Part 1 of Colin and Matt fix the Man United squad saw the two go through the current squad and determine the future of each player. If you’ve not listened to it, you can listen below through the embedded link below.
This category is for players that we’ve decided are good enough to stay in the first team (at least for now) and shouldn’t be benched or replaced
GK David De Gea: Obvious yes from us here. De Gea chose to stay through Louis Van Gaal and Jose Mourinho rather than win Champions League titles with Real Madrid. We can forgive him for a poor run of form.
CB Victor Lindelof: POTY candidate for United this season. Grew a lot in tough circumstances, and has become a reliable defender.
LB Luke Shaw: We’ve not been huge fans of Luke Shaw, but his first full season without major injury saw him earn his place and a POTY award. He still has room for improvement, and perhaps competition would do him good, but for now he fills a starting spot and crosses a need off the list.
CM Paul Pogba: Apparently a controversial choice, but Pogba is a world class player who managed to show his quality despite a manager who despised him and a squad of players who aren’t near his quality. Deserved to make the PFA Team of the Season, and deserves to stay at United as long as he is committed. Madrid and Barcelona will certainly come calling again, but we’re of the opinion he should be kept.
CM Ander Herrera: If the rumours are true, Herrera will be off to Paris in July. It’s no secret we love him, and we talk about his work ethic and passion for the club a lot on the podcast, but Herrera’s quality in midfield is often overlooked. Maybe he won’t be a starter much longer, and there are certainly better midfielders out there, but replacing Herrera is a pretty big ask right now.
ST Marcus Rashford: Despite a slow start and a poor finish to the season, Marcus Rashford was one of the most dangerous players in the Premier League from November through March. He creates, he scores, and his motor has a high work rate, something this squad lacks.
LW Anthony Martial: Martial has gotten pretty good at disappearing for long stretches of time, but he is still pretty young. Like Rashford, an offseason learning Ole’s system and improving fitness could solve the spotty form we saw this year. Top player with a lot of potential, but it’s time to turn potential into production.
This category is for players that we think should stay on in a squad role, but should not be first choice
GK Sergio Romero: Best backup in the Premier League. As long as Romero doesn’t want to be a no. 1 somewhere else we’re happy to keep him. Had some really good performances against tough opposition in the FA Cup.
CB Eric Bailly: Pretty close to saying “sell” for him, but Bailly has shown he can be a good defender in the past. His inconsistency is alarming enough to bench him, but he could be a useful player off the bench or in rotation. Definitely need to find a better starter option.
CB Chris Smalling: This was one where we disagreed, but ultimately came to a conclusion. Phil Jones out, Chris Smalling staying on as a bench option. Both have failed to live up to their expectations, but either could be a good bench option. Depth is crucial, but difficult to assemble. May as well keep him for now in case injuries hit.
RB Diogo Dalot: Lots for him to improve on, but overall Dalot had a pretty promising first season at United. Looks strong going forward, but must improve defensively if he wants to be the starter someday.
CM Andreas Pereira- Hard to judge Pereira. He’s had some decent seasons on loan, but hasn’t shown much since returning other than a great goal against Southampton. Keep him around to see if he can improve, and if he doesn’t send him on his way.
CM Fred: Fred’s signing and performances have baffled fans and pundits alike, and we’re no exception at The Busby Babe Podcast. He absolutely has not lived up to his massive price tag, and has committed more than one error leading to a goal this season, but he’s also had some good performances against strong opposition. Hopefully he can nail down a role under Ole next season and start contributing consistently.
CM Scott McTominay- McTominay showed a lot of improvement this season, particularly under Solskjaer. He filled in nicely for Nemanja Matic, and is probably the best option for a midfield anchor currently. Wouldn’t say he’s good enough to start every week, but should definitely be kept around.
AM Juan Mata: It’s rare to have someone with the experience and technical ability that Mata has off the bench, and if he is happy with that role then so are we. His leadership is important in the dressing room, and he can still produce chances and goals despite his noticeable decline in speed.
FW Jesse Lingard: Despite what some commentators may believe, Lingard is no longer a promising young player. It’s time to accept he wont be a starter quality player, but his is a very dangerous forward option off the bench. He’s quick, smart, and capable of scoring clutch goals. Perhaps Ole can mentor United’s next super sub.
These guys deserve an opportunity to play either at United or somewhere else on loan
GK Joel Pereira: We’ve not seen a lot of him, but by all accounts he’s a promising talent. maybe loan him out again to get him some playing time.
DF Axel Tuanzebe: Very promising defender who should be considered for the United first team. Would love to see him given a chance.
RB/CDM Timothy Fosu-Mensah: Difficult to judge his progress from his loan spells the last two seasons, but could be a useful squad player in positions where there isn’t much depth.
CDM James Garner: Had a good season with the reserve and youth teams. Expect Ole to give him a chance against Cardiff, and probably on the Summer Tour as well. Excited to see how he develops.
RW/FW Tahith Chong: Another promising youth player who has been given a few call-ups now. Certainly
AM/FW Angel Gomes: He’s been given about 1 appearance for the first team in each of the last 3 seasons, so it’s weird to think he’s only 18 years old. Probably for the best he hasn’t been moved to the first team permanently, but it’s getting to the point where he should make the jump.
