Whatever Louis van Gaal achieves at Manchester United, one thing's for certain: the playing squad is going to look radically different when he's finished with. At least, that's what the Guardian reckons; they are today reporting that another summer clearout is on the way, a mere year after after the axe-happy Dutchman last assaulted the dead wood.
So, who do they think is in danger? And why? Well, there are seven members of the United first-team squad whose contracts expire at the end of the 2015/16 season — David de Gea, Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Rafael da Silva, Robin van Persie, and of course the on-loan Radamel Falcao — and Van Gaal, so the story goes, is looking to bring in a central defender, a right back and a central midfielder. (Mats Hummels, one of Seamus Coleman, Nathaniel Clyne, or Dani Alves, and — surprise! — Kevin Strootman, apparently.)
Apparently Van Gaal is "confident" that De Gea will sign a new deal, and Van Persie, being over 30, may be offered a one-year extension. But the other four players on permanent deals are "understood" not to be anywhere near renewal, and unless Falcao starts scoring regularly then no long-term deal will be forthcoming.
So, who's going? If tBB had to guess ... well, it's fairly clear that Van Gaal doesn't fancy Rafael, the heartless monster, so we probably have to resign ourselves to his departure. Letting three centre halves go in the same window would be hilariously risky, and tBB would keep one of Phil Jones or Chris Smalling, depending on whether versatility or general defensive competence respectively. Maybe both. Jonny Evans, though, looks like something of a lost cause.
Hmm, so that's Rafael, Evans, maybe Smalling or Jones, and possibly Falcao, goals depending. Not actually that huge a clearout at all. More of a trimming. Suppose that wouldn't sound quite as exciting.