Mourinho’s midfield dilemma next summer: who to go
Three midfielders should leave Manchester United, but the problem is they can all sign pre-contract agreements in six weeks. Out with the old and in with the new has very much been the proven route to success in the 21st century. Jose Mourinho typifies the current managerial climate, where very few reigns last more than three years. The United hierarchy might be patient with him, but he needs a league title quickly. With his city rivals playing the way they are, it could be the first time he doesn’t win the league in the second full season of a managerial tenure.
Players to go
These three players are ultimately squad players at the moment. But Manchester United in past times have had a squad of quality players in all positions, it’s high time United return to that. So in no particular order:
The former Everton man has been at the club for over The Belgian was not exactly the most popular signing, but has become a vital cog in Jose’s machine over the last few months. But it’s a fact, with limited capabilities and at 30, his time at the top is coming to an end.
He was pursued for the best part of two years and Van Gaal succeeded in acquiring him. But it wasn’t until 2016/17 where he really came into his own. He was a favourite of Jose Mourinho last season, developing into a fine holding midfielder who was United’s top interceptor and passer, becoming the metronome for the club. However, since the arrival of Nemanja Matic, the Spaniard has seen his game time dramatically decrease. What’s worse, the team looks more balanced with the midfield duo of the Serbian and Paul Pogba. Meanwhile, last season, we fans thought that two players would be needed to cover United’s record signing when he’s attacking. Matic being played alongside Pogba has disproved that. The Spaniard’s days could be numbered.
At 36, he’s not lost his technical ability, but in a game that’s evolved in recent years, his time might be up. The West Ham graduate has been a faithful servant. But Nemanja Matic is his long-term replacement who’s seven years his junior and the Serbian’s influence has already been telling on the midfield.
There’s no doubt that the United faithful will react differently. For the revived Belgian, it’ll be relief more than anything else, however. The £27m 2013 deadline-day purchase from Everton has overall been a disappointment and is yet to have repaid his price tag. Marouane’s time at United, in summary, has been underwhelming.
Ander Herrera now will be met with much less positivity. After the season he had, United fans would be generally unhappy (myself included). His performances levels have dropped this season, but in all fairness, it’s hard to produce Kante-esque numbers while not being that typical tank in midfield. Eventually, that form will wane. But at 28, he should be entering the peak of his powers, so it might be a little premature.
Finally, Michael Carrack who has provided stability in recent years within a midfield that had none. Brought up and developed under the tutelage of the great Paul Scholes and forged great partnerships with him and Darren Fletcher in his time. Recent years have seen him plagued with injury, which has caused his normally mobile passing style be adapted to resemble that closer to an Andrea Pirlo type role. Having had his testimonial earlier this year, it’d be fitting for him to retire in the summer.