Will this crocked Manchester United mainstay be allowed to leave for free?

Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick is out of contract this summer - will the Red Devils let him leave for free?

The start to the Louis van Gaal era has been turbulent to say the least. The Dutchman is still without a competitive win since replacing David Moyes in the Old Trafford hot seat, and he's now spent over £150m on new talent in a bid to arrest the Red Devils' slump.

Van Gaal has brought in Marcos Rojo, Luke Shaw, Daley Blind, Ander Herrera, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao in a bid to propel United up the title, but defeats to Swansea City in the Premier League and MK Dons in the Capital One Cup have severely dampened spirits around the club.

Whilst bringing players in has been the name of the game so far, a number of players have also left in the last week, with Michael Keane, Shinji Kagawa, Wilfried Zaha, Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck all moving on to pastures new - and there could be another big loss on the horizon.

Midfield Michael Carrick is currently sidelined with an ankle injury, and could be as far down as fourth in the midfield pecking order after the arrivals of Blind, Herrera and Di Maria. He's subsequently had no chance to impress new manager van Gaal, and with over £100m spent on the aforementioned trio, they figure to be ahead of Carrick when it comes to team selection.

Factor in that the club are believed to be interested in striking a January deal for Roma star Kevin Strootman and Carrick's days could be numbered - especially as his contract expires in 2015.

At 33, it's becoming increasingly difficult for Carrick to prevent these injuries and niggles, and as such it becomes harder to recover from them. With the influx of midfielders and potentially more on the horizon, Carrick may be forced out of Old Trafford, and it's not like we haven't seen United parting with their old guard after Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra all left the club this summer.

It wouldn't be a surprise to see Carrick return to one of his former clubs in Tottenham or West Ham when his contract expires, but a move back up to his hometown club Newcastle United could also be a possibility. With little talk of a renewal and too long on the sidelines, Carrick looks likely to be leaving in a year's time - unless something dramatically changes.

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