Mon. Sep 28th, 2020

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Fred and Jesse Lingard’s Manchester United futures at risk with Donny van de Beek arrival

8 min read

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may have brought Champions League football back to Manchester United last season, but the Norwegian is still working to build a squad capable of competing for honours.

Semi-final defeats in the Europa League and FA Cup at the back end of the previous campaign showed United have weaknesses to address to challenge the top order again. 

On first glance midfield did not appear to be the area of concern for Solskjaer but, nonetheless, United are now closing in on the £40million capture of Ajax’s Donny van de Beek.  

Donny van de Beek is closing in on sealing a £40million switch to join Manchester United

Donny van de Beek is closing in on sealing a £40million switch to join Manchester United

Donny van de Beek is closing in on sealing a £40million switch to join Manchester United

The club also have interest in Dayot Upamecano as they eye a partner for Harry Maguire

The club also have interest in Dayot Upamecano as they eye a partner for Harry Maguire

The club also have interest in Dayot Upamecano as they eye a partner for Harry Maguire

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is continuing to overhaul his side having finished third in 2019-20

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is continuing to overhaul his side having finished third in 2019-20

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is continuing to overhaul his side having finished third in 2019-20

It is an area United are well stocked in with Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes near certain starters and so Van de Beek’s arrival spells bad news for other midfielders in the squad. 

Interest in RB Leipzig’s star defender Dayot Upamecano would be another piece of Solskjaer’s puzzle if he can prise the 21-year-old away from the Champions League semi-finalists this summer. 

With both those deals in mind, as well as the return from loan of goalkeeper Dean Henderson, Sportsmail looks at the players who could be made surplus to requirements heading into a new campaign. 

FRED

Age: 27 Interest from: Galatasaray

In an already congested midfield, Van de Beek’s arrival will spell bad news for a number of players, and it appears Fred could be among them. 

Pogba and Fernandes look safe bets to be regulars in the side, as does Van de Beek, with Nemanja Matic, Fred and Scott McTominay expected to be options for a deeper role screening the defenders. 

Fred, who joined United from Shakhtar Donetsk in a £52m deal in 2018, improved immensely in his second season and became an ever-present with 48 appearances in 2019-20, 39 of which came from the start. 

Fred made 48 appearances for Manchester United last season, getting regular game time

Fred made 48 appearances for Manchester United last season, getting regular game time

Fred made 48 appearances for Manchester United last season, getting regular game time

But in the Premier League, Fred worryingly featured in 29 games yet failed to register a single goal or assist. In a bid to lighten the goalscoring load on his front line, Solskjaer knows he can ill-afford to have a midfielder offering so little output offensively. 

Fred is reportedly happy in Manchester, despite the impending switch of Van de Beek putting his future role under scrutiny, and so it remains unclear how keen he will be if Galatasaray solidify their interest. 

According to Turkish outlet Fotomac, Galatasaray are monitoring his situation and are interested in acquiring the Brazilian on a loan with an option-to-buy. 

He is under contract at Old Trafford until 2023 and does have value defensively having been the squad leader last season in passing accuracy (87.5 per cent) and interceptions per 90 minutes. 

Fred’s improvement was a step in the right direction but with a need for greater goalscoring threats all over the park, Van de Beek, four years Fred’s junior, could push the Brazilian down the pecking order, or even out the door.  

But in the Premier League he failed to produce a single goal or assist across the entire season

But in the Premier League he failed to produce a single goal or assist across the entire season

But in the Premier League he failed to produce a single goal or assist across the entire season

JESSE LINGARD

Age: 27 Interest from: West Ham, Everton

There is no disputing that in big moments Jesse Lingard has delivered for Manchester United. But, of late, the 27-year-old has found life tough at Old Trafford balancing issues off the field with such a reduced role in this ever-changing side on it. 

Lingard has been at the club since the age of seven, held his nerve about getting his big break and has gone on to make more than 200 appearances for United. 

Twenty starts across all competitions and 20 appearances from the bench showed the bit-part role he played.

He managed one Premier League goal from 22 appearances last season, adding zero assists. In 22 games he managed to create one ‘big chance’ as per the Opta metric.  

His contract is up next summer and the England international could be moved on in the wake of the Van de Beek move to prevent him walking away for nothing in 12 months’ time.  

Jesse Lingard endured a difficult 2019-20 and Van de Beek's arrival could further limit his time

Jesse Lingard endured a difficult 2019-20 and Van de Beek's arrival could further limit his time

Jesse Lingard endured a difficult 2019-20 and Van de Beek’s arrival could further limit his time

ANDREAS PEREIRA

Age: 24 Interest from: Valencia

One of the biggest losers from the Van de Beek deal does appear to be Brazilian midfielder Andreas Pereira. 

At 24 he is still developing. But with competition so intense for those midfield spots at United right now, developing doesn’t quite cut it. 

Given Van de Beek is a year younger and already proven in the Champions League and Pereira was in and out of the side in 2019-20, things look set to only get more peripheral if he does not depart this summer. 

Pereira joined the club in 2011 at the age of 15 full of promise and expectation.  

Andreas Pereira was once seen as a future star but he has struggled to kick on in the first team

Andreas Pereira was once seen as a future star but he has struggled to kick on in the first team

Andreas Pereira was once seen as a future star but he has struggled to kick on in the first team

He was given opportunities to seize a starting role last season by Solskjaer, winning 2,327 minutes of action. 

