A remarkable report claims Erik ten Hag could axe four major Manchester United stars, and the list doesn’t include Donny van de Beek or Jadon Sancho whose United careers ‘appear over already’.
It’s been a case of one step forward and two steps back for the Red Devils this season. After a rocky start to his Man Utd career, Andre Onana has stood up tall in his last two outings.
A last-gasp penalty save helped put United’s ailing Champions League campaign back on track against Copenhagen one week ago. However, despite making a string of superb saves to deny Erling Haaland, United and Onana were humiliated in the Manchester derby on Sunday.
That sums up United’s season in a nutshell, with any positive story quickly drowned out by a negative one.
But with Sir Jim Ratcliffe poised to purchase a 25 percent stake in the club, major change is afoot.
Ten Hag’s position as manager is expected to be safe. The Dutchman still has credit in the bank for guiding United into the UCL last season as well as winning the EFL Cup.
However, if the purse strings are loosened from 2024 onwards, United’s squad could be overhauled in a variety of positions.
Now, a report from the Daily Express has highlighted four major Man Utd stars who could be turfed out of Old Trafford by Ten Hag. The Express state the quartet in question are ‘already fighting for their futures’.
The first name on the list is centre-half Victor Lindelof. It’s claimed Harry Maguire’s recent resurgence has seen the Englishman usurp Lindelof in the centre-back pecking order.
That means Lindelof is down to fourth choice at best if Ten Hag had a full compliment to choose from. Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez are the preferred pairing when fit.
Ten Hag has gradually phased out dubious signings made by previous managers and it’s claimed Lindelof could be among the next to fall.
The Swede’s current contract expires at season’s end, though United have an option for an extra 12 months.
Two Ten Hag signings on four-man hitlist – report
The second, third and fourth names cited by the Express are Christian Eriksen, Antony and Anthony Martial. Eriksen and Antony were both signed by Ten Hag in the 2022 summer window.
Eriksen looks increasingly incapable of playing in the double pivot role and adequately shielding the back four. Per the report, the Dane’s declining athleticism and stamina are cause for concern.
Eriksen has completed the full 90 minutes in just four of his eight starts this season. With Bruno Fernandes the usual option for the No 10 role, that position is unlikely to offer Eriksen any respite.
The Express conclude ‘Ten Hag needs to replace Eriksen next summer with a younger option capable of starting at least 30 Premier League games a season.’
Antony, meanwhile, is yet to score or provide an assist in nine appearances this season.
The Express declare the £86m move to have been a failure thus far and also call into question the Brazilian’s decision-making in the final third.
The report also highlights the fact Antony was benched against Man City and it was Alejandro Garnacho who was called upon from the bench before Antony in the second half.
Martial rounds out the list and the Frenchman has been linked with leaving Man Utd for many a year. The latest from journalist Rudi Galetti claims a Premier League rival have lodged an enquiry into Martial’s potential signing.
Martial’s current contract expires in the summer, though there’s a club option for an extra year.
But while Martial’s impact has been minimal in recent times, TEAMtalk has been told he’s not likely to be sold in January.
Man Utd don’t intend to sign a new striker in the winter window and Martial – who serves as chief back-up to Rasmus Hojlund – is required for depth.
The story may be different at season’s end and if United don’t activate the option, he’ll be a free agent anyway.