In Part 1, we considered which players might leave Old Trafford this summer, including on loan.
If the Everton collapse showed one thing, it was the urgent need to refresh the squad. Scholes looked jaded long before he was taken off; Evra and Rafael looked vulnerable. If United are to continue the extraordinary progress they are making during this transition, many changes will have to be made.
David Gill has already confirmed that this summer is likely to be one of the most active ever, as we predicted in Part 1.
In truth, Sir Alex's tactical genius, substitutes timing and ability to influence the shape and direction of a game all looked under pressure in that last 10 minutes on Sunday. Apart from the need to refresh the squad for the next five years, he needs to take the spotlight off himself, especially if City prevail...
As we indicated previously, several players are likely to leave this summer. The established players create flexibility to add new, top-quality signings.
Those that leave on loan, or don't have their contracts renewed, make room for players coming back from loan or prospects coming through from the Academy who have not yet featured in the first-team squad.
A key factor is when a player turns 18, because then United will have to consider what sort of contract to offer, if any. This is why Paul Pogba and Zeki Fryers have been targeted by the media. Sir Alex wants to sign both on long-term senior contracts, together with others such as Michael and William Keane whether or not they then go out on loan.
The alternative would be to see them snapped up by other clubs for derisory fees such as the estimated £200,000 that United might expect to receive for Pogba.
One final factor which we have touched on is the needs and demands of other clubs. Two or even possibly three clubs may get promotion to the Premier League that have not been there recently. They will need larger squads and sensibly will target loan deals until or unless they are established.
By the same token, other established clubs are rebuilding or extending their squads, and yet others expect to see players poached, such as Nathaniel Clyne, Victor Moses, Adel Taraabt, etc.
So as well as possible outlets for United loanees—or even other players such as Kuszcak and De Laet—there will inevitably be competition for United targets from Arsenal, Chelsea and City to name but three.
The purpose of this article is to consider the likely shape of United's squad going forward and the consequent challenges and opportunities these present, starting with squad size and shape.