Manchester United will reportedly cash in on both Memphis Depay and Morgan Schneiderlin after disappointing first seasons with the football club.
That’s according to Mike McGrath of the Sun on Sunday, who states that the club will listen to offers for the “flops,” as well as the likes of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo. Manager Louis van Gaal is also noted to have an uncertain future at the club, with the spectre of Jose Mourinho looming.
“Depay, 22, was billed as the man to inject excitement into United’s attack but flopped big time with his free-kicks ridiculed,” continues the piece. “Van Gaal has been urged to ‘attack, attack, attack’ by fans this season and failing to get Depay to fire will be seen as an embarrassment.”
It’s certainly not been the debut term many expected from the Dutch international. With Depay having fired PSV Eindhoven to the league title in 2014-15, there was a lot of excitement about the talented winger when it was confirmed he was heading to Old Trafford. But aside from the occasional blaze of flair, he’s yet to show his best.
This post on Twitter from BBC Sport's Phil McNulty sums up well what’s gone wrong for Depay to this point:
Depay has a great chance to shoot but decides to produce a nonsensical piece of Fancy Dan stuff. Stretford End delivers its displeasure.— Phil McNulty (@philmcnulty) March 13, 2016
Here is a reminder of what the Oranje starlet can produce when he's in the groove, making his struggles all the more frustrating:
Like Depay, Schneiderlin was also a big-money signing for the Red Devils in the summer. Having shone for Southampton, his combative playing style seemed to be tailor-made for this United team and, with Bastian Schweinsteiger also recruited, United fans were excited about a refreshed midfield axis.
But he too has found himself in and out of this team for much of the campaign, with Van Gaal regularly alternating his midfield options. The end result has been inconsistency of performances from the team and the men in the engine room.
Still, as these statistics from OptaJoe illustrate emphatically, when the France international is in the side, typically United fare a lot better:
57% - Manchester United's win percentage with Morgan Schneiderlin starting (28% without). Protection.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 20, 2016
He would be the first to admit that for long spells of the season he’s not shown his best, though. For Saints, Schneiderin was an immense presence at the nucleus of the side, winning tackles, dominating in the air and sniffing out danger. As of yet we’ve not seen those standards regularly at Old Trafford.
Defenders Rojo and Jones also look as though they could be facing the chop. As McGrath notes, the pair have both been out injured for long spells of this season, meaning they’ve been unable to assist in shoring up a defence which has been pretty ropey.
Overall, the 2015-16 season has been underwhelming for United, and the squad certainly could do with some tweaks. Bleacher Report’s Sam Pilger thinks a higher standard of player is needed throughout the team:
If the Mata, Lingard & Rojo chances had fallen to a Muller or Lewandowski they would've scored. That's the difference. #MUFC not good enough— Sam Pilger (@sampilger) March 17, 2016
Should United consider selling Depay this summer?
Of the players aforementioned, Schneiderlin is the one United should worry about the least. After a season of acclimatisation at a new club we’ll surely see a much more influential and settled footballer in the red jersey next season. He’s proven he can cope in English football already and, with a sustained run of games, will be a key figure for the Red Devils.
Depay is a completely different case altogether. Of course he’ll be better positioned to perform in his second season, but the 22-year-old has been a long way off the standard needed for a club like Manchester United, particularly for an incumbent of the No. 7 jersey. If a big-money offer does come in, you suspect it’d be tempting to cash in.