Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Man United’s struggles

Ever since Sir Alex Ferguson left Manchester United in 2013 they have never really been able to replicate the form they became so accustomed to under the Scotsman.

Instead, the past six or so years have been spent with Man United splashing big money on players and managers and getting fairly average results.

Whether it be to do with the board or the managers themselves, United are now in a position where they are seriously struggling to even crack the top six in the Premier League.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer did look as though he could have been Man United’s savior.

When the Norwegian first took the reins at Old Trafford, United went 12 Premier League games unbeaten.

CARDIFF, WALES – DECEMBER 22: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Interim Manager of Manchester United celebrates with the fans after the Premier League match between Cardiff City and Manchester United at Cardiff City Stadium on December 22, 2018 in Cardiff, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

The stats behind Man United’s dismal form

However, reality soon set in and now, since OGS was permanently appointed Man United gaffer, the Red Devils have amassed just 17 points from 16 PL outings.

Manchester United have also picked up just nine points from their opening eight Premier League ties this campaign, which is their worst start to a league season since 1989-90.

Man United are also winless in their last 11 away games across all competitions.
This stat was posted by Opta prior to Man United’s 1-0 loss to Newcastle at St James’ Park last weekend.

Man United need a clear-out

So, given United have tried in the past to just paper over the cracks by signing big-name stars and hoping everything falls into place, what they probably need to do now is have a mass clear-out of their squad in order to start fresh and rebuild from the ground up.

Yes it will likely take a few windows to do this properly and United shouldn’t be expecting to challenge for the PL title anytime soon. But they have backed themselves into a corner with their poor decision making since SAF departed and now it needs to be cleaned up.

This piece will go through all of Man United’s first-team players, listed on their official website and decide if United should keep or sell them.

It will not include players currently out on loan such as Alexis Sanchez, Chris Smalling, etc.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

HUDDERSFIELD, ENGLAND – MAY 05: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer the head coach / manager of Manchester United during the Premier League match between Huddersfield Town and Manchester United at John Smith’s Stadium on May 5, 2019 in Huddersfield, United Kingdom. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)

The keepers

Starting at the back, Davide de Gea is currently Manchester United’s number one shot-stopper.

Granted the Spaniard has not been at his best recently, particularly last campaign. But the fact remains he has showcased in the past what a top keeper he is.

And given the state United are currently in, they should do everything they can to retain de Gea’s services as they probably won’t find anyone better at this time.

As for the subs, Sergio Romero is a solid backup choice while 36-year-old Lee Grant does the job as third choice.

David de Gea

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – APRIL 21: David De Gea of Manchester United reacts during the Premier League match between Everton FC and Manchester United at Goodison Park on April 21, 2019 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Man United’s backline

While Man United’s goalkeepers are pretty solid for now, their defence needs some serious work.

Man United do seem to be aware of this as they splashed the cash on Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka over the summer, both of whom United should look to keep hold of.

But there are a copious amount of defenders currently on the books for Man United that just aren’t good enough.

An ageing Ashley Young should probably be moved on in the coming months.

Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo just aren’t good enough to be regular features for Man United if they wish to return to their past glories.

And while Eric Bailly is a solid defender, the Ivorian is just too injury prone.

As for the rest of Man United’s current crop of defenders, Luke Shaw isn’t the greatest but he will probably have to do Man United for the time being.

The likes of Diogo Dalot, Axel Tuanzebe and Timothy Fosu-Mensah are all still fairly young and should be retained by United until their true potential can be fully assessed.

Finally, Victor Lindelof is a decent defender and could prove a useful asset for United. However, he shouldn’t be one of their first-choice central defenders, like he currently is.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – AUGUST 11: Harry Maguire of Manchester United during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Chelsea FC at Old Trafford on August 11, 2019 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images)

Deadwood in midfield

Moving into the midfield department, Man United have a lot of potential in this area.

But there is also a fair bit of deadwood that needs to be removed before United can reinvent their side.

For example, 31-year-old Nemanja Matic is now well past his best and needs to be sold.

As well as Matic, the Red Devils should look to move on Fred, Jesse Lingard and Paul Pogba.

Since Fred made the switch to Manchester he just hasn’t been good enough. And United are at a stage in their cycle where they can’t afford to sit around and hope a player finds his feet in the PL.

Jesse Lingard, despite people still thinking he is this young promising English midfielder that will come good soon, is now 26, 27 in December and he has yet to prove he is a ‘top six’ caliber player.

As for Paul Pogba, while the Frenchman has proven on occasions what an outstanding player he can be, his good displays are few and far between with United better served cashing in on him and investing his likely lucrative transfer fee elsewhere.

Bright prospects

In terms of people Manchester United should retain, Angel Gomes, James Garner Daniel James and Scott McTominay are all young prospects who can prove real assets in United’s rebuilding process with McTominay and James already becoming regular features in the first-team.

That leaves Juan Mata, who Man United should look to keep for his experience and unlike Matic, the little Spaniard still puts in some solid displays from time to time.

And finally, Andrea Pereira hasn’t been overly impressive so far this campaign. But he too could be a decent squad player.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – AUGUST 24: Daniel James of Manchester United in action during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Crystal Palace at Old Trafford on August 24, 2019 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Man United’s forwards

Given Manchester United sold Romelu Lukaku over the summer and Alexis Sanchez is out on loan, Solskjaer’s side are fairly short-staffed up top.

Currently, on United’s official website listed as their forwards, ignoring Sanchez, they have Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Mason Greenwood and Tahith Chong.

As a result, until United bring in some serious reinforcements for their frontline, they could do with keeping hold of the four aforementioned forwards.

However, while this may be an unpopular opinion, if Man United do bring in a couple of quality attackers in the future, they should look to move on Rashford.

People may argue Rashford is still young and learning. But he has already racked up 180 appearances for Man United and that is more than enough time to asses his ability. And at the moment, he just doesn’t look good enough.

See also: Paul Pogba ‘looks certain’ to miss Man United vs Liverpool – Mail

Man United & Real Madrid target Erling Braut Haaland – AS

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Josh Barker