Van Gaal geared up to axe Manchester United stars
During his short tenure at Old Trafford so far, new Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal has appeared to be a man of his word. After giving Red Devils stars a clean slate at the start of their pre-season tour, many fringe players have been allowed the opportunity to impress, and even skipper the side.
Shortly before United’s International Champions Cup victory over eternal rivals Liverpool, Van Gaal revealed: “I shall make judgments after this tour… I know now more than before…Now also it is a little bit soon to judge but in football you have to judge.
“You have to give a chance to the player to make a transfer…You have to say it in advance because it’s too late after August 31st. I will tell players after the tour but to them not to you.”
Before United’s pre-season warm-up the situation looked quite clear cut, but Van Gaal’s new system has allowed several forgotten men to shine, so Coral writers discuss who may, or may not, be given their P45.
With Anderson left out of the squad all together, and Marouane Fellaini yet to rejoin United after his post-World Cup break, there are plenty more candidates who could fall victim to Van Gaal’s axe. With United at 5/1 to win the Premier League, Coral are offering the best odds on the market.
Perhaps the biggest beneficiary of Van Gaal’s decision to employ a 3-4-1-2 formation, Young has so far sparkled in his new role as a wing back. Having only been tested in friendlies it may still be too early to judge his long term prospects, but the wideman has taken his chances against top class opposition such as Real Madrid and Liverpool.
Young’s attacking output has also been impressive, with the England international bagging two braces. He has certainly looked every inch a man fighting for his Old Trafford future, and it would now be surprising if the player once tipped as a certainty to be off-loaded this summer, did not start United’s opening Premier League fixture.
The tour has not panned out as well for Cleverley, who had hoped a fresh start under a new coach could revive his Red Devils career.
Speaking recently, Cleverley revealed he believed he was Van Gaal’s “type of player”, and the Dutchman has given the United academy product every chance to prove it. Unfortunately the Englishman still looks to be lacking in confidence and, despite being selected as skipper for the clash with Roma, has endured a difficult and disappointing pre-season.
With United short on midfield options, Van Gaal could yet decide to keep Cleverley as a squad player and project, but a transfer may be best for both parties, as the Old Trafford giants cannot afford passengers this season.
Whilst Kagawa has enjoyed a significant amount of game time so far, and shown tantalising glimpses of quality, it is has mainly been as a second-half substitute, with the Japanese playmaker clearly behind record signing Juan Mata in the pecking order.
Van Gaal does seem to rate the former Borussia Dortmund star, lauding Kagawa as one of the side’s best passers, but has complained of overcrowding in the number ten position. The midfielder is strongly linked with a summer switch to Atletico Madrid, and seems likely to be one who the Dutch coach will allow to leave in the pursuit of more first-team football.
Hernandez has taken his limited opportunities well, netting United’s final goal against Real Madrid. However, the duo of Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck, when fit, has been preferred by Van Gaal, with their partnership one of the highlights of the tour.
With Robin van Persie also training again, the writing looks to be on the wall for the ‘little pea’, who is also a rumoured target for Atletico.
Hernandez has seen his international career stall after limited playing time over the past few seasons and, despite being a fan favourite, should perhaps be allowed to move on for his own sake.
Nani’s impact on the tour has been negligible, with the Portuguese winger limited to substitutions and second half appearances. Before the tour, Young looked the most likely casualty of all underperforming widemen at United, with Nani’s technical ability expected to impress Van Gaal.
It appears the mercurial winger will now be on his way out, however, with youngster Jesse Lingard staking a strong claim for a squad place. Long-time Serie A admirers Juventus and AC Milan could both offer Nani an escape route, in what would be a disappointing end to seven years at the club.