Manchester United are currently 15 points clear at the top or the Premier League as they chase a league and couple double. There is no doubt they have an abundance of quality within their ranks but there are a few players they could do without.
Here are five players the club should move on...
1) Anderson arrived at Old Trafford in 2007 as a highly rated 19-year-old with the world at his feet. The Brazilian was expected to fulfill his potential to become a world-class midfielder capable of replacing the likes of Paul Scholes eventually.
Unfortunately he has failed to meet those high and wide expectations and he knows it.
He’s looking for a way out at United this summer after making just 12 league appearances for United of which exactly half of them he was substituted on and the other half off.
He has yet to paly a full 90 minutes of Premier League football this term and for a fee of around £10 million United could purchase someone prepared to work harder to fight for their place in the team.
2) Federico Macheda is currently on loan at Stuttgart for the remainder of this season.
The 21-year-old Italian striker has little of hope of first-team football for United behind the likes of Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck not to mention the imminent arrival of Wilfried Zaha.
United could probably command around £2 million to let him go this summer which they would be wise to do seeing as his contract expires the following summer in 2014. He’s not bad, he’s just not good enough and he likely never will be for United.
3) Ashley Young only arrived in 2011 – he cost United around £17 million from Aston Villa where he had been in sensational form.
However, injuries and niggles have hampered his hopes of becoming a star for both United and England and, whilst there’s no doubting his exceptional quality, his fitness and form are unreliable. United would be best offloading him, sad as it is, as I outlined earlier this week.
4) Nani is a strange case – he arrived from Sporting in 2007 as a like-for-like replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo and, to begin with, he looked like he might be just the trick.
However, he has been inconsistent for a variety of reasons over the last two seasons and, like Young, could be used to generate the income to buy a genuinely dangerous wide threat.
His unwillingness to sign a new contract will likely see him sold this summer for around £24 million. Between him and Young, United could easily re-invest in a player like James Rodriguez who would provide them with far more ammunition going forward.
5) Antonio Valencia is another unfortunate case. He arrived in 2009 and between his lightning speed and quality footwork he looked to be the real deal.
Sadly, a horrendous injury set him back substantially and, whilst he’s made an admirable recovery he’s not fulfilled the potential Sir Alex Ferguson obviously saw in him.
The boss can’t afford to take any prisoners with him if he wants to continue and improve United’s stronghold over the league. Valencia hasn’t made the grade and between him, Young and Nani, United could afford a genuine replacement for Ronaldo – Gareth Bale for example.
If they sold these five players the Red Devils could finance a move for a midfielder who could genuinely replace Paul Scholes – something Ferguson has been ardently trying to figure out how to do. A player like Isco at Malaga could be purchased for around £30 million or PSV’s Kevin Strootman for half that.
If they bought Rodriguez and Isco they would secure United’s foreseeable future as the biggest club in the world. They already have Wilfried Zaha arriving and Danny Welbeck can play as a converted winger, as can Tom Cleverley so they wouldn’t need to fret about cover.
They could see an income of around £70 million to £80 million if they sold these players and re-invest in their squad – this time with quality, not quantity.
image: © Gordon Flood