4 Man Utd players possibly headed for the exit
Manchester United's clearout - four players possibly headed for the exit
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Manchester United manager David Moyes said the 2-2 draw with the Premier League's bottom club Fulham at Old Trafford on Sunday was "as bad as it gets". He wasn't wrong. For Manchester United, it provided further evidence of the need to clear out a considerable pile of deadwood at the club.
Last week's article on this topic asked who was likely to follow Anderson out of the door, even as the Brazilian - still technically a United player as he is on loan to Fiorentina with a view to a permanent transfer in the summer - denied giving an interview saying lots of players wanted to leave.
For clarity, it should be said that the article in question had been written and was in the hands of the editors at SWOL when news broke of Nemanja Vidic's impending departure. No, it wasn't inside knowledge, just a reasonable assessment of a situation.
That being the case, a few more names might be added. Some departures are highly likely, while others might just find a way of happening.
Young was not included last week because some of his recent form has been promising. Fewer dives and more decent crosses and shots have bene the output, with fine goals against West Ham and Cardiff City. Even so, he bears a major part of the blame for the fact that United were able to hit 81 crosses against Fulham and score just twice. Rene Meulensteen, who will know the players at Old Trafford better than most, had decided to defend deep and narrow in the expectation that that particular parked bus might just cope when the ball was usually flying way over the heads of Rooney and van Persie.
The greatest indictment of Young was that he was bought at 26, when his peak years should have been just ahead of him. Yet he has not improved at all from his Villa days. It's time to go.
Another player whose crossing has been poor all season, his pace is down on previous years and he did little after coming on against Fulham to correct the problem. He, too, may be on his way. Having been outstanding in 2011-12, he has been anything but since.
Kagawa did not feature at all against Fulham, which is no surprise as there is clearly no future for him in Manchester now Mata has arrived. The Spaniard can be absolved from the criticism warranted by others and had an assist for a van Persie goal for the second week running. Kagawa's greatest value may lie in a return to Dortmund as part of a deal to bring in Reus or Gundogan, as Jurgen Klopp remains a big fan.
Robin van Persie
This may seem a strange nomination after a brilliant first season, plus a healthy goals return when fit this year. Having scored in the last three games there is no doubt the Dutchman can still capable of mixing it with the best. But there is a cold reality that must be faced: Van Persie is now 31, about to play in his last World Cup, and has one more year on his contract. Without Champions League Football at Old Trafford - barring something highly unexpected - he may ask to leave anyway, or could go for nothing on a Bosman move a year on. In short, it may be worth cashing in to help fund team rebuilding, particularly if a younger forward of sufficient quality can be acquired.
A year into his project, Moyes may decide it is a good time to take stock and learn some lessons. The very fact that a team famous for scoring crucial late goals is now far more likely to concede them might suggest something is wrong with the training and fitness regime. Alternatively, it may simply be that new sources of ideas will be needed. Either way, the Scot may already be looking to cut his losses and bring in coaches who can give the players an extra technical or tactical dimension.
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