Pogba out, De Gea in doubt: The Manchester United players who could leave this summer
On track for a second-placed Premier League finish and a vast improvement on last season’s points tally, Manchester United seem to be heading in the right direction.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can point to several signs of progress during his tenure, even though he is yet to add silverware to the Old Trafford trophy cabinet.
Still, if the Red Devils are serious about regaining the top spot in the Premier League next season, they know their squad will need some work this summer.
And, just as much as bringing players in, it is vital United get things right in terms of who they let go when the current campaign comes to a close.
It was only a matter of time before the David De Gea/Dean Henderson situation became untenable. A United legend in the prime years of his career versus an academy graduate that is perceived as a future England No.1 – a tricky situation for any manager to deal with.
That may well have left De Gea’s future in doubt, though his reported £350,000-per-week salary could be a stumbling block in any potential move away from Manchester.
Eric Bailly has been left disappointed with his lack of gametime and therefore considering his future at the club, according to recent reports. The 27-year-old has endured his injury struggles at Old Trafford but has also been left out when fit at times this season.
Bailly’s pace makes him seem the perfect fit for a partnership with Harry Maguire but Solskjaer has clearly lost trust in the Ivorian.
United’s links to the likes of Jules Kounde ahead of the summer mean they are likely to look to move one of their centre-halves on.
Paul Pogba is a player that continues to divide opinion among Manchester United fans, but he has enjoyed something of a renaissance under Solksjaer in the second half of this season that could save his United career.
That seemed an unlikely outcome in December, when the player’s outspoken agent, Mino Raiola, suggested his client was determined to seek a move away from Old Trafford.
However, with Pogba’s contract only running until 2022, United will have to make a decision on his future either way this summer.
Elsewhere in midfield, Nemanja Matic is now 32 years of age and, though he remains a capable rotation option, might wish to seek our more regular football as he edges towards the end of his career.
Jesse Lingard has enjoyed an incredibly successful loan spell at West Ham which will certainly have increased his market value. There is a chance that he remains a Manchester United beyond this summer but it would make sense to cash in while his stock is high. After all, the 28-year-old is not going to displace Fernandes as the first-choice attacking midfielder.
Juan Mata is also set to leave the club with his contract expiring at the end of the season. United chose not to activate a one-year extension to Mata’s deal, allowing the Spaniard to leave after seven years at the club.
Anthony Martial has underperformed this season, leading to speculation that United will attempt to bring in a big-name striker to take his place.
That said, with signings on the right wing, in defensive midfield and at centre-back the priority, Solskjaer will not want to leave himself with too much work to do.
Another reason that Martial could remain in Manchester is if Edinson Cavani decides not to prolong his stay in the Premier League. The Uruguayan has been linked with a move back to South America to be closer to his family, potentially limiting United’s striking options going into next season.
Cavani’s potency in front of goal will be missed, but his departure could bring forward Mason Greenwood’s inevitable transition into the centre-forward role.