7 Manchester United players who could be discarded by Erik ten Hag
Erik ten Hag will have serious plans for the current crop of Manchester United players aimed at turning them from Premier League disappointments to trophy winners. But for some, there is a serious chance he might let them go.
That could be because he thinks they simply aren’t good enough or will not fit the system that he wants to play. New arrivals could also replace them, and they’ll see their minutes slashed massively as compared to under previous managers.
“First of all, we want to make the fans proud,” Ten Hag said in his first interview as United boss. “Second, of course, we are in this moment, the current situation is obviously not that good. It’s a big challenge. I want to build and construct a team who are battling for each other, who are unified and who will get results.
“[We] accept the current situation but also know one year ago, this club, this team was second in the Premier League. There’s potential and now it’s up to us to get that out. It’s a process, it will take time but I’m convinced we will come to that point where we get success.”
But which players might Ten Hag discard on the way to building his ideal Manchester United? Here are seven we think could fall out of favour with the Dutch manager for one reason or another.
Wan-Bissaka’s one-on-one defending is up there as the best in the world, but going forward it’s no secret he hasn’t shown the calm, incisive passing that Ten Hag will require regardless of the formation he decides to employ at United.
Positionally, the right-back has been poor as well, and he has been one of the culprits for a number of goals conceded from back-post tap-ins.
Reportedly, the club are already prepared to let him go, with a return to Crystal Palace a possibility.
David de Gea
De Gea may be one of the best shot-stoppers around, especially at key moments, but he simply isn’t the type of modern goalkeeper than Ten Hag would prefer as his No.1.
His passing has been questioned for some time – and not just his short, quick passing but his ability to launch accurate longer pass. He is also not particularly positive when it comes to moving off his line to command his penalty area.
Finally, there’s the fact that the Spaniard’s shot-stopping has actually not been too great this season. His save percentage is just 69.4%, which has also got worse over the course of the season, underperforming his post-shot xG.
David de Gea five match moving average for post shot xG this season pic.twitter.com/EUGBwFMJtO
— • (@louorns) May 11, 2022
McTominay was never expected to break through and have as significant a first-team role as he has over the past few seasons, and the Scotland international deserves credit for working hard and stepping up.
But there’s no way around the fact he had a poor 2021-22. He will likely be a valuable squad player for Ten Hag, but it’s unlikely the Dutchman will want to start him regularly if he wants to improve the incisiveness of United’s passing.
Telles was preferred over Luke Shaw by Ralf Rangnick as the season progressed, but the Brazilian didn’t impress and it’s unlikely he’ll be starting for Ten Hag.
It’s sort of like the Wan-Bissaka tale in reverse, with Telles not showing much defensive know-how.
He scored a banging goal, however, so you never know.
Official: Alex Telles' wonder volley against Villarreal has won #mufc's September Goal of the Month award!
What a way to do it 😍🚀pic.twitter.com/4AW8eEXVxr
— UtdDistrict (@UtdDistrict) October 6, 2021
Until Cristiano Ronaldo’s arrival, Fernandes had been United’s main man with numbers that boggled the mind.
But in 2021-22, he struggled. His goals and assists are still impressive, and he’s signed a new contract too, but there’s a chance that Ten Hag won’t be a fan of Fernandes’ tenacious approach to chance creation.
Ten Hag might well want United to be much more methodical, while Fernandes constantly goes for impressive long balls and Hollywood passes. That might have contributed to him being one of the 2021-22 Premier League’s highest chance creators, but it also meant he turned the ball over an awful lot as well.
This is another harsh one, but Elanga may suffer from Rangnick leaving.
He was clearly a favourite of the German manager, but the Swede also worked hard to snatch his opportunity scoring some crucial goals.
Ten Hag will likely not want to start him, and there are talks he wants at least one other winger this summer. So, for the sake of game time, the academy graduate might be sent on loan to guarantee him minutes.
We really didn’t want to include Rashford, and there’s a chance the opposite will happen and he’ll return to his very best under Ten Hag.
But his 2021-22 wasn’t good, and that’s no secret. His passing numbers underline that, and highlight the fact there’s also a reality in which Ten Hag can’t turn his form around.
Just 1.99 progressive passes per 90 is poor when compared to other Premier League forwards, while he also only has a low 72% pass completion rate.
We hope to see him turn it around, but if he doesn’t…