Manchester United is approaching the end of the 2021/22 season with concern regarding the club’s future.
Whether it’s their European status for the following season, who will be the new manager, or even where the team will play home games in the coming years.
Another source of anxiety is how the roster will look at the end of the summer, with a slew of players linked with moves away from the club, as well as plenty of talk about prospective incomings.
The likes of Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, and Edinson Cavani are all nearly set to go in the summer, but what about the players whose futures are less definite?
We’ve looked at five players whose fate at the club could be decided in the closing months of the season.
The Ivory Coast international has had a rough season, and this is not the first time he has approached the end of a season in a negative fashion.
Bailly has been fairly injury-free this season, but he has dropped to fourth-choice among United’s current center-backs.
It’s unlikely that he’ll be given much time on the field to establish himself, so the defender may have to put in some impressive performances at training to show why he’s deserving of a spot in the United team next season.
Bailly was linked with a transfer away in January, but it appears that his six-year stay at Old Trafford may come to an end this summer. The 27-year-old isn’t getting any playing time, while Teden Mengi and Axel Tuanzebe are rising through the ranks at United.
It’s amazing how quickly things have changed for Wan-Bissaka, who was once considered one of England’s greatest defensive right-backs and was vying for a spot in Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions squad.
Wan-Bissaka is no longer a sure starter at United, and the former Crystal Palace man has had a difficult 18 months on the field.
He simply appears to be a player who lacks confidence, and while there have always been issues about Wan-offensive Bissaka’s abilities, the No.29 is currently struggling defensively.
With Diogo Dalot looking like Ralf Rangnick’s first choice with Brandon Williams and Ethan Laird returning from loan spells this summer, United may feel Wan-Bissaka isn’t worth the risk. It’s up to the full-back to prove otherwise in the closing months of the season.
So much has been made of Manchester United’s need for a holding midfielder this season, despite the fact that the club already has one in Nemanja Matic.
However, there is a widespread belief that the Serbian is past his prime, despite the fact that he has performed admirably when called upon this season – a cameo appearance last week against Atletico Madrid is just one example.
While the Red Devils cannot rely on Matic as their lone defensive option in midfield, he still has an opportunity to demonstrate that he has a place in this team.
A couple strong performances in the remaining months of the season could solidify his status as a trustworthy backup option at the base of midfield.
When hasn’t there been conjecture about Pogba’s future? The Frenchman’s contract expires in the summer, and he’s been connected with a number of Europe’s elite clubs in recent months.
But there hasn’t been much discussion about whether United truly wants to keep the former Juventus player, or what role he might play in the team in the future.
Pogba’s best position is as an offensive midfielder or as a No.10, but Bruno Fernandes has surpassed the World Cup winner in the United pecking order, and there is still hope that Donny van de Beek will grow into a useful Premier League midfielder.
United’s No.6 has even been forced to play wide since finding a role for him in the team has been tough, while Pogba has struggled for consistency since joining the club.
When you consider the off-field reports he produces, dealing with Mino Raiola, and the midfielder’s exorbitant salaries, United may come to the conclusion that they’re better off without Pogba in the near future.
Rashford’s performances, like those of Wan-Bissaka, have plummeted in the last year. The forward appears to be completely lacking in confidence, and his form has plummeted in recent months.
Rashford has also been linked with a move this summer, with Paris Saint-Germain among those keeping an eye on the issue.
However, given United’s abundance of offensive alternatives, the club may decide that it is in everyone’s best interests for the youth graduate to move on. That appears to be a serious possibility if he continues to underperform on the field in the next nine games of the season.
However, if Rashford is able to rediscover a solid run of form, opinions will rapidly flip against a player who still has a lot of popularity and goodwill among the crowd.