He played a key role in the first half of last season but faded and dropped out of contention following the January arrival of Bruno Fernandes. Things are only likely to become even more difficult when Van de Beek is confirmed.   

From the games he did feature, he managed just two goals and four assists, a disappointing return that could prove costly.

He signed a new deal last summer running through to 2023 but with Valencia, where he spent time on loan in 2018-19, and Benfica reportedly monitoring his situation, a desire for first team football could see both player and club eye a move away. 

CHRIS SMALLING

Age: 30 Interest from: Roma

When Chris Smalling left Old Trafford for a new challenge in Italy with Roma, there were plenty doubting it would have a happy ending.

But the Englishman was a major success in the Italian capital and having seen his stock fall before his loan, Smalling is now a player in demand again, with Roma desperately keen to strike a permanent deal. 

A deal was not struck before the end of last season and so Smalling has since returned to Carrington and will undergo testing and training at United until Roma find a breakthrough in negotiations. 

Solskjaer has attempted to keep his poker face, insisting Smalling’s loan was exactly that and that he does have a future in a United shirt. But with Maguire, Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly ahead of him, plus any new arrivals, a move seems fit for all parties.  

Chris Smalling reinvented his game on loan at Roma and the Italian side want to acquire him

Chris Smalling reinvented his game on loan at Roma and the Italian side want to acquire him

Chris Smalling reinvented his game on loan at Roma and the Italian side want to acquire him

The 30-year-old made an impact during a season-long loan at the Italian club last campaign

The 30-year-old made an impact during a season-long loan at the Italian club last campaign

The 30-year-old made an impact during a season-long loan at the Italian club last campaign

‘This season was about him being a regular, going to Roma, showing and proving how good a centre back he is,’ Solskjaer said recently. 

‘I wanted to give Harry (Maguire), Vic (Victor Lindelof), maybe Axel (Tuanzebe) a chance, so we found out that was the best for him to go to Roma, play for a year.

‘Now he’s coming back and Chris has shown this season that he will be valuable. I’ve been speaking to Chris throughout and been delighted with his season.’

In comparison to Maguire, Lindelof and summer target Upamecano, Smalling made more clearances per 90 minutes (4.2) and had the best passing accuracy at 90.5 per cent. 

He also chipped in with three goals in Serie A for the Roman side, more than the other three players combined in their domestic league campaigns.  

PHIL JONES

Age: 28

When Phil Jones joined United from Blackburn in 2011, Sir Alex Ferguson had great expectations that he could be the bedrock of the defence for years to come. 

While he has made more than 200 appearances for the club, his role has continued to get more and more peripheral.

In 2019-20 he made eight appearances for United, notching up 562 minutes.  

Phil Jones (left) has fallen down the pecking order and could leave if United get Upamecano

Phil Jones (left) has fallen down the pecking order and could leave if United get Upamecano

Phil Jones (left) has fallen down the pecking order and could leave if United get Upamecano

The issue for United and for Jones would be finding a landing spot. He already finds himself as the fifth or sixth centre back option at the club and that will only get even worse if a new defender arrives. 

Injuries are continuing to be an issue for Jones – he did not travel to Germany for the conclusion of the Europa League due to a groin issue – and he will need to prove his fitness to convince suitors a move makes sense on their part.

Under contract until 2023, with an option of a further year, moving on Jones could prove too tough an assignment before the October deadline. 

MARCOS ROJO

Age: 30 Interest from: Estudiantes

United’s pursuit of another central defender only confirms what many already knew to be true – Marcos Rojo has no future in a Manchester United shirt. 

The tough-tackling Argentine joined in 2014 on a five-year deal from Sporting Lisbon but has slowly but surely fallen out of first team contention. He made nine appearances in 2019-20 before being shipped back home to Estudiantes on loan. 

His current deal runs through to next summer, with an option of an extra year, but despite struggles with form and fitness on loan at Estudiantes, Rojo is keen to go back, well aware he is a great distance from restoring himself into the United side.  

Rojo’s agent Jonathan Barnett accepted an exit was likely, even if United fall short in the pursuit of Upamecano, with the player outlining his hopes to go back to Argentina.

‘My idea is also to try to stay at Estudiantes. I played a game, got injured and all of this happened,’ he told infobae. ‘That is why I will see in September if the loan can be extended and continue for a few more months.’

Marcos Rojo looks to have no future at the club having spent last season on loan at Estudiantes

SERGIO ROMERO 

Age: 33 Interest from: Everton, Aston Villa, Leeds

In most circumstances Sergio Romero would be a Premier League team’s undisputed No 1. Unfortunately for him, the cards just don’t seem to have fallen for him at Manchester United. 

Romero, who has made 61 appearances and kept 39 clean sheets for United, has been cover for David de Gea since joining in 2015 but was overlooked for the semi-finals of the FA Cup and Europa League this season and is open to a move in search of regular football.

Henderson’s return from loan at Sheffield United further reduces the likelihood of more minutes with the 23-year-old expected to push De Gea for the No 1 jersey. 

Everton and Leeds have been credited with an interest, while Sportsmail reported that he could be used in a potential deal for Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish. 

He remains Argentina’s No 1 and so will not be difficult to shift if he is let go this summer. Romero’s current deal at Old Trafford expires next summer.  

The return of Dean Henderson could see Sergio Romero leave the club to earn a No 1 role

The return of Dean Henderson could see Sergio Romero leave the club to earn a No 1 role

The return of Dean Henderson could see Sergio Romero leave the club to earn a No 1 role

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