Home Sports Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has five undroppables but must sell...

Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has five undroppables but must sell seven stars

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Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has five undroppables but must sell seven stars

Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has five undroppables but must sell seven stars (Image: GETTY)

Manchester United’s summer transfer window plans are clear – a new centre-back and a new centre-forward. Ideally, most United fans would bring Jules Kounde or Raphael Varane and Erling Braut Haaland to Old Trafford to significantly improve Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side in both boxes and make them bonafide Premier League title and Champions League contenders.

That, though, would cost almost £200million to pull off and United boss Solskjaer warned this week that they cannot spend freely.

“Of course the lack of income, the finances has affected everyone,” he said. “It might affect us all well. We have to be realistic and responsible in the way we do our business both on and off the pitch.

“I think there’s just going to be less and less transfers happening in the world of football with all these changes.”

Recruiting elite-level talent may require a few sales then – but United do not need to make many tweaks to their squad given the improvements they are continuing to make under Solskjaer.

Express Sport looks at the state of the Red Devils’ squad for the 2021-22 season as thoughts start to turn to the summer, and considers the players who boast undroppable status at the club and those who could be loaned out and sold.

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Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has five undroppables but must sell seven stars

Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has five undroppables but must sell seven stars (Image: GETTY)

The undroppables

Starting with the obvious, Bruno Fernandes is the team’s attacking talisman and should be the beating heart of the side for years to come, while Manchester-born forward Marcus Rashford only gets better and has a long career to come at Old Trafford.

Harry Maguire has had questionable moments but is the captain and will remain a mainstay of the defence even if United spend big on a new central defender this summer.

At full-back, Aaron Wan-Bissaka could possibly benefit from more competition for his spot but is dependable defensively and is improving offensively while Luke Shaw has been as impressive as any left-back in the league this year.

The regular starters

The David de Gea and Dean Henderson battle continues and the pair can both expect pretty regular game-time next season, with the latter perhaps becoming the new No 1 – it’s thought he wants to leave if he isn’t installed as the favoured shot-stopper.

In defence, presuming United recruit a fresh face at the back, Eric Bailly is the best third-choice option over Victor Lindelof and Axel Tuanzebe – provided he’s fit.

Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has five undroppables but must sell seven stars

Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has five undroppables but must sell seven stars (Image: GETTY)

In midfield, neither Fred or Scott McTominay are quite of undroppable status but they are players of great value to Solskjaer and have rightly been used regularly this season.

United have to sign Paul Pogba to a new contract given his form for them this season while Donny van de Beek will hopefully improve with more regular minutes next year.

In attack, none of Mason Greenwood, Anthony Martial or Edinson Cavani are absolute guaranteed starters – especially with Erling Braut Haaland on the United summer Wishlist.

But much like Fred and McTominay, they should all start a healthy amount of matches and are excellent options to have off the bench for the games in which they do not start.

Cavani has enjoyed an excellent season at United and despite turning 34 recently, should have his contract extended for another 12 months to serve as a back-up to whoever the new starting No 9 is.

Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has five undroppables but must sell seven stars

Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has five undroppables but must sell seven stars (Image: TIERMAKER)

The rotational players

Lee Grant is out of contract in the summer and has never played a game for United but the veteran goalkeeper is a fine emergency third-choice.

United will hope they never have to rely on him for a run of matches and with De Gea and Henderson competing for minutes, Grant may not even get a minute in 2021-22.

Tuanzebe and Lindelof are good options to offer rest for Maguire, a new centre-back and Bailly while Alex Telles has fared well in England but falls victim to the fact Shaw has been so impressive.

Brandon Williams can play at either left-back or right-back and because of such versatility should stay in case of injuries, while Nemanja Matic remains tied down until 2023 and is an experienced member of the squad whose role can be decreased as McTominay continues to thrive.

James Garner has impressed out on loan at Nottingham Forest and the teenager deserves a chance to shine as the long-term replacement for Matic.

While new boy Amad and winger Daniel James are more than handy back-ups to have in attack. Even if a new striker comes in and pushes Martial down the pecking order, the two will still hope for a good amount of action.

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The loanees

Teden Mengi is on loan at Wayne Rooney’s Derby at the moment and should be loaned out again given he is only 19 and central defenders generally need more time to develop than forwards.

Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has five undroppables but must sell seven stars

Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has five undroppables but must sell seven stars (Image: GETTY)

Further forward, while James and Amad will hope for regular minutes, Facundo Pellistri is a little further down the pecking order and United will hope to loan him out to a team in England for the season.

Tahith Chong is beginning to impress in Belgium on loan at Club Brugge but doesn’t appear likely to be above Amad or James and would therefore benefit from another year out elsewhere.

Shola Shoretire only just turned 17 years old and while he has made first-team match-day squads recently, making Premier League and European debuts, he could perhaps do with a season of football in the Championship – a few levels up on playing for the under-23s.

The axed players

Solskjaer has confirmed that goalkeepers Sergio Romero and Joel Pereira will both be released in the summer with De Gea, Henderson, Grant and Nathan Bishop United’s main four options between the sticks.

Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has five undroppables but must sell seven stars

Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has five undroppables but must sell seven stars (Image: GETTY)

In defence, competition is too great for Phil Jones and the 29-year-old should be moved on now given he is under contract until 2023, so United can still hope to attract a decent enough fee for him.

Diogo Dalot might perhaps be an interesting option to rival Wan-Bissaka having played regularly for AC Milan and he can also play at left-back.

But with United needing to raise cash to strengthen in central defence and at centre-forward, perhaps the 21-year-old should be sold while he still has two years left on his contract.

Like Romero and Pereira, Juan Mata is out of contract and has barely played this season so should be allowed to depart on a free.

Jesse Lingard has been mooted as an option to take up Mata’s minutes and the homegrown attacker has done very well on loan at West Ham.

But like Dalot, there is an opportunity with Lingard to make some good money that could be reinvested elsewhere, even though the 28-year-old could definitely be of use to Solskjaer.

Andreas Pereira is now 25 and has struggled to establish himself on loan at Lazio but could be sold for £10m to £15m to further boost the transfer kitty.



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