This season is shaping up to be Man United’s worst since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement, and the outgoings list needs to hit ten.
Marcus Rashford would not have been on Manchester United’s summer hit list of players. The news that Rashford is weighing his options for the future came as no surprise, just as Oleksandr Zinchenko’s embrace of Rashford during Sunday’s warmup was.
At Manchester City, the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo, Edinson Cavani, Anthony Martial, and Mason Greenwood meant that Rashford began on the bench. With less than two months to go until the commencement of his first important career start, Anthony Elanga was ahead of him.
Wythenshawe-born Rashford, who came up through the ranks at Manchester United’s academy, scored in the 2016 Etihad Derby to put the game to bed and again in 2019. Your performance will be evaluated based on your current actions rather than your past accomplishments. Rashford’s exclusion from the starting line-up was bound to hurt more than his bench appearance against Watford eight days prior.
There have been two starts for Rashford in the last 11 Premier League matches. However, Rashford’s goalless streak as a league starter dates back to May, despite United’s lackluster second half against City and Monday’s news.
Jadon Sancho’s revival and Elanga’s increased activity on the right have coincided with Rashford’s move to the left. Rashford’s poor form has now lasted for more than a year.
He’s apprehensive about leaving United, the team he grew up supporting, but a change of environment could benefit both parties. Jesse Lingard, a close friend of Manchester United’s manager Louis van Gaal, has been left in limbo and is now a target for Newcastle. It’s inevitable that Jesse Lingard and Paul Pogba will run out of contract at Manchester United, two of the club’s most marketable assets.
Only Sancho, Bruno Fernandes, and David de Gea should be consistent starters for Manchester United if they are to challenge for the Premier League title next season. With Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof’s deficiencies exposed, Raphael Varane’s value was reaffirmed in this brutal defeat.
United’s worst-case scenario would be a trophy-less season in May and relegation to the Europa League or Conference League. In the aftermath of that horrific campaign, three-quarters of their strongest defense was wiped off. Louis van Gaal’s first two transfer windows saw the sale of Alexander Buttner, Shinji Kagawa, Michael Keane, Danny Welbeck, Anderson, Darren Fletcher, and Wilfried Zaha, and the loaning out of Javier Hernandez and Tom Cleverley.
United’s next summer exodus must surpass the ten-figure mark, just as it did that year. According to Ed Woodward’s epitaph, the Red Devils are finally in a position to sell players, something he had tried unsuccessfully for eight years prior. Regardless of who takes over as manager in the near future, the abundance of free agents on the squad gives United confidence.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka was the 805th right-back that Manchester United scouted before deciding on him. Wan-Bissaka is the polar opposite of the traditional Manchester United player – reticent, meek, and desultory in his approach to the game. In the second half of City’s game, a furious Fred snapped at Wan-Bissaka, hitting his hands and yelling at the midfielder. After two years, Solskjaer was ready to move on from Wan-Bissaka in favor of Kieran Trippier.
Wan-Bissaka and Maguire each cost £130 million to sign with United in 2019. They’ve failed the litmus test now that the crowds have returned and expectations have risen because of it. Wan-Bissaka is no longer a viable option for Manchester United, and captain Harry Maguire has lost his luster as a leader.
Quality is lacking in Scott McTominay and Fred’s work. Even though his blunder for City’s second goal was unintentional, Elanga is still immature and irresponsible. Four months from now, it is likely that Pogba will no longer be a Manchester United player.
Some United supporters would rather forget Edinson Cavani, an armchair player whose only run of form earned him another year’s wage of £13million. While Juan Mata will be gone but not forgotten for Anfield 2015, some United supporters would rather forget Edinson Cavani. United should honor the remainder of his contract if they have any morals at all on their side.
Donny van de Beek’s preference for Everton in the summer suggested that he lacked the mental toughness to succeed at Manchester United. As it is, he’s in danger of being relegated. Jose Mourinho’s advice to Woodward in 2018 should have been heeded, since Martial has had only two solid seasons out of seven. The resale value of Martial is lower than it was in the past.
Eric Bailly has made 113 appearances for Manchester United over the course of six seasons, and he is currently the club’s fifth-choice centre-back – behind Phil Jones – less than a year after being incongruously awarded a new deal. When the season is over, Bailly’s yearly appearance average will be less than 20 games, and he should be out of the league. Jones should follow suit.
Axel Tuanzebe’s loan spell with Napoli has been a disaster, with just two games in two months and no goals since January 13. Despite Alex Telles’ lackluster performance as Luke Shaw’s backup, Brandon Williams is not a long-term threat.