ST Mason Greenwood- Greenwood has been a goal machine for the Youth side this season, and will likely earn the call-up for the Tour, but could feature more off the bench next season. He certainly needs to make the jump soon given how easily he’s scoring at the current level.
This is the category for players that are not good enough to stay at Manchester United, and should be replaced in the transfer market
CB Phil Jones: Jones out, Smalling in (on the bench) was the decision on the podcast. Simply not good enough to be starters, and moving on from the poor options at centre back will force Ed Woodward’s hand in the transfer market to bring in quality options to start alongside Lindelof.
CB/LB Marcos Rojo: Apart from his poor form and often dangerous tackling, Rojo hasn’t been able to stay fit for any stretch of time it seems since he joined United. Time to move on and bring in someone else.
RB/LB Ashley Young: On the podcast we put Young in a category called “We will pay another club to take him.” It’s a bit harsh, but not far from the truth. Ashley Young is past it, and is a liability defensively. He’s had a few good moments at United, but overall has fallen far from the exciting and creative winger he was when he arrived. Time to close the chapter of his United career.
RB Antonio Valencia: Valencia has been a tremendous servant in his time at Manchester United, but he’s not got it in him to produce at the same level he used to. He’s already confirmed his departure this summer, and we wish him good luck wherever he decides to finish out his career.
RB/LB Matteo Darmian: Decent utility full-back, but hardly starter quality. Certainly he’s not been happy riding the bench for 3 years, and he’s shown nothing to justify a promotion.
CDM Nemanja Matic: Matic looked like a very good signing initially, but his form and athleticism quickly deteriorated. He’s simply not good enough to anchor United’s midfield anymore.
LW/FW Alexis Sanchez: We feel there is no explanation needed here.
ST Romelu Lukaku: This was a tough one. Romelu Lukaku is a quality striker, and will do well in a system tailored for a natural no. 9, but he isn’t getting better at United. The club won’t get a return of the massive fee they paid for him, but they’ll get something back, and the wage room and fee will help United rebuild.
This category is for players that are Lee Grant
GK Lee Grant: He seems cool.
Part 2 of Colin and Matt fix the Man United squad was a brief discussion of transfer targets. If you’ve not listened to it, you can listen below through the embedded link below.
Needs: CB, RB, CDM, CM, RW, ST, general squad depth
CB Matthijs De Ligt: Obvious link here. Young, proven, leader, smart. Rumours of a Barcelona deal, and the suspension of his agent, Mino Raiola, are pretty major roadblocks, and United’s failure to qualify for the Champions League next season is an even bigger one. Regardless, it won’t hurt to give Edwin Van Der Sar a call and ask for a price.
CB Kalidou Koulibaly: We love this guy. Physical defender who has been wrecking Serie A attackers for years. He is rumoured to be ready to move on from Napoli, but other big clubs will surely be in the hunt as well.
CB Harry Maguire: Colin has been advocating for Harry Magure for some time now (See here). He’s a quality defender who is worthy of a move up to a bigger club.
RB Aaron Wan-Bissaka: One of the best full backs in the Premier League this season. Wan-Bissaka should be at a bigger club competing for trophies. He’s a hungry and seasoned young defender, which is exactly what United need more of.
RB Joao Cancelo: This almost certainly won’t happen, but we can dream. Quality player for Juventus this season, which means he almost certainly won’t leave.
LB Kieran Tierney: The Celtic academy has turned out a few bright prospects, but Tierney has the opportunity to be an elite player. He wouldn’t be an immediate starter at United, but could provide some competition for Luke Shaw and fill in as a utility player on the wing or in defense.
CM Ruben Neves: United fans have seen enough of Wolves this season to know Rube Neves isn’t a flash in the pan. He’s a quality midfielder who won’t stay at a mid-table side much longer. United should take note of him.
CM Wilfred Ndidi: Another quality midfielder who could be looking to move up. CDM is a big need for United, and Ndidi would be a decent answer to that need.
AM Christian Eriksen: This is a dream really. Why would he leave a Champions League finalist to play in the Europa League? We’ll just have to hope the Man United name still has some pull in the transfer window, but even if he wants the move Daniel Levy wouldn’t.
RW Jadon Sancho: This is a dream move that would likely cost a fortune, but young Jadon Sancho is worth the hype. He’s already one of the better right wingers in football, and would compliment Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial up front. Worth the money, but would need convincing to leave.
CF Paulo Dybala: Dybala shouldn’t be forced out of any team, but has been second to Cristiano Ronaldo’s needs so far at Juve. He’s best as a no. 10, but hasn’t been able to play his game at Juve this season. Could be nice to reunite him with his mate Pogba to spearhead a diamond midfield.
LW/CF/RW Joao Felix: Joao Felix has been brilliant at Benfica, and is rumoured to be looking for a move to a bigger club to compete on a bigger stage. Could be yet another young forward with elite potential in United’s ranks
RW/LW Daniel James: Wasn’t discussed on the podcast, but United have since been linked with the young Swansea player. After checking out his film it’s easy to see why. He’s a burner, lightning quick winger with a good eye for creating chances. Excited to see where this goes.