Over 27 matches into the Barclays Premier League season and Manchester United boss Louis Van Gaal still doesn’t know what his best starting XI is. Although the 13 time Premier League champions have been plagued by injury issues over the campaign, the Dutchman is still frequently changing his squad, despite having the majority of players available. We take a look at some of the men who have fallen out of favour at the club, and a few other shock suggestions as to who may be leaving Old Trafford in the summer.
The United winger, who joined the club in July 2007, was loaned out to Sporting Lisbon – as part of the deal to bring Marcos Rojo in – at the start of the season after failing to impress the new manager on their preseason tour in the United States. Since his nomination for the 2011 Ballon d’Or award in 2011, Nani has suffered a number of niggling injuries that have kept him on the sidelines for prolonged periods. Although he has sparkled since his return to Portugal, the 28-year-old is unlikely to replicate this form in the Premier League and Sporting may choose to make his loan into a permanent deal.
The Brazil international has also failed to impress Louis Van Gaal this year, and has been playing in the reserves side for the majority of the campaign. The Dutchman has preferred Antonio Valencia and Paddy McNair at right-back over Rafael – possibly due to the full back’s rash, attacking nature. The Brazilian has a tendency to give away cheap fouls and free-kicks in dangerous areas, while his crossing often leaves a lot to be desired. It would not surprise many to see the 24-year-old exit Old Trafford in the summer, particularly after his twin brother left the club in the January transfer window last season.
An interesting suggestion, Mata may also look for a move elsewhere after falling out of favour at the club. Earlier in the season, Van Gaal consistently selected the Spaniard in his starting line-up, however, after some poor performances; Mata has found himself on the bench while the likes of Adnan Januzaj, Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini have found themselves in Van Gaal’s 11. There is no doubt that the 26-year-old is a talented footballer, but his work ethic is poor and that may be the main reason why he is not being selected at Old Trafford.
Falcao has arguably been the most disappointing player in the entire Premier League this campaign. After United signed the Colombian on deadline day in August, many expected him to be the focal point of their deadly attack – but this has not been the case. With just four league goals this season, he has struggled to adapt to the pace of England’s top flight and it appears that he will never regain the blistering form before he suffered his cruciate ligament injury last January. Unless he drastically improves, the Red Devils will not be making his loan deal a permanent one in the summer.
Evans is the least likely of the five to leave the club, although if Van Gaal brings in a world class central defender to play alongside Marcos Rojo then the Northern Ireland international will drop further down the pecking order. Although he has shown glimpses of quality at United, Evans has rarely performed at a consistently high level – an absolute necessity for the Red Devils. This campaign, the manager has leaned towards Phil Jones as Rojo’s current defensive partner and with Evans’ contract running out next summer, the writing may be on the wall for the 27-year-old.