Two players who were given very few chances at Manchester United could be enjoying European football next season.
When Alex Buttner left Manchester United for Dynamo Moscow earlier this summer, he spoke of his desire to play in the Champions League.
While it may have been a not-so-subtle comment on his former club’s fall from grace, the truth is Buttner will be turning out in the Europa League next season rather than Europe’s elite competition.
But even so, the Dutch left-back will be enjoying more than just domestic football, while his ex-teammates set about regaining their place in that company.
Soon after Buttner’s transfer, rumours of Bebe moving to Benfica began to circulate. And now it seems more likely than not that the Portuguese winger-cum-forward will make a permanent return to the Primeira Liga after shining there on loan last season.
Unlike Dynamo, Benfica are in the Champions League following their outstanding and unexpected title win ahead of deposed champions FC Porto. And that raises the distinct possibility of two of United’s unwanted extras playing midweek matches while those who remained at Old Trafford can only watch.
Football is a strange beast, and one that does not always make sense. But if Bebe joins Buttner in moving, a duo deemed surplus to requirements at United will be taking part in exactly the type of matches their former fans can only reminisce about for at least one season.
And yet with Louis van Gaal in charge, you sense it will not stretch to two.