Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho believes his job at Old Trafford is “bigger than he thought” and at least eight players will be axed, according to a report.
The Daily Telegraph report that “a minimum of eight players” will be given the chop over the next two transfer windows as Mourinho attempts to build a squad capable of challenging for the Premier League title.
Mourinho spent £145.7million in the summer on Zltan Ibrahimovic, Henrik Mkhitaryan, Eric Bailly and Paul Pogba and offloaded six players, but his squad look million miles away from title contenders after they suffered their fifth defeat in 17 matches against Fenerbahce in the Europa League last night.
Defenders Marcos Rojo, Matteo Darmian and Phil Jones will all be allowed to move on, while midfield trio Bastian Schweinsteiger, Morgan Schneiderlin and Michael Carrick will also leave Old Trafford. Carrick is out of contract next summer and that will be allowed to expire, while a decision will be made on whether to extend Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s deal by a further 12 months.
Schweinsteiger will be encouraged to move on in January after not featuring under Mourinho, while wingers Memphis Depay and Ashley Young are also staring down the barrel.
Darmian, who has been linked with inter Milan, could leave in January, while Depay may leave on loan also in the winter window.
Mourinho apparently has concerns over other members of his squad, but Marouane Fellaini and Wayne Rooney, who will enter the final 12 months of their contracts next summer, could well evade the axe.
Captain Rooney, who has an option to extend his deal until 2019, remains part of his plans, according to the Portuguese manager.
Mourinho, who will reportedly do the majority of his business next summer, “believes he has taken on a bigger job at Old Trafford than he originally thought and is ready to make extensive changes to the squad next year”.
After last night’s defeat he again singled out a player for criticism. Just a month after blasting Luke Shaw, Mourinho told Henrikh Mkhitaryan he wanted more from the Armenian and he played Rooney as a N0 8, despite saying in the summer that the England skipper would never play there.