Which players are leaving Manchester United as a free agent?


Without a doubt, Manchester United will be one of the main clubs that will be going all out within the summer transfer window, when compared to the other sides in the Premier League and in the whole of Europe. Following the embarrassing season they have experienced through both Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, they will now look to make a huge statement off the pitch.

However, the full attention happens to be just on the hopeful incomings, rather than the players that may leave on a free transfer and those individuals whose services are no longer needed. With a lot of deadwood still remaining at the club along with the team’s squad depth being really thin, a lot of planning and top recruitment is badly required in order to have a successful summer window.

Here are the three United players that will potentially be leaving on a free transfer…

Antonio Valencia

After spending ten long years at Old Trafford, Antonio Valencia will be leaving the club at the end of June with the full appreciation of the Manchester United supporters. From playing consistently as a winger to being utilised as a makeshift right-back over the last couple of years, the Ecuadorian never failed to wear his heart and passion on his sleeves despite being regarded as a very limited player.

Majority of people will be content with the displays he has produced but some will be unsatisfied with how he failed to reach his true potential as a dominant and effective winger. The 33-year-old went on to make just fewer than 350 appearances in all competition, whilst winning the league on two occasions, the EFL Cup on two occasions, the FA Cup as well as the Europa League in 2017.

Juan Mata

Whether he stays or leaves, Juan Mata’s time at both Manchester United and Chelsea will be seen as quite underrated as a whole, purely because of how he played out of his natural position and how it prevented him from being at the heart of each attack. Even during his time out wide on the flanks, he was still able to create chances for the team whilst also getting the best out of his team-mates.

On the other hand, the attacking midfielder could make a return to Spain and do quite the job for the likes of Sevilla, Valencia or even Atletico Madrid, who are always looking to improve in the league and in Europe. At the end of the day, many will be unsatisfied with how Juan Mata went through four United managers, who failed to play him in his best role, which is behind the forward.

Ander Herrera

The one player that will be leaving on a free transfer that has shocked the Premier League experts and most importantly the United fanbase is no one other than Ander Herrera. A complete midfielder who has always been effective and consistent on the pitch, and is also seen as quite the type of vocal leader when necessary, which is something that the current squad is lacking from top to bottom.

Overall, some of the folks will not be too angry with his departure as he apparently wanted £200,000 a week, which does seem extortionate for someone who does not play regular football. However, when the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Luke Shaw and Paul Pogba are on a lot of money whilst not proving to be consistent or reliable enough, you could see why Herrera cheekily demanded a massive pay rise.

Which Manchester United players should be offloaded once the season is over

<> on February 24, 2016 in Manchester, United Kingdom.

By now, the board and Ed Woodward will have analysed which players will be part of the club’s long-term plans, and which individuals they feel that don’t have a future at all at Manchester United. And although Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is only the interim coach at this moment of time, the hierarchy will surely be asking for his comments and vital opinions on who should be kept at the club at all costs.

On the other hand, some of the players who are used as a squad rotation will be given a few more chances to prove themselves before the current season is over. The Red Devils don’t have too much deadweight to carry like they used to a couple of years ago, however, there are some players that have been at the club for far too long or are simply not good enough for Premier League football.

Looking at the first team line-up as well as the squad depth as a whole, it can be easily stated that the club are in need of four to five new additions before they can mount a serious challenge in all competitions. And in order to achieve this, they will have intelligently sell a number of players during the summer transfer window, before they can go on to bringing anyone over to Old Trafford.

It’s time to look at the players that should be offloaded in the summer…

Antonio Valencia

Although a lot of the focus is on either Chris Smalling or Phil Jones as the main weakness within the backline, not much has been mentioned or stated about the right-back Antonio Valencia. Despite being a natural winger in his peak years in the Premier League, he has shown to be a player that can just about defend his area whilst his attacking and crossing ability has become non-existent over the last number of seasons.

With his contract coming to an end in the summer, it would be ideal for the club to let him go on a free transfer or give him a contract and then sell him off for a small amount of money. In the end, as long as he is far and far away from the club before the next footballing season, then shall Manchester United’s defence be able to move forward as a whole on both sides of the pitch. Without a doubt.

