Manchester United have certainly signalled their intent in the transfer this summer as they aim to overhaul the 12-point gap to rivals Manchester City and win a first Premier League title since 2013.
The Red Devils finally tied up a deal to bring Jadon Sancho to Old Trafford for £73million from Borussia Dortmund after a long-running saga, and have agreed a deal in principle for Real Madrid centre back Raphael Varane in a deal worth £42m.
Jadon Sancho’s signing was a statement of intent as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer targets the title
Raphael Varane is also set to move to the Premier League giants after a deal was agreed
However, with the ongoing financial effects of Covid-19 on even the biggest clubs’ budgets, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will need to offload some players before targeting any further signings, with the likes of Leon Goretzka, Eduardo Camavinga and Saul Niguez among those being considered if Paul Pogba leaves for Paris Saint-Germain.
Here are six players who could be heading for the exit door.
Injury and lack of form has meant that Phil Jones hasn’t played since January 2020 for the club
Sportsmail ran a piece on Tuesday explaining that despite Jones’ last match for the club coming against Tranmere in the FA Cup on January 26 last year, the 29-year-old has not attracted any interest after falling out of favour under Solskjaer and then picking up a knee injury last summer which he has still not yet recovered from.
Four centre backs still at the club have featured in the Premier League since Jones’ last appearance in the competition and with his contract still with another two years to run, United will be hoping a bidder comes for the beleaguered defender soon, especially since Varane’s arrival has pushed Jones further down the pecking order.
The 28-year-old’s career at his boyhood side seemed to be going down a dead end under Solskjaer.
After having to settle with coming off the bench in the majority of his 40 games in all competitions, the attacking midfielder only featured three times last season – all in cup games – before being shipped out to West Ham on loan.
Jesse Lingard sparkled for West Ham last season after falling out of favour under Solskjaer
There, he blossomed under former boss David Moyes, operating as a No 10 and starring regularly with nine goals and five assists in just 16 league games for the Irons to earn them Europa League qualification and force his way into England’s initial Euro 2020 squad before failing to make the final cut.
The fact that he was even considered by Gareth Southgate though showed how far he has come in such a short period of time, although he may be in for a reality check having returned to his parent club.
Despite being picked by Solskjaer in pre-season and scoring in the 4-2 defeat to QPR, he will find his work cut out starting regularly if the Norwegian persists with a 4-2-3-1 formation.
Lingard might be able to force his way into the team if the boss opts for a 4-3-3 formation
Bruno Fernandes is still very much the creative force in that system, with Jadon Sancho’s arrival nailing down the left-wing spot and Marcus Rashford capable on playing on the right, with Edinson Cavani as the lone striker.
Lingard’s ability to play on both left and right flanks may give Solskjaer the opportunity to use him in a 4-3-3, and with his contract running out next year, United may want to sell now and the Englishman may prefer to seek pastures new if he is to stay in Southgate’s thoughts on a regular basis, with Atletico Madrid said to be interested in his services along with the Hammers.
Brandon Williams struggled for game time last season due to Luke Shaw’s strong displays
The United academy product enjoyed a breakthrough campaign in 2019/20, with his committed, energetic displays seeing him often keep Luke Shaw out of the side.
However, Shaw’s superb performances last term earned him the club’s Player of the Year award as Williams struggled for game time and although has three years left on his current deal, he may be getting itchy feet if he continues to sit on the sidelines.
Williams’ has started United’s three pre-season games against Derby, QPR and Brentford while Shaw has been holiday after the Euros, but didn’t cover himself in glory at Loftus Road and is set to lose his place once the 26-year-old returns, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka having nailed down the right-back position.
Andreas Pereira needs starts aged 25 and was often brought off the bench for Lazio last term
The Brazilian’s ridiculous off-the-bar volley against Brentford was an eye-catching reminder of his talents.
However, it’s difficult to see where he fits into this United side with the current players at Solskjaer’s disposal.
After a loan spell at Lazio last season where he featured regularly as Simone Inzaghi’s men finished sixth in Serie A, the 25-year-old really needs to find a home where he can get regular starts under his belt, with Paul Pogba’s possible departure only likely to lead the club to sign a replacement midfielder
Axel Tuanzebe is behind a quality group of centre backs and has been linked with a move away
The English centre back is ahead of Jones in the central defensive pecking order, but finds himself firmly behind Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly and new signing Varane.
Like Williams, Tuanzebe struggled against QPR and at 23, the time has come to go in search of regular football.
Newcastle have been linked with a move for Tuanzebe, while Aston Villa are also reported to be interested.
Diogo Dalot has barely featured for United in the last two seasons but was good at AC Milan
It is easy to forget that Dalot is still a United player, having played just four times in the Premier League over the past season.
The Portuguese right back enjoyed a positive season at AC Milan as Stefano Pioli’s men finished second in Serie A and reached the round of 16 in the Europa League before being eliminated by the Red Devils.
It’s clear that Solskjaer isn’t his biggest fan and with Wan-Bissaka not likely to lose his spot any time soon, Dalot would probably be best looking elsewhere for first-team action as he attempts to add to the first two Portugal senior caps he won this summer at Euro 2020, with Real Madrid reportedly plotting a surprise move for the 22-year-old.