August 11, 2014 Tags: Reads 10 comments
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Movement of the people. Or, in this case, Manchester United players. By the end of the summer up to 14 first team or fringe players could have left the club as Louis van Gaal and Ed Woodward embark on a major programme of squad restructuring. Whether the flip side of that coin, new signings, arrive before the summer transfer window shuts on 1 September is another question again.

Six United players have already left this summer: Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidić, Patrice Evra, Bebé, Alexander Büttner, and Ángelo Henríquez – the latter initially on loan with a purchase clause inserted – while Ryan Giggs has retired. Indeed, so many players are likely depart Old Trafford before the summer is out that United could, or could have, put out a decent side – one that Rant assumes would comfortably survive in the Premier League.

In a 4-3-3 formation, with room for substitutes…

Ben Amos, England, 24, Goalkeeper
The Macclesfield-born stopper has been with United since he joined the club aged 11 in 2001. Yet, in more than a decade at Old Trafford the England under-21 player has made just seven first team appearances – only one in the Premier League. Loan spells with Peterborough United, Molde, Oldham Athletic, Hull City and Carlisle United have brought 54 further games. With Amos’ contract running out in 2015, United will likely take a fee to move the player on this summer. 7 games, 0 goals

Rafael da Silva, Brazil, 24, Right-Back
The Brazilian was named by the Daily Mail as one of seven players whom van Gaal has earmarked to leave United this summer; perhaps the most surprising possible exit. The right-back has been with United since 2007, although form and injuries have repeatedly hampered the former Fluminense player’s progress. An outstanding campaign in 2012/13 was followed by a disappointing season under David Moyes. 159 games, 5 goals

Rio Ferdinand, England, 35, Central Defender (QPR)
In more than a decade at United Ferdinand secured almost every piece of silverware available, yet there was little other choice for United than to move the defender on this summer. Rather than retire Ferdinand moved to Queens Park Rangers in July – a humbling step down for one of Europe’s finest defenders, albeit one the Londoner has taken with good grace. Ferdinand may not be missed on the pitch, but his leadership certainly will be. 455 games, 8 goals

Nemanja Vidić, Serbia, 32, Central Defender (Internazionale)
Vidić is perhaps the most high-profile ‘victim’ of the Moyes era, with the Serbian rapidly seeking an exit before the full trauma of the Scot’s reign had even set in. It is, says United We Stand’s Andy Mitten, a decision he regrets. In eight years with United Vidić led the club to domestic and European glory – one of the finest defenders to have worn the red shirt. Injuries played a significant part in the Serbian’s reduced role in the period 2011-13 – a time in which Vidić considered leaving United. Yet, 2013/14 saw the defender restored to the side, and one of United’s better performers in a disastrous campaign. 300 games, 21 goals

Patrice Evra, France, 33, Left-Back (Juventus)
There have been few finer representatives of the club in modern times. In eight full seasons with United Evra played more than 40 games in all but one. For a period the Frenchman was probably the finest full-back in Europe; a great attacker, a fine defender, and a major contributor to United’s 2008 Champions League victory. In recent campaigns the defensive side of Evra’s game has suffered – most probably because the player’s stamina subsided as the miles clocked up. His contribution may have waned, but few will doubt his value to United over the years. Sorely missed in the dressing room. 379 games, 10 goals


Anderson, Brazil, 26, Central Midfield
Few players elicit as much debate among supporters as the errant Brazilian. For some, the ‘next Ronaldinho’ is waiting to burst forth, if only opportunities had been granted by Sir Alex in a more attacking role. Yet, Anderson so rarely impressed in any role – a short run of progress ended by another frustrating performance or perennial injury problems. In the end Anderson has more reason to look inward than to bad luck; injuries played their part, but a distinct lack of professionalism was a more important role in the former Gremio star’s downfall. 179 games, 9 goals

Marouane Fellaini, Belgium, 25, Central Midfield
Is there any more calamitous marker for the failed Moyes experiment than the Belgian? Strange player indeed – a midfielder who does not tackle, cannot pass, suffers for a chronic lack of pace, and exhibits a criminally poor first touch. Worse still, a player whose only redeeming feature – his height – is one that is so rarely needed at Old Trafford. United will move the midfielder on unless the trickle of suitors runs totally dry. It will cost millions though – a failure of Moyes’ direction, Woodward’s strategy, and horribly botched succession planning. 21 games, 0 goals

Ryan Giggs, Wales, 40, Winger/Central Midfield (Retired)
The Welshman’s retirement to take up an assistant manager’s post under van Gaal came as little surprise after more than two decades in the United first team. There are few superlatives left for the winger-turned-midfielder-turned-coach, who has won more silverware than any other player in the history of the club. Almost 1,000 games tells the story of Giggs’ longevity, dozens of major trophies that of his success. An outstanding player, a strong voice in the dressing room, and the turncoat who did more than most to undermine Moyes. Giggs won that battle – he now faces a new challenge to succeed in coaching. 963 games, 168 goals

Ryan Giggs

Nani, Portugal, 27, Winger
Frustrating and brilliant, although not in equal measure. Nani has reportedly been earmarked for an exit by van Gaal, much as Sir Alex Ferguson had concluded prior to summer 2013. Inexplicably Moyes pushed for the player to be awarded a new contract, although the club’s executive was also happy to protect the Portuguese winger’s transfer value. Nani’s time at United should have yielded so much more because the former Sporting player has almost every tool available to the modern forward: pace, technique and an eye for goal. Consistency, or the lack thereof, and a distinct inability to read the game have consistently limited Nani’s contribution. 221 games, 41 goals