Juan Mata

Juan Mata has been in the Premier League for a really long time, and the only shame is that he spent most of his time in England as a right-winger rather than in his favourite position in the number ten role. The former Chelsea and Valencia player has never failed to come up with the assists and goals when it was much needed, though, he has been unable to produce the numbers on a regular basis.

As a whole, he simply does not have the pace or the physical ability to start as a winger, which dents United’s chances of producing successful counter-attacks. If the board and Ed Woodward are clever, they aggressively sell the attacking midfielder as he still has value and can become a superstar at a lower club, and it allows them to recover a fair amount they once spent on Juan Mata in 2014.

Marcos Rojo

It’s actually incredible to see that Marcos Rojo is still a Manchester United player, someone who is constantly on the sidelines with injury problems here and there whilst receiving a contract extension that he simply did not deserve. Believe it or not, the centre-back has made the same amount of appearances for Argentina at the 2018 World Cup and for Manchester United so far this season.

Unfortunately for the 28-year-old, he has failed to achieve the potential he once had when he joined the club and has time and time again, proved to be an ongoing liability in the back line whenever he starts. Given that he is out of his depth and is a player that would not be sorely missed once he leaves the club, United will then be able to bring in someone from the youth academy to develop.

Marouane Fellaini

Following the departure of Jose Mourinho and the short-term arrival of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Marouane Fellaini has become one of the few players that does not fit the current coach’s style of play and has also been hit with a few unfortunate injury issues. Not only that, he has hardly been regarded as a player that represents Manchester United as a whole and what they proudly stand for.

For sure, he is not athletic, intelligent or proactive enough to be seen as a regular starter or even as an option from the bench, but he did come up with the vital goals for when the side needed him the most during the Louis Van Gaal and Jose Mourinho era. Now, that the club are returning onto the right path, the attributes and services that Marouane Fellaini provides is no longer required at Old Trafford.

Matteo Darmian

Since completing his monumental move from Serie A to the Premier League in the summer of 2015, Matteo Darmian has shown his impressive versatility to play as a left-back, right-back and centre-back when required. On the other hand, he has failed to adapt to the physicality of the Premier League as well as the wingers that are filled with pace and trickery, which has led to him falling behind the likes of Antonio Valencia, Ashley Young and now Diogo Dalot for the right-back position.

The Italian international has only completed five league appearances so far this season, seriously implying that he wasn’t in Jose Mourinho’s plans and he isn’t seen as a player to be utilised by Solskjaer himself. With Serie A clubs in Inter Milan, Juventus and Napoli reportedly being interested in the full-back, it would only make sense for the club and the player to part ways in the summer.

Jose Mourinho needs to choose his best attackers and stick with them

Jose Mourinho Romelu Lukaku

Anthony Martial said this week that his recent run of form is down to Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho giving him a prolonged run of games in the starting XI.

The Frenchman has scored six goals in seven league games since establishing himself as a regular starter at the end of September, having previously started just one match out of a possible seven.

“The key to it is playing games,” Martial explained. “For me, when you play in a game, that’s when you get back your enjoyment and you start to pick up your form once again.

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Juan Mata would be a shrewd signing for Arsenal

The last time Arsenal lured a player away from Old Trafford, it resulted in a player of their own heading in the opposite direction. The signing of Henrikh Mkhitaryan in January was widely viewed to be a shrewd one for the Gunners, making the most of a bad situation. They were always going to lose Alexis Sanchez, with the Chilean’s contract up at the end of the season, and so this saw them at least get something for the want-away forward.

This time, Arsenal are looking to lure Juan Mata away from Manchester United, according to reports, and they won’t even have to send a player of their own in the opposite direction as part of a trade. Mata, just like Sanchez was at Arsenal last season, is out of contract at the end of the campaign, meaning he could soon be a free agent. The Spaniard will be able to talk to other clubs from January.


Counter reports claim that United will offer Mata a contract extension to ward off any interested parties like Arsenal, but a move back to London could appeal to the former Chelsea playmaker. There are reasons to believe that the 30-year-old would wish to leave Man Utd for the Gunners.

