The United manager had been expected to individually tell the players he considers to be surplus to requirements that they were free to find themselves a new club after evaluating them throughout United’s summer tour and, according to the Daily Mail, seven players have been told they’ve no future at Old Trafford.
Nani, Rafael, Marouane Fellaini, Anderson, Javier Hernandez, Will Keane and Wilfried Zaha do not feature in Van Gaal’s plans, but Kagawa will be given a second chance, although the Japanese has been told not to expect a starting role as he lies behind Juan Mata and Ander Herrera in the pecking order.
Of the seven in the list, only Rafael and Keane can be considered surprising inclusions. The former endured a torrid time last season and showed obvious signs of having regressed back to the sort of irrational approach Sir Alex Ferguson had worked so hard to curb, but his age and technical abilities make Van Gaal’s choice to part ways with him seem rather odd.
Keane, meanwhile, impressed for United youth team and has had very limited exposure to Premier League football and was thought to be among the crop of youngsters Van Gaal intends to give an opportunity to. It appears, however, that Keane doesn’t feature in the Dutchman’s plans and Zaha could soon follow him out of Old Trafford too.
The former Crystal Palace man will go down as one of Fergie’s most bizarre signings and United will be lucky to recoup some of the £15m they paid for him almost two years ago.
The remaining four players are fairly obvious inclusions, with Anderson and Nani failing to establish themselves in the seven seasons they’ve spent at the club, with the former showing no obvious signs of the dedication required of professional footballers, while the latter has seen his form spiralling downwards in the last two seasons.
The biggest problem will be to find a buyer for Anderson, while Nani has already attracted interest from a host of European clubs and should be easier to offload, as should Fellaini, who is on Napoli’s radar.
The Belgian’s horrendous debut season at Old Trafford was made harder by David Moyes’ decision to shell out a fortune for him on deadline day last summer – a string of injuries didn’t help his cause either – but while he might still be good enough for a smaller club, Fellaini has never looked a Manchester United player and clearly isn’t the sort of footballer Van Gaal builds his teams around.
The member of the list United fans will miss the most is Hernandez, whose impact in his first three seasons at United was undeniable but who’s since seen his opportunities limited and has been linked with a move away from Old Trafford for a couple of months now.