While the World Cup is currently dominating the global football scene – and let’s be honest, it’s been an absolutely phenomenal tournament – there’s still plenty going on in the world of club football. And when it comes to footballing giants, they don’t get much bigger than Manchester United.
The Old Trafford club are being linked with the who’s who of world football right now, but there are several United players who could well be heading for the exit door in order to accommodate any and all new signings.
Here, we’re going to look at five names whose Manchester United days now seem sadly numbered.
Having wowed many during his days at Southampton, the energetic, all-action left-back was seen as one of the biggest prospects in European football and was earmarked to be an England regular for the next decade. Sadly, his big-money move to Manchester United has done nothing but hinder the career of the now 22-year-old.
Manager Jose Mourinho has publicly slated Shaw at several points over the past two seasons, criticising his performances in training and in the very few games he’s been involved. Even when United put out second-string teams in the cup competitions last season, Mourinho was still hesitant to give Shaw any game time.
With just twelve months of his current contract remaining, it’s interesting to see how Luke Shaw’s situation plays out. Mourinho clearly doesn’t rate him right now, and those regular rumblings of a move to Tottenham could finally prove true this summer.
It’s an important time for Shaw, with it down to him to either knuckle down and prove Mourinho wrong, or head for the Old Trafford exit door as he looks to rejuvenate his once-promising career.
When it comes to cultured defenders, Daley Blind is one of the most talented in world football. A calm, ball-playing defender, the former Ajax star has a majestic left foot and regularly impresses when he gets a game for Manchester United. Unfortunately for Blind, those games have been few and far between this past season.
Despite being able to play at centre-back, left-back, or in midfield, it appears that the Amsterdam native’s time at United is about to come to a close. It was only this past week that Blind talked to De Telegraaf about a possible return to Ajax, with his hometown club reportedly keen to bring back their former captain.
Going further back, Blind was linked with a move to Italy with Inter Milan or to Spain with Barcelona. Wherever he goes, the technically gifted Dutchman will add quality and versatility to a team, and seeing him sat on the Old Trafford bench each week really is an absolute waste of his talents.
Since joining United in 2014, the Spaniard has regularly impressed as he’s become a favourite of many a fan of the Red Devils. Unfortunately, he’s struggled to fully cement himself as a guaranteed week-to-week starter at the Theatre of Dreams – particularly since Jose Mourinho became manager.
At 30 years of age, now would be a good time for Mata to depart Old Trafford, especially if he’s keen to regain his place in the Spain national team. In fact, it was only last month that the creative midfielder was linked with a move back to Spain with Barcelona. The current La Liga champions have missed out on Antoine Griezmann and are on the lookout for a flair player to fill the void left by the iconic Andres Iniesta, and Juan Mata could prove to be the perfect fit for the Catalan club.
For Italian full-back Matteo Darmian, it seems as if his days at Old Trafford were numbered pretty much as soon as he signed for Manchester United back in 2015. Despite having a huge reputation as one of the very best defenders in Serie A, the former Torino player has struggled to cement a regular starting place for United.
Over the past several seasons, Darmian has regularly been rumoured for a return to his home country, with Juventus having made several approaches for the defender. With Jose Mourinho now keen to offload some squad players in order to increase his transfer funds, it looks as if Darmian is finally set to move back to Italy.
According to Sky Sports, Juventus are again in the hunt for him, and Inter Milan and Napoli are also showing interesting in bringing the defender back to Serie A.
One of the most frustrating players at Manchester United right now is Anthony Martial. A mercurial, electric talent, the Frenchman often flatters to deceive. At times he can be a match-winner who will tear a defence apart all on his own, while at other times he can merely be a passenger who has zero influence on a game. And now, it looks as if the forward is about to put Old Trafford in his rear-view mirror.
While you can criticise Martial for his lack of consistency, he’s also not been helped by the fact that Jose Mourinho has rarely given him a solid run of games. Regardless, recent reports claim that Martial’s agent has asked for his client to be sold this summer.
You can’t help but feel that a move is desperately needed for Martial right now, with the 22-year-old approaching an age where he simply needs to be playing more often. The fact that he missed out on France’s World Cup squad this summer says it all. A fully fit Anthony Martial who’s playing regularly for his club would be a no-brainer to be included in the France squad, but a lack of game time has cost him a place at the most prestigious tournament in world football.
In terms of suitors, it’s a literal who’s who of football who are chasing the forward – with the most recent reports positioning FC Bayern and Real Madrid as being in pole position to sign the Frenchman.