Unai Emery is building something at the Emirates Stadium, with Arsenal rediscovering their identity over the early part of the season. Meanwhile, Jose Mourinho’s Man Utd reign appears to be crumbling around him. Mata hasn’t always found his best form under the conservative Mourinho and so Emery could get the best out of him as he enters the twilight of his career.

Arsenal are once again a team that places emphasis on technical ability and use of space, and that is something that would suit Mata. He would also find a place in Emery’s team on the right side of the attacking line, where the Gunners are currently lacking. Or he could be used in a more central role, where there could be a position to fill if Aaron Ramsey indeed leaves the club at the end of the season.

Mkhitaryan has struggled to rediscover his best form since making the move to Arsenal from Man Utd in January, with some fans even calling for the Armenian to be dropped from the team in recent weeks. There have been glimpses of his relationship with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, his former Borussia Dortmund teammate, but nothing sustained.

Some may argue that Arsenal should be looking to sign up and coming talent rather than ageing stars like Mata. The point could also be made that Emery needs speed on the right wing, not the tactile vision and passing of Mata. But it’s rare that such an accomplished player becomes available for free. Arsenal should take that opportunity if they are presented with it.

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Is Manchester United’s victory over Juventus the best since Sir Alex Ferguson retired?

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By all accounts Manchester United were going to leave Italy with a loss which would have put their Champions League qualification hopes on ice. There was just two minutes left in Turin against the mighty Juventus, unbeaten this season and 1-0 up through a Cristiano Ronaldo goal. And then it happened, shades of that infamous 1999 Champions League final.

First it was Juan Mata’s superb freekick that levelled the match up. That was enough on the 88th minute to say let’s go back with a point and no defeat. But United were not done yet and in injury time got the winner through a Leonardo Bonucci own goal. The Juventus fans went silent and at the final whistle Jose Mourinho could not help but to cup his ears and try to silence the fans after the boos he had endured during the match.

But what a turnaround for United and for Mourinho who has been under tremendous pressure since the beginning of the season. Surely that will be eased with victory in the own back yard of one of the tournament favourites. It was a massive win.

One must question if it was United’s best win since Sir Alex Ferguson retired from the club in 2013? Yes we can look at the Europa League final win against Ajax in 2017, but this match felt different. United were playing a superb team away from home they were not expected to win here given that they had just lost at home to Juventus in the reverse match a couple of weeks ago. This was supposed to be a formality, and let’s not forget Juventus hit the woodwork two times, so it really could have been.

But United hung in there and created chances of their own, this seemed like watching a team that had turned a corner, that had learned how to fight and Mourinho may well privately be thinking that this was his greatest win as a United manager, he should be.

United look certain to qualify from their group now and a win over Young Boys would confirm that if Juventus who now have to beat Valencia. Just how far have Mourinho’s team come? Well we won’t have to wait long as this weekend they will take on Manchester City in what should be another classic game of cat and mouse. The last time the teams played United came back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 in a stunning comeback. One has already been achieved this week, could another?

Should Juan Mata be played as Manchester United’s number 10?

José Mourinho bought himself some time as manager of Manchester United after his team staged an impressive second half comeback to win 3-2 against Newcastle United at Old Trafford. It might not have been pretty, and the first 60 minutes were totally uninspiring, but United, somehow, bucked up their ideas in order to finish the match with the three points.

If the Red Devils were to lose that match, which would have been Newcastle’s first win of the season, it’s fair to say that Mourinho would have been relieved of his duties. Such were the stakes of this game, United could not have gone five games without a win in all competitions. At that point, his position would become untenable.

However, one win doesn’t change the current perception of Mourinho. Majority of fans still believe he must be let go of and the club must tack in a different direction. Old Trafford expects attacking football and they have every right to be entertained.

While Sir Alex Ferguson, at times, when he needed to, played tentatively, more often than not, against lesser opposition, his teams would usually go for the jugular and score a handful of goals. Mourinho isn’t that type of manager – which is what Ed Woodward, the executive vice-chairman, knew – but fans want to see some sort of compromise, especially if his methods aren’t working.

