It is heading towards two years since Sir Alex Ferguson stepped down as Manchester United manager, and what a dramatic turn of events has ensued. Fergie hand-picked David Moyes as his heir apparent which ended with the former Everton boss being shown the Old Trafford exit door within twelve months.
Step forward Louis van Gaal, who entered the Theatre of Dreams in his inimitable brash style, after guiding Holland to a third-place finish at last summer’s World Cup. Things looked to be on the up for United after a successful pre-season – but things quickly turned sour as Swansea claimed an opening-day Premier League win at Old Trafford. Van Gaal made some new signings, Radamel Falcao, Angel Di Maria, Marcos Rojo and Daley Blind, but none of those players can claim to have been consistent successes in their debut season.
United have looked laboured in their style of play under van Gaal – which is causing unrest within the Old Trafford fan base. The Red Devils face a tough run of upcoming fixtures, and their odds have lengthened in the top 4 betting in recent weeks due to some indifferent performances. Another summer exodus seems likely at United and in this article we will discuss some of the players who could leave Old Trafford for new career paths at the end of this season.
A recent six game ban for spitting will have done no favours for United defender, Jonny Evans in his fight to save his Old Trafford future. Whether he intentionally meant to spit at Newcastle United’s Papiss Cisse or not is irrelevant – Evans should have shown more control in the situation, and the Football Association has taken a very dim view on the Northern Irishman’s actions. Evans has hardly covered himself in glory with some of his performances in a United jersey this season, and with new defensive recruits expected to arrive in the summer transfer window, the defender could be on his way to make room in the squad.
Antonio Valencia was the scapegoat for United’s recent FA Cup exit against Arsenal, and the 30 year-old Ecuadorian is surely another who is battling to save his United career. Valencia’s short back-pass to goalkeeper, David de Gea was duly accepted by United old-boy, Danny Welbeck, who silenced the Old Trafford crowd with his decisive intervention. Valencia has had to perform at right-back in his recent career in a United shirt, but his inability to attack the opposing defender while in possession has led to frustration from the stands being vented towards him. It seems certain that Valencia is not the solution in that position, and van Gaal must surely be looking at other potential options this summer.
After becoming David Moyes’ first signing at Old Trafford, Belgian Marouane Fellaini was an immediate flop for Manchester United – and things have largely unimproved. Van Gaal has decided on using the player as a target man in United’s regular long ball approach, as it is apparent that the languid midfielder is not the answer to United’s central midfield weaknesses. Fellaini has come up with some important goals for United this season, but his performances have largely been unimpressive – and a summer move away could be best for all parties.
Colombian striker Radamel Falcao is on-loan from parent club Monaco, but the hitman has failed to repeat his finest form whilst wearing a United jersey this season. Falcao arrived with a big reputation – and an excellent scoring record for Porto, Atletico Madrid and Monaco, but a serious knee injury spoiled the 29 year-old’s hopes of starring at last summer’s World Cup in Brazil. Falcao joined United in a deadline-day deal from the south of France, but has scored just four Premier League goals, and had the indignity of an average performance in a recent U21 outing against Tottenham. United will surely be looking in a different direction for striking options this summer, as the purchase of Falcao has been an expensive mistake.