The downfall of Manchester United has been so tragic over the last 10 years. This year their displays on the pitch have been extremely lackluster, essentially undoing all the progress they had seemingly made a season before under Ole. Ever since Ralf Rangnick has come in, it has become evident that this Manchester United squad needs to be overhauled majorly and a rebuild under Erik Ten Hag is the most logical choice. So much so that Rangnick himself has come out in the press and stated the squad needs ‘Open-heart’ surgery!
Ralf Rangnick: Manchester United need ‘open-heart surgery’ to recover https://t.co/te3eGefKW6
— The Guardian (@guardian) April 22, 2022
This Manchester United squad is the result of directionless thinking. Which has led to convoluted decisions in the transfer market and a poorly assembled squad. When the Red Devils take to the pitch nowadays everyone’s willingness to fight for the ball is also evident suggesting disruptive leadership in the squad. Their problems are actually no different from that of Everton right now .
— Mirror Football (@MirrorFootball) April 22, 2022
If Erik Ten Hag wants to revive the Red Devils, a squad rebuild would be the first step he will take at Manchester United. For the rebuild at Manchester United, Ten Hag would need a pretty big transfer kitty for the summer. Some major earners have already refused to sign new contracts and will leave for free. But Ten Hag would still need to get rid of at least 4 more players to make sure he can build a functional squad. Already several of his Ajax player’s are already being linked to Manchester United.
Luckily or unluckily for Ten Hag the 5 players that are already on their way out. Lee Grant, Paul Pogba, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard and Edinson Cavani are all out of contact in the summer. Out of these 5 Pogba and Lingard are two players that could have made Manhcester United a pretty penny in the market. But even freeing up money on the wage bill will be helpful.
🚨 Paul Pogba’s set to leave Man United as free agent. Ralf Rangnick confirms: “As things stand, Pogba will NOT renew his contract with Manchester United”. 🔴 #MUFC
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) April 22, 2022
So here are the 4 players we at FootTheBall think should be moved on by Manchester United for a squad rebuild to full take under Erik Ten Hag.
1) Phil Jones
Phil Jones joined the Red Devils back in 2011, as one of the most promising English defenders of his generation. But sadly for the ex-Blackburn player his career has been in dumps for the last 8 years due to several injuries. Resulting in a major lack of confidence and faith from managers.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 11, 2018
His career has become a tragic side story as Manchester United’s downfall has continued over the years. It is high time he moves on this window because waiting for him to see out his contract would just be a total waste of money for United.
If the record English champions are able to get anything close to 8 million pounds for the former wonder kid they should jump at that chance and cash in. We all hope Phil Jones can revive his career somewhat so that he does not retire on the physio’s table.
2) Eric Bailly
Eric Bailly’s stint at Manchester United has been very similar to that of Phil Jones. Signed under Mourinho from Villarreal back in 2016. He was seen as the new anchor of the back line under Mourinho, but much like Jones , Bailly has suffered a lot of injuries during his time at Manchester United.
23.96% – In the last two seasons, Eric Bailly has only played 1,639 minutes of Premier League football which is less than a quarter of total minutes.
On average, it is equivalent to him playing 9 games from 38 only.
Do you think he is reliable enough to be at the club? pic.twitter.com/s97ONaZpxQ
— UtdArena (@UtdArena) June 16, 2019
Without a decent run of games each season Eric Bailly’s confidence has fallen off of a cliff and United should look to cut their losses before they end up paying the defender till 2024 while he watches games from the sidelines. Luckily he still has some value in the transfer market and can cost his suitors anything around 12 million pounds.
3) Nemanja Matic
Nemanja Matic has been a decent servant to Manchester United. In fact he has probably been the only actual defensive midfielder the Red Devils signed since Fergueson’s departure that has been a relevant success. Now that the Serbian is 33 his powers have been depleting at a steep rate. He is not as dynamic as he once was. Manchester United desperately need a complete rejig in the midfield positions. They need to get at least 2 new midfielders in so that Erik Ten Hag can assemble a coherent squad.
Nemanja Matic on Jose Mourinho:
"He brought me to Chelsea from Benfica and now when I decided to come to Manchester, he was a reason to come."
Tiago Pinto get him to Roma Asap ⏳
Roma needs some quality depth and experience in Midfield. pic.twitter.com/16QWlbIuYH
— MourinhoXtra™ (@Mourinho_Xtra) April 19, 2022
Although no one will miss Matic at Old Trafford he will be missed by Premier league fans who saw him in his prime in a Chelsea shirt. He will be a decent addition for any Serie A side looking for depth in defensive midfield positions. He is also already being linked to Mourinho’s Roma.
4) Cristiano Ronaldo
When Cristiano Ronaldo returned to Manchester United in the summer of 2021, majority of the fans and pundits predicted that United would be competing for trophies. But the return of the prodigal son could not have gone more wrong. At 37, he is no way someone you can build a club around for the next 5-6 years. Although he has been United’s saviour on many occasions throughout the season. He in fact leads the scoring chart for the Red Devils this season with 16 strikes.
Ronaldo’s the problem. pic.twitter.com/mJEDQfB3Kk
— 𝙐𝙣𝙞𝙩𝙚𝙙 𝘼𝙜𝙚𝙣𝙙𝙖 (@Utd__Agenda) January 9, 2022
So you probably think we are insane when suggesting that United should sell probably the greatest player ever. But are we really?
CR7’s influence off the pitch has been called into questions this season, and rightly so. His comments against the manager, his own expectations and the club in the media have fueled the soap opera engulfing Old Trafford right now.
Cristiano Ronaldo's biggest flaw is causing Manchester United a huge problem https://t.co/fJySeVO4tk
— Man United News (@ManUtdMEN) October 17, 2021
On the pitch there is also a clear over reliance on him, something Juventus are still struggling to recover from. If United decide to stick with Ronaldo we can see Ten Hag’s bedding in period be a proper struggle. CR7 also does not fit into Ten Hag’s system properly, surely causing more friction down the line.
Ronaldo should now look for a final pay cheque where his fame is enough to mask his deteriorating ability. Next stop MLS or PSG, maybe?
Freeing up Ronaldo’s wages and the additional 20 odd million pounds that can be earned from the Portuguese’s sale will surely help Ten Hag rebuild this Manchester United squad.