Manchester United’s summer squad clear-out and future potential

Nemanja Vidic playing for Manchester United

Fans and pundits have talked throughout this season about the possible clear-out at Manchester United this summer, but honestly, how many potential big name players would be willing to join a team who are not in the Champions League next season? As a Manchester United fan, I don’t see United getting into the top 7 at the moment, never mind the top four. Fans have to be realistic about both the near-future prospects and the realisation of where the club will finish at the end of the season.

Given a top-four finish looking unlikely at this point, the dream for all Manchester United fans would be a Champions League entry scenario, whereby if United went on to win this season’s Champions League it would mean entry into next season’s competition, at the possible expense of Liverpool – however that situation, if it did arise, would have to be examined by UEFA at the end of the season. That would be sweet, but I don’t see that happening with the way United are playing at the moment, writing this article after drawing 0-0 away to an Arsenal side who were hammered 5-1 by Liverpool last weekend.

I would like to see David Moyes give a proper estimate of where in the table he expects United to finish this season, in addition to giving details on just how extensive this summer clear-out might be.

Current squad – Possible departures this summer

With Anderson currently on loan to Fiorentina in Serie A until the end of the season, it seems that he was the start of the offloading process by Moyes, with Zaha quickly following suit towards Cardiff. The reason for Zaha’s exit was possibly more than just a drop in form, according to many outlets before his exit. However was he in fact given less of an opportunity than other players in the squad?

On to Tom Cleverley. Where do I start on the midfielder who many thought was the man to replace Paul Scholes when Scholes retired. Cleverley now looks massively over-rated, and was probably made to look a lot better than what he actually is under Paul Scholes. That is my stance on Tom Cleverley, who I could not end up seeing leading a Manchester United team to success in the coming years. Lets look at history here. Could anybody tell me the last time Manchester United loaned a midfielder out to another club for a spell until the end of a season, and who returned to the club sparkling from experience from his temporary club, and who ended up being a success at Manchester United? I can’t. After Cleverley was loaned out to Wigan Athletic, he came back to United and had a decent spell of performances. This season however he just hasn’t been good enough, and for the sake of his England career, never mind his United career, he has to look at where his future stands at the club.

I am prepared to give Marouane Fellaini a chance, taking into account his trouble with injury of late. I just pray that £27 million has been money well spent, and not well wasted!

Rafael’s form this season is just such a mystery. I think he has in fact gotten worse in his defending this season, to culminate with his inability to cross the ball lately, no more so evident at Fulham at Old Trafford last Sunday. With Nemanja Vidić announcing his departure at the end of the season, Rio Ferdinand possibly looping towards retirement or at least semi-retirement in Major League Soccer, defensively United do not look solid at all.

Back to the point I made earlier, with the help of achieving the signature of Juan Mata mid-season, knowing that there was Champions League football on the schedule, I’m not saying ‘if’ Champions League football is not achieved, I’m saying ‘when’ it’s not achieved, could even a club as big as Manchester United attract the biggest names, minus the joy of knowing they’ll be playing in Europe’s top competition next season? I’m not sure.

The scouting system, the way to go?

History shows that Manchester United are one of the best clubs in Europe at scouting top talent over the years. Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement obviously took all the limelight when it was announced last May, however one other very noticeable retirement at that time was by his brother Martin Ferguson, who was United’s chief scout. Martin Ferguson, who found Ruud Van Nistelrooy amongst others, is surely going to be missed at the club, especially with the restraints of financial fair play in today’s game.

Scouting has to be a focal point in United’s rebuilding process – history points to it being successful, why can’t it be successful in future teams? Adnan Januzaj, has been one of the stand-out performers in United’s games so far this season. It is vital that the club try their best to hold onto the youngster, with not only countries looking for his signature, but also clubs making serious sized bids to capture his talents. With the ‘class of 92’ having helped propel United to such success during the 90’s, David Moyes will be hoping to see something similar during his tenure at the club, with the help of another good chief scout to help out perhaps.

Woodward’s promise to strengthen squad helpful?

I feel the situation of Ed Woodward at the club at the moment is just down to poor decision-making at the hands of the Glazers after David Gill, former United Chief Executive, decided to call time on his spell at United. Woodward, who was formerly in charge of the commercial side of business at the club during Gills time as transfer chief, has found himself in one of the most important jobs in the club. The situation with regards to Athletic Bilbao midfielder Ander Herrera near the end of the summer transfer window baffled me to say the least, with accusations being made about ‘phantom’ agents being used in the buy-out clause negotiations, whereby Ed Woodward seemed to be in a bit of a mess communication-wise with his associates around the Herrera signature that never happened.

In addition, many pundits and fans felt that Fellaini was over-priced at £27 million, but time will tell in regards to that particular deal. The Mata signing was a massive relief in my opinion, as I felt that it was on cards all January, but unfortunately the Toni Kroos rumours came to nought, which was disappointing. Nevertheless if the money is provided by the Glazers, surely Woodward can stick to his word and provide quality players who show ambition to succeed, which is also a mentality David Moyes will hopefully drill into the current crop of players.

Manchester United fan, but love all things Premier League and Champions League!
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