Javier Hernández, Mexico, 26, Striker
How did it come to this? The sprightly Mexican started life at United so brightly, scoring 20 goals in all competitions. Yet, he has never become a fixture in the United side, making just 15 starts in the Premier League over the past two seasons. Indeed, the striker’s stock has fallen to the point that the club is unlikely to command the stellar transfer fee mooted when Real Madrid considered a bid in summer 2012. With Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck at the club, and James Wilson progressing fast, Chicharito’s career will surely be better served elsewhere. 152 games, 59 goals

Wilfied Zaha, England, 21, Winger
The former Crystal Palace winder has made so little impression that it is tempting to wonder just what went wrong. After all, outstanding performances for the Selhurst Park outfit and – one hopes – adequate due diligence should have left United confident that the £15 million fee was well spent. Technically Zaha offers much: pace, the ability to beat a man, and a goalscoring instinct. Yet, the player’s inability to release the ball often breaks down attacks, even at reserve level, while there has been more than one assertion that the player’s attitude has not always been right. Talented, but a player unlikely to prosper in van Gaal’s prefered 3-4-1-2 formation. 4 games, 0 goals

And on the bench…

Alexander Büttner, Netherlands, 25, Left Back (Dynamo Moscow)
It took all of 30 minutes for the schooled to work out that Büttner had neither the talent nor potential to become a player of United’s normally high standards. The Dutchman was, even by Sir Alex’ erratic transfer record, a very poor choice to challenge Evra for a place in the United side. Surging runs could do little to mask a defensive nous that, with no little irony, served only to underline Evra’s enduring value. That United actually made a profit on Büttner’s sale will bring a smile to Old Trafford’s varied bean counters. 28 games, 2 goals

Bebé, Portugal, 24, Winger/Forward (Benfica)
One of the most mysterious, and possibly dubious, transfers in United’s history. Plucked from amateur football by Vitória de Guimarães, Bebé was flipped for a profit of more than £7 million inside two months and without playing a competitive fixture for the club. Much of revenue was snaffled by ‘super agent’ Jorges Mendes. Adding to the enigma – United hasn’t concluded a deal with Mendes in more than four years since Bebé joined. 7 games, 2 goals

Ángelo Henríquez, Chile, 20, Striker (Dinamo Zagreb)
The young Chilean joined United from Universidad de Chile with high hopes that quick feet and striker’s instinct would blossom at Old Trafford. He is yet to make a competitive appearances for the first team. Loan spells at Wigan Athletic and Real Zaragoza convinced few that the 20-year-old is ready to make it at Old Trafford. 0 games, 0 goals

Will Keane, England, 21, Striker
Outstanding at academy and then reserve level, it was Will and not Michael than most observers assumed would make it into the first team squad of the Keane brothers. Yet, injuries and unfortunate loan spells at Wigan and Queens Park Rangers have served only to hamper the young Englishman’s progress. The Stockport-born striker should make it in the game, but reportedly not at United, with van Gaal offering Keane a passage out of the club this summer. 1 games, 0 goals

Federico Macheda, Italian, 23, Striker (Cardiff City)
It is now five years since Macheda exploded into the consciousness, scoring against Aston Villa to secure victory in a crucial late season Premier League game. It was the high point of the Italian’s career. In the interviewing years injuries and attitude have restricted the striker’s development; disastrous loan spells at Sampdoria, Stuttgart, Doncaster Rovers and Queens Park Rangers did little to dispel the belief that Macheda would never make it at United. 36 games, 5 goals


Tim - August 11, 2014 Reply

was de gea not mendes? I seem to recall him switching agent just prior to the move

Gavi44Kooner - August 11, 2014 Reply

enjoyed the read.

MunroeL - August 11, 2014 Reply

And of Nick Powell ?

Subterranean Steve - August 12, 2014 Reply

Nick who?

Duncan Andrews - August 12, 2014 Reply

Think you should use the headline ‘Louis Van Cull Begins’ (i mright copyright it though)

Subterranean Steve - August 12, 2014 Reply

Since when was Fellaini’s height his redeeming feature? The guy doesn’t jump, he just outwrestles his opponent to get his head to the ball.

Anyway, now that the afro is gone, he is considerably shorter.

the real deal - August 12, 2014 Reply

Not too concerned about the exodus, although I read that it may be hard to get rid of Anderson because no one wants to buy him. May just have to give him away.
Looks like van Gaal may bring in a couple more players before the deadline.

Denton Davey - August 12, 2014 Reply

Rafael and Chicharito would be missed so I hope that rumours of their demise are premature.

The clock had run out on Vidic and Rio and Evra, who were all sliding downhill fast.

Of the rest, only Bebe’s exit saddens me – he was such a wonderful, romantic gamble who was very much the subject of behind-the-scenes machinations YET it looked like he was finally coming good as he was the highest scoring Portuguese player in their league. So, why sell him when it seems he might be getting into the rhythm ?

Fortunately, the UTD hierarchy have seen the folly of Fergy’s choice and appointed a real professional manager who has been successful in a variety of settings. He might not be TheMessiah – and, for sure, he’s a very naughty boy – but LvG knows what he’s doing; that couldn’t be said for Agent Moyes.

Footie is – and always has been – a form of entertainment, a roller-coaster ride. Last year was the heart-in-mouth, downhill plunge after twenty years of riding the crest. We don’t know what will happen next but I’m going to enjoy the ride.

Dayus D red - August 12, 2014 Reply

It is ridiculous to include Rapheal on that list. Apart from being the only recognised right full back in the squard, he has always been one of our best performers in the team. Anyway i wouldn’t trust the Mail that broke the story more than i can throw it. Just wonder why Ed will give the story the credibility it does not deserve.

Raj - August 12, 2014 Reply

Kiko Macheda didn’t score two goals against Villa. He only scored the one (the winner). Ronaldo was right when he said after the game that nobody would remember his two goals in that game (including the equaliser).

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