Man United FC

Ten Hag tells Man Utd pair they have no future after Sevilla defeat as opening €100m offer to sign striker rated as ‘new Luis Suarez’ is lodged

Manchester United must make severe and sweeping cuts to this squad's rot

The club’s recent past has been one of uncertainty and indulgence, which has resulted in a squad that is unfit for purpose.

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Will this be the summer when the message that has been slamming Manchester United in the face for longer than most fans care to recall finally gets through?

Or does United need to suffer through another season of humiliating defeats, still believing that a slew of players in this squad is good enough to represent a club of this size and stature?

The cuts must be deep and sweeping, but the same has been said for the previous four summers, dating back to when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer promised change in the aftermath of a dreadful 4-0 defeat at Everton in April 2019, just weeks after taking over permanently, only for the much-anticipated overhaul to never materialize.

To his credit, Erik ten Hag has been harsh in ways that none of his post-Ferguson managing predecessors could equal, and supporters are hoping that the axe will swing hard and quickly. However, you could excuse them for not holding their breath.

The club’s recent history has been one of uncertainty and indulgence, a toxic cocktail at the best of times but made all the more corrosive by the magnitude of the rebuilding project.

United must sell heavily in order to raise funds, but they must also sell heavily because, unless they do, nights like this heinous one against Sevilla will become much too common, and the gap to the top will become nearly impossible to close.

Sevilla’s 3-0 win over Newcastle, Liverpool’s 7-0 win over Liverpool, and Manchester City’s 6-3 win over Brentford should teach Ten Hag everything he needs to know about the quality and mentality gap that exists between those he can rely on and the others. If that slew of horror shows isn’t enough to sway him, there’s a slew of past campaign references to draw on. Liverpool won 5-0, Watford won 4-1, Liverpool won 4-0, Brighton won 4-0, Spurs won 6-1, and Istanbul Basaksehir won 2-1. The list goes on and on.

Eight of the 14 players that appeared that day against Everton under Solskjaer are still at the club: Anthony Martial, Victor Lindelof, David De Gea, Fred, Diogo Dalot, Scott McTominay, Phil Jones, and Marcus Rashford. The only player you would fight tooth and nail to keep is Rashford, who was brought on at halftime after being hurried back from injury in a frantic attempt to rescue the shambles. He is, in fact, the only one of that group who deserves to stay.

Martial, the constant sick note, played 54 minutes against Sevilla before staggering off, hurt yet again. When will United realize he cannot be relied on and must be replaced?

De Gea had one of his worst performances for United on an awful night, and if Ten Hag wants to improve United’s build-up play from the back, he needs a goalkeeper who is good with his feet and isn’t afraid of pressure like the Spaniard.

Victor Lindelof, like Harry Maguire, has got more opportunities than seems appropriate. Fred is just Fred. Dalot has regressed since returning from injury in February and is not a right-back who will help you win the league. Newcastle is interested in Scott McTominay, who was injured here. If the money is good enough, United should take it.

In the case of Phil Jones, who has failed to complete a single training session under Ten Hag, his continued employment by the club is as powerful a sign of United’s failure as any. At the end of the season, he will be a free agent.

Other players who must leave include Anthony Elanga, Donny van de Beek, Brandon Williams, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Eric Bailly, Alex Telles, and Dean Henderson. Loanees such as Wout Weghorst and Marcel Sabitzer are unable to stay.

Of course, United cannot let so many players depart at once, but there must be a significant clearout that sets the tone for the future. United could say that it started last summer, but five of those who departed were out of contract – Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, Edinson Cavani, Nemanja Matic, and Juan Mata – and the only players sold were Andreas Pereira, James Garner, and Tahith Chong.

This time, United must go much further.

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