Louis van Gaal looks set to wield the Old Trafford axe on the final day of the transfer window, with a host of players reportedly on the brink of leaving Manchester United.
The Dutch manager has already made his mark at his new club during the offseason, with big money spent to sign Ander Herrera, Luke Shaw, Marcos Rojo and Angel Di Maria; the signing of Daley Blind also looks set to be completed before the window shuts, per Mark Ogden of The Telegraph.
But for some of the club’s fringe players, the recent influx of incoming talent is bad news. And of all the players linked with transfers away from the Red Devils, the three most high-profile names that look poised to move on are Javier Hernandez, Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck.
Ogden thinks all three players could leave Old Trafford before the deadline:
Hernandez likely to be next one out, to Real. Cleverley more likely to go than Welbeck, but both or neither could yet leave...— Mark Ogden (@MOgdenTelegraph) August 31, 2014
The former of that trio looks set to complete a remarkable loan move to Real Madrid. It’s a deal that represents a fascinating opportunity for the player, and Spanish football expert Guillem Balague expects Chicharito to join up with the European champions before the transfer deadline passes:
Real Madrid and Manchester United have agreed a loan deal for Chicharito. Only wages to be agreed.— Guillem Balague (@GuillemBalague) August 31, 2014
The Mexican forward has struggled to nail down a starting place in this United team since his wonderful first season, and although Madrid currently boast an arsenal of stellar attacking firepower, Karim Benzema is their only current orthodox striker option.
While Hernandez is a limited player, he’s a striker who’s showcased on myriad occasions that he is capable of emerging from the bench and snaffling vital goals. You suspect that’ll be his primary role at Madrid, as they’ll look to utilise his forensic predatory instincts late on in games against tired opponents.
But with Chicharito set to depart, rumours regarding the potential departure of Danny Welbeck are a little puzzling. The England forward has been targeted by Tottenham and Sunderland, according to Simon Jones of the Mail Online, with Van Gaal seemingly happy to let him leave.
Even with Radamel Falcao set to come in—he's reportedly close to joining the club on a loan deal, per Simon Stone of BBC Sport—if Welbeck was to follow Hernandez out of the Old Trafford exit door, United would be left with three strikers for a two-striker system, two of which are particularly injury prone.
Should United keep hold of Welbeck?
Welbeck would be a fine option for United as the club’s fourth-choice centre-forward, and he’s a versatile player who’s capable of operating in various positions too. For United to let him leave, especially on loan to a rival like Spurs, would be a little peculiar.
One man who is undoubtedly in need of a fresh start is Cleverley, though. Despite featuring in United’s early season contests, he’s a player who looks gripped with fear whenever he dons the Red Devils shirt, and his performances have been subsequently poor.
Having already strengthened the midfield with the acquisitions of Herrera and Di Maria, chances for the Englishman will be at a premium. But if he was to move to a club where the pressure is not quite as suffocating and he was afforded the time and patience to make an impact, perhaps he could rediscover some of the early promise that he showed under Sir Alex Ferguson and Roberto Martinez during his loan spell at Wigan.
Aston Villa are reportedly ready to splash out £8 million for Cleverley’s signature, but his wage demands are threatening to scupper the deal, per John Percy of The Telegraph.
For the 25-year-old midfielder, getting a move away from Old Trafford and finding time on the pitch is absolutely vital; he’d be especially misguided to put that in jeopardy by demanding an excessive salary.
A figure of ridicule on social media and regularly something of an unfair scapegoat for deplorable United performances, Cleverley would have a wonderful opportunity to re-establish himself at a big club like Villa. He must ensure he does everything possible to expedite that move.