While a great majority of the focus around Old Trafford will most likely be in regards to who’s coming into the club, the debate of who’s on their way out can often be just as enticing to watch.
In the first five months of the season, a manager tends to get to grips with his squad enough so that when it comes to this halfway point of the season, opinions can be formed on who may be surplus to requirements.
Sir Alex Ferguson is no different in this realm, and Manchester United could undoubtedly see a number of players leave Old Trafford this winter; it’s merely a question of whom.
The following five players have all made their case, be it a bad one or otherwise, as to why they should move on from the Red Devils either as part of a temporary or permanent deal.
Signed as somewhat of a surprise transfer, the way that Bébé’s career with Manchester United has panned out can almost be summarised by saying “I told you so.”
Purchased for a reported fee of €9 million just five weeks after signing for Vitória de Guimarães, it’s funny to think Sir Alex Ferguson decided to sign the player despite never seeing him play (via Daily Mail).
The same article explains that it was interest from other clubs that forced the Red Devils manager into action, but the last two years are perhaps evidence this is one transfer the club would have been better off losing.
Ferguson acknowledges that buying talent before properly scouting isn’t United’s usual format, and it’s just as well, otherwise the Glazer family would be losing a lot of money.
With the likes of Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck to compete with, the former Portuguese starlet’s chances of a first-team spot would appear slim.
Bébé was, at one point, being spoken of with quite a bit of respect and, if Ferguson’s side could make back a decent percentage of their initial investment, should be moved on in the New Year.
Playing for a club of Manchester United’s stature is a privilege that is to be undervalued by no man, least of all one still in his teens yet to make the break into the first team.
So, one would think that a person in Ryan Tunnicliffe’s position, progressing well through the club’s youth ranks, would be grateful for the rare opportunity that he had been given and one that so many would kill to be in.
Well, despite being just 19 years old at the time, it seems the Red Devils’ starlet just couldn’t wait to join the ranks of so many irresponsible footballers before him and got caught in a bit of a fender bender while driving under the influence of alcohol, as BBC News report.
By crashing his Range Rover, Tunnicliffe—who was almost twice the legal alcohol limit—shows just what’s wrong with some of these glamorous youths, especially in England it would appear.
Not that the event is anything to write a career off for, but Tunnicliffe might need to spend some time being farmed out once more, seeing as how the loan spell at Peterborough last year benefited him so much.
The 19-year-old will certainly need to work hard in earning back the trust once afforded to him by Manchester United and some figures within the club.
That said, some time away from Old Trafford, if not an indefinite period, may be the right route to go down.
Arriving at Old Trafford with the highest of hopes upon his shoulders, a number of magical moments have done nothing to damage the reputation of Federico Macheda.
The attached clip above shows the spectacular winner Macheda pulled off against Aston Villa in 2009, but it’s these types of contributions that have perhaps happened a little too far and few between.
Following some lacklustre spells on loan with Sampdoria and QPR, it’s uncertain as to how much say the young Italian will be having on first-team matters in the future.
Macheda may be only 21 years of age but has still only made 36 league appearances in his entire career, loans included.
It’s now been almost four years since that wonder winner was scored against the Villans, and while the Red Devils may be eternally grateful for the influence that had in bringing home the Premier League that season, one goal only gets you so far, no matter how good it was.
Unless Macheda is to see more involvement in the first team over the next six months, Manchester United may want to think about cutting the cord now, either with another loan or sale.
One of those players who certainly seems to be edging towards the Old Trafford exit would be Nani, the man once seen as the replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo.
Nani has a penchant for displaying absolute magic through his footwork at times but just doesn’t appear consistent enough to string this kind of performance together on a regular basis.
As reported by the Daily Mail, Nani came close to a summer switch to Zenit St. Petersburg, the move only being called off due to the winger’s wage demands in the end.
The Metro say that Manchester United are eyeing a Winter deal for Porto’s James Rodriguez as a replacement for the departing Nani, further fuelling speculation that the Red Devil may leave.
With Ashley Young, Antonio Valencia and others at the club, Nani may just be deemed surplus to requirements in the New Year, despite having some great highlights during his time at the club.
Disloyal allegiances are bad for team morale, and if the Portuguese international were ever to abandon ship, it’s best to get it out of the way sooner rather than later.
This time last year, Nick Powell was playing League Two football with Crewe Alexandra in a season where he would ultimately finish as his club's top scorer, earning promotion to League One in the process.
Twelve months on and the midfield playmaker finds himself in the slightly headier climates of the Premier League, plying his trade at Old Trafford.
However, the youngster is filing most of his time on the bench, and for Powell to flourish into the talent Red Devils hope he can be, first-team football is required.
After all, it would almost certainly be too much to ask of any 18-year-old to make a jump of three divisions to one of the country's finest teams and play as well as has previously been seen.
Instead, it may benefit the midfielder to spend some time at a Premier League side of slightly less stature where he is assured to rack up some minutes, January being the prime time to do so.