time, many fans saw an opportunity to freshen things up between the sticks. Henderson was given a fair chance, making 13 Premier League appearances in 2020/21, but Solskjaer eventually decided to stick with De Gea, with the Spaniard now a candidate for 2021/22 player of the season.

The decision to offer Henderson a lengthy contract on £110,000 a week was a baffling one at the time, and it remains baffling to this day. The 25-year-old has barely kicked a ball this season, probably establishing himself as one of the most expensive backup keepers in world football. Henderson has to leave the club for sure.

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Reports are linking him with Newcastle, who will have no trouble paying the suggested £30-40m fee. The Tyneside team are on a great upward trajectory and are undoubtedly going to improve in both the short and long term. Regular, first-team football in a growing Premier League side could see Henderson’s England career revived, and with the World Cup around the corner, it makes perfect sense for all parties involved. De Gea is now the established starter at Old Trafford, with Tom Heaton and Lee Grant always there when needed, so from a money-making perspective, United should be alert.

Defence

There is not one defender at the club who fans would unanimously agree on keeping, bar perhaps Raphael Varane, but even he has struggled with injuries from the get-go, as well as the odd shaky performance in recent weeks. When considering the quality and prestige of the Frenchman, though, it is likely Ten Hag will want the 29-year-old by his side next year.

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Harry Maguire has been subject to immense criticism in recent times, but with his £80m price tag and his status as club captain, his departure seems very unlikely. Some supporters are sick of the sight of Victor Lindelof, but the Swede could prove a very useful squad player- not everyone can leave in one window.

Eric Bailly and Phil Jones should leave for the betterment of their careers. Bailly was promised game time when he signed a new deal under Solskjaer’s management, a promise that ultimately fell through, but he has shown himself to be a good player when fit and given a run of games. Similarly, Jones is probably a good shout for a mid-table Premier League club, especially as a squad player, if not a starter.

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Axel Tuanzebe and Brandon Williams will likely be assessed under Ten Hag, but the time could be right for both of them to pursue a career elsewhere. Tuanzebe has hardly lit the world on fire at Aston Villa or Napoli this season, and for all the good showings Williams has had at Norwich, not many look at him and think of a ‘Man United player’, so to speak. Although, squad depth is crucial, so not many fans would berate the club for keeping these lads around.

Luke Shaw and Alex Telles can probably occupy the left-back spot for another season. The club are preparing a new contract for Shaw, with Telles seen on leaked kit images, so it is worthless entertaining the idea of either leaving.

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Aaron Wan-Bissaka has been linked to a loan move back to Crystal Palace, but considering the value and interest of Diogo Dalot, maybe it would be worth keeping Wan-Bissaka, selling Dalot as an asset to raise funds and keeping Williams as back-up. Truth be told, none of the current full-backs look like title-winning material, though.

Midfield

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With Jesse Lingard, Nemanja Matic, Juan Mata and Paul Pogba leaving upon the expiry of their contracts, fans should not expect too many other outgoings in the midfield positions this summer.

Lingard has had his relationship soured with the club, perhaps down to both parties- false promises on a United end and petulance on the player’s part. Matic and Mata will leave on a good note with fans, with the two veterans showing their class in a dismal team of late. As for Pogba, fans will long debate the true reason behind his failures at Old Trafford for years to come, but one thing for certain is that he ought to leave and pursue other opportunities at 29-years-old.

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Scott McTominay and Fred have proven to be limited in areas of their game, but considering the lack of effort and desire in the current squad, they may prove to be very useful throughout next season; the pair have become two of the more likeable faces amongst the fans when looking at their effort levels and passion to play for United. Of course, effort and passion should come as standard in a red shirt, but the reality is that a high majority of current players do not have that, so the Scotsman and Brazilian could be good for building a better mentality under Ten Hag. Looking long-term, one of them should probably go next summer, with the other becoming a squad player, but they are not so much an issue for the here and now. Also, with four midfielders leaving for free, the club cannot afford to lose McTominay and Fred at this time.

Amad Diallo, James Garner and Facundo Pellistri are three young players returning from loan, all in very different circumstances. Garner may look for a Premier League loan where he can play lots of games in the biggest league following a great spell at Nottingham Forest, whereas Amad and Pellistri may look for further loan moves simply to get some minutes, with neither of their loans flourishing in 2021/22. Hannibal Mejbri may look to gather first-team experience at a Premier League or Championship club at 19-years-old.

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Andreas Pereira was reported by ESPN to have been informed by John Murtough recently that- should his permanent move to Flamengo break down having been on loan there this season- Ten Hag is keen to assess him this summer during pre-season. Make what you will of that.

Bruno Fernandes will definitely stay following the signing of a new contract. As will Donny van de Beek, you would think, as Ten Hag will welcome a former player with who he had success with open arms. The Dutch midfielder will help instil the manager’s mentality and philosophy in the dressing room, almost like a new signing.

Attack

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Following a dismal spell at Sevilla where he has been jeered by his own fans, Anthony Martial will surely look to settle down somewhere and get himself back to his best. The situation has turned toxic at United, and his departure seems inevitable.

Many think that Marcus Rashford should move on for the good of his career. Having played at the club for six years now, perhaps the Englishman is lacking motivation in a mediocre environment. A move away could be the best thing that ever happens to him, yet club politics play a part here; United will not want to lose Marcus Rashford MBE for exposure reasons. To be fair to Rashford, he has got some quality, so a second chance would not be outrageous. He is a divisive figure amongst fans and the current problem he has needs a resolution for sure, though.

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Edison Cavani is going to leave on a free, so it is extremely likely that Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Anthony Elanga all stay next season. Youngsters such as Alejandro Garnacho, Shola Shoretire and Tahith Chong may look for loan moves.

Chong is an interesting case as nobody truly knows his level; injuries have hampered him at Birmingham City and he hardly lit the world on fire despite gathering good praise, so you would think he may look to move on at 22 and establish himself. With that being said, he is a fast, tenacious, hardworking Dutchman, and you just never know what Ten Hag has in mind.

Summary

With a host of players set to leave on a free transfer, there will certainly be some outgoings at Old Trafford this summer. Fans think that a good few more need shifting on after that, but it is worth keeping in mind that the club cannot sell fifteen and sign fifteen in one window. There will probably be a couple of bad eggs still around next season; Ten Hag and the players who are on board need to do the best they can to drown out the negative influence and work towards their goals as a team. Perhaps the club will look to sell a big name, somewhat of a sacrifice if you like, simply to send shockwaves through the club. Regardless, outgoings are definitely required this summer as Erik Ten Hag looks to rebuild Manchester United.

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