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Van Gaal axes FIVE players, claims the Daily Mail

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According to everybody's favourite newspaper, Manchester United are dispensing with the services of five notable members of the first-team squad.

Stephen Dunn

Transfer news, of a sort, but not the exciting kind. According to the Daily Mail, Louis van Gaal, as promised, has sat down with the players that are on the edges of the first-team squad and told them whether they're part of his plans for the season ahead. And five of them, it appears, are not.

The Mail's information is that Van Gaal has told the players in question to "instruct their representatives" to find new clubs before the transfer window closes. Four of the names are fairly obvious, comprising the unhappy Javier Hernandez, the out-of-place Marouane Fellaini, the endlessly frustrating Nani and the indolent, disappointing Anderson, all of who have been strongly linked away from United all summer. But the fifth, well ... the fifth is Rafael.

A moment's silence, please, while tBB collects itself. No, we're fine. No, we've just got something in our eye.

Naturally, this is all reportedly, and it's only one source of reportedly at that. The story goes that the players in questions were told in face-to-face meetings on Sunday. Reprieves have been granted to everybody else, then, including Tom Cleverley, Antonio Valencia and Shinji Kagawa. The Mail claims that the Japanese playmaker will be third choice at No. 10, behind Juan Mata and Ander Herrera. Quite who's going to be playing in midfield when Herrera's playmaking is anybody's guess.

If all five end up leaving, then that leaves United's first-team squad looking seriously light. Let's hope that the entrance is soon to be as busy as the exit. And let's hope Rafael's representatives fail miserably and a localised injury crisis give the wonderful twin one last shot.