Monday 26 September 2016

Here's how Man United could get all the money they spend on Paul Pogba right back

Published 25/07/2016 | 18:30

As Manchester United look to put the finishing touches to their world breaking transfer bid to bring Paul Pogba back to Old Trafford, we may soon reflect that their mind-boggling €100m+ investment will not look quite so lavish when this crazy transfer window slams shut.

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With Juventus preparing to spend most of the money they will get for their French midfielder to sign Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain in an equally unfathomable €94m deal, United chiefs may well be in a position to recoup most of the cash they are throwing at the Pogba transfer by embarking on a selling spree in the run up to the transfer deadline at the end of August.

Read more: Is Jose Mourinho deliberately setting Wayne Rooney up for a fall ahead of the new season?

Mourinho has hinted that he is looking to work with a relatively small squad and does not want unhappy players cluttering up his training ground without the prospect of playing, so here is your Independent.ie guide to the players who may be surplus to requirements in the new-look United set-up.

MARCOS ROJO

Value: €25m

This Argentine defender was hailed as a key signing in the summer of 2014, but he has struggled to prove his worth in the Premier League and never won the trust of the now departed boss Louis van Gaal.

An alarmingly shaky performance in United’s 4-1 defeat against Borussia Dortmund in China last Friday did little to help his cause under new boss Jose Mourinho and it may be that he is one of the first names sacrificed by the Portuguese tactician.

Verdict: Rojo has been linked with a move to Spanish football in recent months and even though his stock has fallen dramatically in recent months, he would still command a lofty transfer fee in what is an inflated market.

Watch: Man United's farcical pre-season tour summed up in one stupid question directed at Jose Mourinho  

JUAN MATA

Value: €30m

Mourinho and Mata have insisted publicly that they are willing to work together once again after a less than harmonious conclusion to their time in tandem at Chelsea, but it is hard to imagine this uneasy peace holding for long if the Spanish midfielder is not part of the United line-up in the first few games of the season.

United play three Premier League games and will compete in the Community Shield before the end of the transfer window and that gives Mata plenty of time to assess whether he will be warming the bench under Mourinho’s watch once again.

Verdict: United are well stocked with creative midfielders and the arrival of Henrikh Mkhitaryan adds to those options. Mata will not fit into Mourinho’s long-term plan and it remains to be seen whether he leaves in this transfer window or the next. Everton’s interest in signing him is genuine.

Read more: Manchester clubs move swiftly to appease fans following China cancellation  

BASTIAN SCHWEINSTEIGER

Value: €5m

This German veteran looked past his best before he sealed a move to United last summer and the evidence of the 12 months that have followed backed up that suspicion.

Mourinho will have enough leaders in his team without needing this highly paid World Cup winner to clog up his treatment room, so don’t be surprised to see the 31-year-old seal a big money move to Turkey, China or America as he looks to extend his career.

Verdict: Getting Schweinsteiger’s huge wages off the Old Trafford bill would free up space for the new arrivals, with a deal that always came with a big element of risk failing to deliver results.

 

MAROUANE FELLAINI

Value €25m

Fellaini has been one of the great survivors at United over the last three seasons, with the frizzy-haired midfielder/makeshift striker never looking good enough to play for such a great club while still hanging onto his place in their team for big matches.

Mourinho will almost certainly look to move on a player who has long been a target of annoyance for United fans, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s arrival ensuring his usefulness as a target man striker is now redundant.

Verdict: Fellaini should be grateful that he has played at Man Utd for three seasons as he has never been up to the standards required at such a great club. He will do a job for a lower level Premier League club, and with David Moyes back in the top flight, the manager who twice signed the Belgian may look to complete his hat-trick.

 

MEMPHIS DEPAY

Value: €30m

Mourinho may fancy his chances of reviving the flagging career of this Dutch winger, who arrived at United last summer amid great fanfare.

Depay has long been a kid known to have something of a challenging attitude and that has not helped his cause after he lost his way on the field under Louis van Gaal’s guidance last season. The 22-year-old has some raw talent that needs to be honed, but he does not appear to be up to the task of taking centre stage at a big club like United.

Verdict: United would be wise to try and get some of the money they spent on Depay back into their transfer kitty now and there will be plenty of clubs who will believe his one bad season at Old Trafford is not evidence that he is damaged beyond repair.

 

If United recouped the kind of transfer fees we have suggested here, they would collect a little over €100m, which would make the ridiculously expensive Pogba deal look like a bargain in this curious transfer market that appears to have no boundaries.

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