Sevilla defeat aftermath: Major reshuffle on the cards at Old Trafford
Manchester United’s pathetic show at home in Old Trafford last week when they were booted out of the UEFA Champions League by an unfancied Sevilla has left coach Jose Mourinho utterly disgusted with his players. While the 55-year old Portuguese's tenure at the Old Trafford looks secure for the moment, there could be pressure on him from the management to effect drastic changes during the coming transfer season, something he himself would be happy to do.
Much in contrast to the beginning of the 2017-18 season, when the Red Devils begun with a bang and got one of their best starts ever in the Premier League, they are now playing second fiddle to a rampant Manchester City, trailing a distant 16 points behind on the table.
The defeat to Sevilla was the last straw for the powers-to-be and there could be little qualms shown in getting rid of players, no matter what stature they command in the footballing word.
The first to be on the block could very well be Paul Pogba for whom United had forked out £89m to Juventus a couple of seasons ago. Mourinho would not get in the way of Mino Raiola, Pogba's agent, who is reportedly looking out for buyers.
The Frenchman has hardly had any impact on the Red Devils since his advent in 2016 and has performed far below the vaunted expectations of fans and management alike.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 36, has hardly been featuring in any games of late and looks to be on his way out to the US where he may probably join Los Angeles Galaxy.
Right-back Phil Jones could be sold to Everton where manager Sam Allardyce seems to be showing interest in him.
30-year old MarouaneFellaini, considered a spent force by Mourinho, could be on his way to Turkey once his contract at Old Trafford expires. Istanbul-based Galatasaray would be happy to accommodate the Belgian mid-fielder.
Luke Shaw, the 22-year old left-back, is being reported linked to clubs like Leicester City, Tottenham and his former club, Southampton.
Other players on the chopping block could be England international Michael Carrick, Daley Blind, Ander Herrera, Anthony Martial, Matteo Darmian, Chris Smalling and surprisingly Juan Mata.
To be retained will be David de Gea, whose incredible feats between the posts have saved United from much bigger bouts of humiliation. Mourinho has resisted pressures from Real Madrid to snare the 27-year old custodian considered to be among the best in the world and Spain's number one choice goalkeeper for the Russia WC 2018.
Alexis Sanchez is another big import, who despite his mediocre recent outings, will be retained because of his inherent talent and improvisation upfront. Midfielder NemanjaMatic and striker RomeluLukaku look likely to be around at Old Trafford despite below-par performances of late. Marcus Rashfordand ScottMcTominay look to be groomed for the future.
When it comes to future spendings, Mourinho has hinted that budgets won't get in the way of top quality acquisitions.
On the top of his wish-list is Neymar, who the Portuguese coach feels has been let off by Barcelona for cheap and has made no bones that he wants to pay top-dollar for the PSG attacker. Now that the Parisienne club has been knocked out of the UEFA Champions League, the feverish euphoria of acquiring the likes of Neymar and Mbappe shown earlier in the season by the club's Qatari owners may have waned.
Gareth Bale, who Real coach Zidane intended selling for around £80m last season is also high on Mourinho's list. The accent seems very much on attack at Old Trafford with players like Willian (Chelsea) and Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona) being sought after. In the defensive space, individuals like Danny Rose, (Tottenham left-back), Hector Bellerin, (Arsenal right-back), Samuel Umtiti, (Barcelona defender) and Andre Gomes (Barcelona mid-fielder) seemed to have evoked interest at Old Trafford.
Lastly, in the event of De Gea’s departure, Mourinho would like Barcelona custodian Marc-Andre Ter Stegen as a fitting replacement.