After Jose Mourinho made it clear that Manchester United only want “specialist” players, the futures of multi-functional players at United have been thrown up in the air. The new Manchester United manager suggested that “one or two” multi-functional players would have a place in the squad yet United are a team with a wealth of non-specialist players meaning sales are expected, but whose most at risk of heading out the exit door?
Having previously being sold by Mourinho during his time at Chelsea, it is clear that there is something about the fan-favourite that the ‘Special One’ doesn’t like. Whether it’s his dual-ability; the Spaniard is able to play as an inverted winger or behind the striker, or the fact that he doesn’t appear as the ‘winner’ Mourinho associates himself, remains to be seen but it seems Juan Mata will be at a different club come the start of next season.
Odds on a move to Everton have been slashed in the last few days as a number of circumstances take its toll on Mata’s United future. Ronald Koeman’s previous history managing Mata at Valencia sparked great admiration between the pair and with the new injection of a £100m transfer kitty for Koeman to exploit, a star name is wanted at Goodison Park and Juan Mata may be that player. Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s arrival has also put doubt on the Spaniard’s future as Mata currently holds the number 8 shirt, the one Ibrahimovic had under Mourinho at Inter. Keeping the Sweden international happy will be vital to his form and the shirt may not seem like a big deal but there’s certainly a reason player’s want certain numbers. What Zlatan wants, he usually gets.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s arrival has also put doubt in the Spaniard’s future as Mata currently holds the number 8 shirt, the one Ibrahimovic had under Mourinho at Inter. Keeping the Sweden international happy will be vital to his form and the shirt may not seem like a big deal but there’s certainly a reason player’s want certain numbers. What Zlatan wants, he usually gets.
Another multi-functional player that may be surplus to requirements is Dutch international Daley Blind. The stalwart under former manager Louis van Gaal, Blind performed well at centre-back yet questions persisted as to whether he was commanding enough to make central
Blind can also play left-back, as he did in the World Cup in 2014, yet upon Luke Shaw’s return this slot could be taken by the Englishman providing he’s fully fit.
The Dutch international has been linked to a number of clubs recently with a surprise transfer to Arsenal being tipped. Barcelona are also rumoured to have an interest however Blind is apparently determined to prove himself to Mourinho and remain at Old Trafford.
Like Blind, Marcus Rojo is another international defender that can operate as both a centre-back and on the left side. After a solid 2014 World Cup, Rojo, with slight complication, sealed a transfer to United. Over his duration at
The Argentinian has had a turbulent time under former manager Van Gaal as the two got off to the wrong start with Rojo’s passport problems ahead of pre-season while he often played too casually at centre-back, the questions around his commitment soon came with Rojo generating a #Rojoisred hashtag to reinstate his love for United.
With Mourinho, the former Sporting man seems to have his work cut out in terms of impressing his new manager. Mourinho likes an assured centre-half, as shown by his faith in John Terry and Gary Cahill, and Rojo doesn’t fit the bill. His duration at left-back may be cut short as well with his defensive capabilities in question, although the Argentinian impresses going forward.
A favourite under Van Gaal, an annoyance for fans, Marouane Fellaini is a player that splits the fan base. The Belgian seemed to provoke an unattractive style of play whenever in the team as balls would often be launched forward in the hope Fellaini would head them onto a teammate.
The Belgian seemed a strange transfer from the offset, yet United fans hoped Fellaini would show the form he portrayed under the manager who signed him, David Moyes.
However, that wasn’t the case. Fellaini struggled to make an impression under Moyes who was eventually replaced and Van Gaal struggled to improve the Belgian. Neither were certain as to whether he was best as a holding midfielder or further up the field and with the repetition of dirty tricks and flying elbows, fans lost patience.
Reports of a move to Roma, of which his agent was keen to talk about, may see Fellaini head out the exit door yet the Belgian is known as a likeable character which may see him remain at Old Trafford and play a smaller squad role under Mourinho.
There’s no speculation surrounding his name, yet Young’s future looks bleak as he seems to have fallen behind Memphis, Herrera, Ibrahimovic, Rashford, Martial and Rooney in terms of starting in one of the attacking options for the upcoming season.
The England international is 31 on July 9th and would pose no great game-changing effect from the bench while being on £120,000-a-week. Mourinho may see Young as the perfect candidate to sell to reduce the wage budget ahead of Mhkitaryan’s, and possibly Paul Pogba’s, arrival.
Ashley Young would have suitors from across the Premier League while may generate interest from the high-paying countries like China and India. The Englishman may head abroad to gather a large salary but appeared as a player last season to still be striving to impress at the top of his trade. A possible move to the MLS to join Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole may also be on the cards.