Five Manchester United stars set for Louis van Gaal axe
Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United are 5/1 to win the Premier League this season. As the Dutchman settles into life as Red Devils boss, and runs the rule over his new squad, several stars are reportedly set for Old Trafford exits.
During his first press conference as United coach, Van Gaal stated his “method is always the same”, and he will look to see how existing players take to his “philosophy” before dipping into the transfer market.
However, with a slew of players, including Anderson, Tom Cleverley, Marouane Fellaini, Javier Hernandez and Nani apparently ready for the chop, Coral writers discuss their potential destinations.
The popular Brazilian, once a cult figure at Old Trafford for his dressing room antics and happy-go-lucky persona, has been a tremendous disappointment. After investing a significant sum in the former Porto midfielder, rumoured to be around the £18m mark, United will make a substantial loss if he is sold.
It is unlikely Anderson will return to previous loan club Fiorentina, after the Serie A outfit decided against activating an option to sign him permanently, however, a move to a smaller Premier League side could be on the cards.
QPR boss Harry Redknapp is keen to bolster his squad ahead of the new season, and with Rio Ferdinand reportedly on the verge of signing for the Hoops, Anderson could link up with his former Red Devils teammate.
Alternatively, a transfer back to Portugal, and even Porto, who have splashed the cash on several new additions already this summer, could help Anderson recapture some of the magic that convinced United to fork out a large fee for him.
After enduring a tough campaign under David Moyes last term, with a petition undertaken by supposed England fans to encourage Roy Hodgson not to take the midfielder to the World Cup, Cleverley looked sapped of confidence.
A product of the United youth academy, the 24-year-old could reunite with former boss Roberto Martinez at Everton. After enjoying a successful loan spell at Wigan under the Spaniard, the Toffees have been mooted as a likely destination.
Cleverley, who specialises in short, simple passes, however, would prove a good fit for Southampton. The much-maligned midfield man could rejuvenate his career under Ronald Koeman, and thrive on the depleted South coast club’s possession-based football.
Like a wedding cake for a groom who has been stood up at the alter, Fellaini finds himself in the unfortunate position of being an enduring reminder of Moyes’ ill-fated tenure at Old Trafford.
It is doubtful that the Belgian will fit into a Van Gaal’s technique orientated philosophy, and he may need to move on to pastures new to receive adequate playing time.
Having cost the Red Devils in the region of £27m on deadline day last summer, finding permanent suitors may be a problem. If no one is willing to stump up a fee for the former Everton star, a loan deal may be the only solution for both parties.
Fellaini’s best bet could be to look to West Ham boss Sam Allardyce, who often favours strength and steel over guile in midfield. A combination of Fellaini and man-mountain Andy Caroll causing havoc at set pieces would be a daunting prospect for many teams.
A prolific poacher; Hernandez would undoubtedly find himself at the top of transfer lists around Europe. After finding himself relegated to the role of impact-sub for Mexico, despite an impressive record of 36 goals in 66 caps, it would be understandable if the Central American star wished to find a new home.
Restricted to 24 league appearances last season, with teenage whiz James Wilson breathing down his neck for a squad place, Hernandez could become another casualty of Van Gaal’s potential cull.
Whilst his link-up play often leaves much to be desired, he could excel in a side with a strong and creative midfield that simply needs a sniper to gobble up chances.
Miroslav Klose has shown there is still a role for a crafty hitman at the top level, and Everton, Spurs, AC Milan and Inter Milan could be exciting options for the striker.
Mercurial winger Nani has long been linked to Juventus as a makeweight in a potential deal for Arturo Vidal, however, interest from Turin appears to have cooled.
Reports are now suggesting the Portuguese wideman, who only made 13 appearances for the Red Devils last term, is close to joining Juventus’ Serie A rivals AC Milan.
A switch to Italy would be ideal for the tricky 27-year-old, who needs to re-start a career that seems to have stagnated with United, who are odds-on 4/7 to secure a top four finish in the Premier League next term.