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Transfer window review: The state of Manchester United's squad

Now that we know the squad for the rest of the season, let's think about whether it's good enough.

Manchester United v Wigan Athletic - The Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Welcome to February. The shortest month of the year has the privileged position, in the footballing calendar, of being the moment at which everything snaps into place. As of now, and barring any free agent shenanigans, we know who is going to be carrying forward Manchester United's bid for the Glorious Quadruple of League Cup, FA Cup, Europa League, and Top Four Trophy. It's definitely a trophy. Arsene said so.

So, having let Memphis Depay and Morgan Schneiderlin leave for good, along with a couple of youth players, have United got enough left in the squad to compete? Let's take a look ...


David de Gea, Sergio Romero, Joel Pereira

One of the best in the world, a decent (if occasionally janky) back-up, and a promising youngster. Can't ask for much more than that.


Antonio Valencia, Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo, Matteo Darmian, Chris Smalling, Daley Blind, Luke Shaw, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Axel Tuanzebe (plus Ashley Young)

Ten or eleven options, and maybe two automatic first-choice picks. At right-back, Antonio Valencia is one of the unambiguous success stories of this season so far, and at centre-back, Eric Bailly has taken to the Premier League like a duck to orange sauce.

The obvious space in the squad is a partner for Bailly, since there are question marks over all of Rojo (due about four red cards), Jones (injury-prone), Smalling (erratic, possibly not trusted), and Blind (out of favour, possibly a left-back). Hence all those rumours about either Jose Fonte or Victor Lindelof, the thinking being that United would pick up either somebody experienced, or somebody highly-rated.

That didn't happen. As such, United will be sort of muddling through until the end of the season, with plenty of options but no clear-cut hierarchy. We'd guess that Jones will be the first choice, based on how he's performed this season. We'd also guess that there will be plenty more rumours come the summer.

As for left-back, your guess is as good as ours. Luke Shaw's struggles have meant that Matteo Darmian's been filling in, which doesn't feel like a permanent solution. Nor do Rojo and Blind. It might be a little dramatic to suggest that Shaw's got four months to save his United career, but it might also be accurate. For the time being, though, this shouldn't be a huge problem.


Paul Pogba, Michael Carrick, Ander Herrera, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Marouane Fellaini, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Ashley Young (plus Marcus Rashford, Wayne Rooney, Anthony Martial, and Timothy Fosu-Mensah)

The basic core of United's midfield appears to be fairly well-established, with Ander Herrera and Paul Pogba to be joined by Michael Carrick if it's a tricky game, by Marouane Fellaini if Carrick needs a rest, or by somebody more attacking if United expect to dominate. The need for a Carrick replacement is obvious, since he's old and getting older, but as with the defence, the decision has been taken to wait.

This means that United are vulnerable to injuries. If, in the pursuit of three cups and a respectable league position, United find themselves relying on Fellaini as a starter, or Schweinsteiger for anything more than a cameo here and there, things could get very awkward. The decision to let Morgan Schneiderlin go was probably the right one for the player, who wants to play, and a decent one by the manager. But it's also a gamble of sorts.

Out wide, the options of Mata, Mkhitaryan, Lingard and Young, plus the option to move Martial, Rashford and even Rooney out to the flanks, mean that the absence of Memphis Depay shouldn't really be an issue.


Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Wayne Rooney, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial

If he keeps scoring, then he'll keep playing. And if he doesn't, then United can either bring in experience in the shape of Rooney, or youthful pace and skill in either Rashford or Martial. Plenty of goals in all that lot: the trick is going to be to keeping everybody happy.