Much of the talk surrounding Manchester United’ potential summer transfer activity naturally surrounds the ongoing management situation.
Louis van Gaal is widely tipped to leave Old Trafford as the out of work Jose Mourinho continues to loom large over his former mentor’s position.
However, there’s clearly a rebuild desperately required at the Theatre of Dreams, that stretch far beyond their Dutch coach. Despite £250m spent in two years, the squad is still largely lacklustre.
Whoever is in charge at the start of 2016/17 season is likely to continue the heavy spend in order to improve the squad at his disposal. With Pep Guardiola landing at Manchester City over the summer, Ed Woodward simply must continue the player recruitment, or risk losing even further ground on their nosy neighbours.
Still, despite the vast amounts of money available to the club, they simply must continue to shape their squad. Big names will have to leave if even bigger names are to arrive. Particularly if the self-proclaimed ‘Special One’ is handed the reigns. Not afraid to ruffle a few feathers, expect a huge overhaul in Manchester this summer.
With that in mind, here are FIVE big names that could feasibly leave Manchester United this summer.
Odd name to see here perhaps as Juan Mata remains a top class player and a big part of the first-team squad at Old Trafford.
However, should Mourinho arrive, it could spell end for the Spaniards stay at the Theatre of Dreams. It was the Portuguese who infamously sold the playmaker to United in the first place, despite his standing at Chelsea, where he was hugely popular.
His perceived lack of work rate was widely thought to have been the cause of his Stamford Bridge exit, a trait that hasn’t improved an awful lot since the £37.1m switch in 2014.
Even if van Gaal retains his job, links with a return to Spain continue to linger over the World Cup winner.
The other World Cup winner in the Manchester United squad, Bastian Schweinsteiger has barely set the world alight since his summer move from Bayern Munich.
Clearly, the 31-year old is a top class player on his day, though has struggled for form and fitness this year.
One of the major criticisms dogging van Gaal’s side this season is the methodical, and at times monotonous, passing game deployed by the former Barcelona and Bayern coach.
Well, the German midfielder appears to have lost the sort of dynamism that made him so revered across the continent. Whichever man takes charge in the summer will surely look to rectify the tedious midfield play so prevalent this term.
With the club needing to push forward, perhaps a move to the MLS would best suit the Germany captain toward the end of his career.
Many expected Phil Jones to mature into a defensive rock in the rearguard of the Manchester United defence. Surprisingly, that appears to have happened to Chris Smalling and not the former Blackburn man.
A lack of form and fitness, as well as concentration at crucial times, has stalled the 24-year old’s progress no end. With major surgery expected to be undertaken on the backline over the summer, the England international could soon become surplus to requirements.
Smalling is established as one of the club’s key players, while Daley Blind can cover at centre-half if needed. Surely the club will move for at least two defenders over the summer to strengthen their defence, meaning Jones could be cut loose.
Another defender who could soon see his stay in Manchester cut short is Marcos Rojo. The Argentine defender has never truly settled since his move last summer, at either left-back or centre-half.
Luke Shaw will be back by the time the summer rolls around, while academy graduate Cameron Borthwick-Jackson has proved to be adequate backup.
As mentioned, it will be somewhat baffling if the club do not decide to spend on a top class centre-back, meaning Rojo could feasibly soon be left out in the cold.
A move to Zenit St. Petersburg has been mooted.
Now, unlike the others mentioned, it is all but certain that nobody wants David De Gea to leave Old Trafford. Whether it be Louis van Gaal or Jose Mourinho in charge, no one would like seeing the shot-stopper depart.
Though he signed a new deal in the wake of his failed move to Real Madrid over the summer, it is not hard to imagine Los Blancos coming back in for the expert Spaniard custodian.
With the club looking increasingly likely to miss out on the Champions League, through the medium of a league position anyway, an emotional move back to Spain could prove too tempting for De Gea.