Roy Keane believes Sir Jim Ratcliffe has a huge challenge on his hands to get Manchester United challenging for top honours again, having named nine players he feels the British businessman needs to sell.
The 71-year-old can soon expect to have his £1.4bn investment for Manchester United, which will see him claim 25% of the Glazers’ shareholding into the club, made official after what has proved an arduous and lengthy wait. Under the agreement, Ratcliffe will take on a major hands-on role at the club, overseeing their transfer department and largely becoming United’s new figurehead.
With the Glazers’ effectively becoming silent, albeit, majority shareholders, in the background, hopes are growing that Ratcliffe will help shake United out of the doldrums.
And while a 2-1 victory over Chelsea on Wednesday night eleviated some of the pressure on Erik ten Hag, the Dutchman knows only a win over Bournemouth on Saturday, together with progress in the Champions League – which, admittedly, does now rely on a favour elsewhere in addition to victory over Bayern Munich – to keep the wolves from his door.
By and large, the 2023/24 season has been one beset by player unrest and major inconsistencies throughout the squad.
And with Ten Hag battling to keep morale up, as well as fighting for his own job, he will be hoping to see some belief and fight from his players in the coming weeks ahead.
To that end, Alan Shearer has explained why it was no surprise to see an ‘angry’ Ten Hag leave a ‘unhappy’ Marcus Rashford on the bench against Mauricio Pochettino’s side.
However, Rashford’s poor form is just one of a plethora of issues Ten Hag has faced this season.
Keane names nine Man Utd players who Ratcliffe should sell
Now with Ratcliffe getting his feet under the table at Old Trafford, Keane has named a number of underperforming stars who must now start fearing for their futures.
The Irishman is known for speaking his mind and, when discussing United’s squad with Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher on Sky Sports’ The Overlap podcast, he named and shamed nine stars who he would look to get rid of.
Playing a game of ‘Keep, Last Straw or Ditch’, Keane selected Victor Lindelof, Antony, Raphael Varane, Diogo Dalot, Sofyan Amrabat, Christian Eriksen, Harry Maguire, Jadon Sancho and Anthony Martial as the players he would advise Ratcliffe to ditch.
Somewhat surprisingly, Keane had kinder words on the future of goalkeeper Andre Onana, who cost a fee rising to £47.2m from Inter Milan over the summer.
The Cameroon keeper has struggled badly since replacing David De Gea between the sticks and again failed to keep out a well-placed shot from Cole Palmer at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening.
That said, it’s far from Onana’s biggest blunder so far and, given he’s still somewhat adapting to the role, Keane claims the 27-year-old should be given until the end of the season to prove his worth.
Keane, though, did not mince his words and labelled Onana as the “biggest disappointment” of the season.
“The biggest disappointment has to be Andre Onana,” Keane stated.
“I think Manchester United were right to get rid of David De Gea, but for the club to have brought someone else in and for him to be struggling…”
Carragher joins Keane in Andre Onana criticism
That viewpoint was also shared by Jamie Carragher, who has been unimpressed by both major goalkeeper signings in the Premier League this summer in both Onana and Arsenal’s decision to sign David Raya.
“The biggest disappointments in the Premier League so far this season would be the two goalkeepers at Manchester United and Arsenal (Onana and Raya),” Carragher added.
“They’ve been quite poor after coming in as ‘improvements’ from the previous keepers, and it’s almost stayed the same or even gone backwards with them coming in.”
Onana has so far conceded 35 goals in 22 appearances for United, with just seven clean sheets to his name.
Since coming into the Arsenal side for Aaron Ramsdale, Raya has conceded 13 goals in 15 appearances, also keeping seven clean sheets.