Manchester United showed their former manager Louis van Gaal the exit door just days after the Dutchman guided the Red Devils to the FA Cup triumph. They replaced him with Jose Mourinho as he returned to management for the first time, following his departure from Chelsea last December.
Since the Portuguese tactician took charge at Old Trafford, United have completed deals in signing Eric Bailly and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. In addition to this, Borussia Dortmund midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan will follow the duo to England in the summer transfer window.
With Mourinho set to shape up his squad for the 2016-17 season, he needs to offload a few of his first team players. Soccerlens takes a look at five players who could be sold by the former Inter Milan and Real Madrid manager this summer.
- Juan Mata
The Spaniard was signed by David Moyes in January 2014 after Mourinho, the then Chelsea manager sanctioned his sale to their direct rivals. He admitted that the attacker was not a part of his plan at Stamford Bridge and that convinced him to allow Mata leave the west London club.
“With these assets or players who are not fundamental for me, it’s where you – meaning, my club – have to do the best possible job for me,” Mourinho told in October 2014 as to why he sold Mata.
The former Chelsea star prefers to play behind the striker, but Louis van Gaal deployed him on the right side of the wings. He lacks pace going forward and could struggle while defending, especially against the sides that are good at playing counter attacking football.
In the No 10 role, Mourinho has Wayne Rooney and also Mkhitaryan for the next season. In addition to this, the Armenian international can also play on the right wing, which is where Mata was fielded for the majority of the last season.
Everton are interested in signing him for a reported fee of £20m and Mourinho could sanction his sale this summer.
- Adnan Januzaj
The Belgium international is likely to be one of the players that could be offloaded by Mourinho. He spent the first half of the last season on-loan at Borussia Dortmund and after a disappointing spell in Germany, his loan deal was terminated. Since returning to Old Trafford, the 21-year-old has struggled to find a place in the starting lineup.
Januzaj’s discipline has been a matter of worry for his coaches, which has been one of the main reasons that has hindered his progress. He is not the strongest when it comes to aerial duels and also very poor when it is needed for him to hold the ball.
One of the major factors for Mourinho to allow Januzaj leave would be his defensive abilities. He has been deployed on the wings and also in the No 10 role and the player is yet to find his best position.
He will be best suited in a team which has a very good defensive unit so that Januzaj is asked to do a job where his sole focus is only on his side’s attack. Mourinho, however, prefers to have such a unit, but he prefers all his players to contribute while defending.
- Bastian Schweinsteiger
The World Cup winner with Germany has failed to feature regularly in his debut season in the Premier League. He was one of the blockbuster signings done by United last summer, but has failed to impress when he was on the pitch. He managed to score one goal and without any assist, he will not be impressed with his displays.
One of the major concerns with Schweinsteiger is his fitness. In the 2015-16 campaign, he started in only 13 Premier League matches and that clearly shows the former Bayern Munich star is one that cannot be relied upon, if Mourinho is aiming for the title. With two years left on the midfielder’s contract, it will be best to cash in from his sale this summer.
- Phil Jones
When he was signed from Blackburn Rovers by Sir Alex Ferguson in 2011, he was piped to be one of England’s brightest prospects. However, over the seasons his negligence has seen him pick injuries, which has kept him out on the sidelines on several occasions.
He has featured only twice and was included in the squad on four occasions in this calendar year. Timothy Fosu-Mensah was preferred ahead of him in the centre-back position and with the arrival of Bailly, Jones is clearly going to struggle to break his way into the squad (Yes squad and not starting lineup). After spending five years at United, Mourinho could offload him this summer.
- Marcos Rojo
Another versatile defender, who has failed to impress and has lacked consistency when he is on the pitch. Rojo started as a centre-back in his debut season and had come good then. However, in the left-back position, his defensive inabilities might have cost United some points. Even Cameron Borthwick-Jackson has done a better job that the Argentina international in Luke Shaw’s absence.
With Borthwick-Jackson signing a new deal and Shaw’s return from injury, it is unlikely that Rojo could be included in Mourinho’s plan, especially when you have Daley Blind as a backup for left-back/centre-back and defensive midfield position.