Three more out? Could just two of United's lacklustre midfield remain next season?

Inside Old Trafford

Big changes are occurring at Manchester United, so just how many of last season's central midfielders will remain for Louis van Gaal's first campaign.

Prior to the arrival of Ander Herrera, Manchester United fans could have been forgiven for wondering if their club would ever sign another quality central midfielder.

That area of the field had been United’s Achilles heel for many a campaign, and yet time and again other positions were strengthened while the same old midfielders turned out for the club.  

While Marouane Fellaini arrived last season amid talk that United had finally found a new box-to-box man, in truth the Belgian is anything but, excelling further up the field where his stature and ability in the air cause havoc among opposing defences.

In what was a considerable indictment on David Moyes' midfield five, only Michael Carrick and Tom Cleverley scored a Premier League goal last season - and just one each at that - while only Fellaini provided a single assist.

  GoalsGoal AssistKey PassTotal Scoring AttemptOn-target Scoring AttemptAppsMins
Michael Carrick 1 0 28 17 5 29 2,413
Tom Cleverley 1 0 10 15 5 22 1,579
Marouane Fellaini 0 1 5 25 8 16 1,106
Darren Fletcher 0 0 7 5 1 12 779
Ryan Giggs 0 0 9 5 2 12 503

With a total of 6,380 minutes of Premier League football between them, United's central midfield scored or created just three goals, which is simply not good enough.

In contrast, new arrival Herrera scored five and set up six for Athletic Bilbao last season; not outstanding figures but certainly better than what United's lacklustre quintet could muster.

With Giggs now retired, Herrera signed and rumours other midfielders will follow - with Kevin Strootman, Arturo Vidal and William Carvalho strongly linked - one wonders just how many of United's midfield from last season will remain at the club.

Fellaini is likely to be given another chance, all be it further up the field and as something of a Plan B, but Fletcher and Cleverley in particular will find it hard to make it into Louis van Gaal's plans if another central midfielder arrives this summer, while forgotten man Anderson is surely on his way.

Carrick is the one player who should still have enough to force his way into the Dutchman's first-team, although perhaps not as regularly as he has previously enjoyed.  

But it appears United's midfield could look considerably different next season...and considerably better as a result.

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