In the final 20 minutes of Manchester United’s most recent match, when they found themselves 2-0 down, the shackles were finally lifted and the players started to express themselves. Anthony Martial flourishes in a free-flowing attack, and once again looked bright and busy in the opposition’s final third when given the opportunity to showcase his talents.

The interchanging play between Paul Pogba and Martial, the French axis, was swift and effective, breaking Newcastle’s midfield up and creating space in behind their defence. After Juan Mata’s first goal – which was a breathtaking free-kick goal on the edge of the area – Martial scored the equaliser after classy combination play with his compatriot Pogba. The former Monaco starlet received the ball on the edge of the box from a Pogba back heel, dribbled closer to goal and stuck the ball sweetly past Martin Dúbravka into the bottom corner. The noise erupted from all areas of Old Trafford as the fans were given a glimpse of what these players can genuinely do with the ball when allowed to.

Part of United’s resurgence in the second half was down to Mata’s influence in possession. Although David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and now Mourinho play the Spaniard down the right wing, the former Spain international’s best position is as a number 10. Playing just off the centre forward, Mata can dictate matches and use his precision passing in tight spaces. He is not blessed for pace and constantly cuts inside when deployed on the right, so it seems reductive to continue to play him there when United’s right wing is therefore being negated from their own personnel choices.

Mata wasn’t initially picked by Mourinho at the beginning of this game, but came on after 19 minutes for central defender Eric Bailly. The Portuguese boss evidently saw patterns of play forming against his team and thought Mata was the solution for the comeback his team needed to complete. With 60 touches of the ball in 70 minutes, Mata played one key pass and had a passing percentage of 91% – one of the highest on the pitch. The Spaniard’s ability to score free-kicks, just as he did in this match, is a fantastic string to United’s bow, and should be used more.

There is no denying that Mata can drift in and out of matches, but so can anyone. He is not a world-class number 10, but he’s United’s only true attacking midfielder that can genuinely dictate and influence matches. Jesse Lingard is usually deployed as the third midfielder, playing just behind the front three, but the Englishman is now injured, as well as having not scored since January. The goal drought is haunting him somewhat, so some time out of the team might well just reinvigorate his performances.

United are always going to struggle if Mourinho keeps on with this negative and pragmatic approach that he loves. It has won him unprecedented success so far in his career, but the former Chelsea boss needs to reduce the strict instructions he gives his teams, especially against lesser opposition home and away. The Red Devils showed what they can do when playing with freedom, something the fans truly appreciated and enjoyed.

Mata can help United play on the front foot, if he is to be trusted by his manager. The Spaniard has the quality at his disposal and the ability to drive his team forward, but he simply must be allowed to play in a fluid system where the forwards are constantly interchanging with one another. At that point, just like in the last 20 minutes against the Magpies, will you see the best of this Manchester United side.

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Should Manchester United swoop in for Ronaldo?

Cristiano RonaldoThere have been many, many rumors over the past couple of weeks. Cristiano Ronaldo seems headed for Juventus. Ronaldo leaving Real Madrid seems to be a saga we’ve been following every summer for the past few seasons, so we should take these rumors with a grain of salt.

Yet, this time it seems sort of real. In the past, rumors would surface that Ronaldo was upset with Real and had decided to leave,but would always stay. So what’s the difference this time? Well, for starters, in the past there weren’t actual negotiations or numbers being discussed.

Manchester United had always been the rumored favorite to land him because of their history, but there was never any concrete talk of negotiations or a price tag.  Continue reading

Juan Mata is the key to Manchester United’s Champions League chances

At the time, it was something of a nadir in Manchester United’s season. Two goals down away to Crystal Palace, their challenge for a second place finish in the Premier League looked to be fading along with their season. But at half time Jose Mourinho decided to throw on Juan Mata. It’s a move that could prove to be a watershed in United’s campaign.

Of course, with Mata on the pitch Man Utd went on to stage a second half comeback at Selhurst Park, scoring three times, including once in stoppage time, to claim a 3-2 win which, with 45 minutes played, looked highly unlikely. There were goals for Chris Smalling, Romelu Lukaku and Nemanja Matic, but the contribution of Mata was most significant. Continue reading