Manchester United finished fourth in the Premier League table last season and clinched a Champions League place in Louis van Gaal’s first campaign in charge.
It was not a surprise considering the Dutchman’s experience in the game.
Van Gaal’s first summer in charge saw 14 players exit the club on either a temporarily or permanent basis.
Next season the Red Devils will be aiming for the Premier League title, which they are odds of 5/1 to win. It seems the veteran Dutch boss is aiming to upgrade his squad this summer once again.
That clear-out has already started with Tom Cleverley moving to Everton on a free transfer and a host of other players joining him on the released list.
The next player heading towards the United exit door looks set to be mercurial Portuguese winger Nani, who is in Turkey having a medical at Turkish giants Fenerbahce. The move will be worth just £4.25million to the Red Devils.
Much was expected of Nani at Old Trafford, but he frustrated the United fans as much as he excited them. If you look up the word ‘enigma’ in the dictionary there probably should be a picture of the 28-year-old winger.
Superbly skilful with a touch of arrogance Nani should have been a great player, but his attitude and inconsistency has cost him. He has had a good career so far, but he could quite easily have had a great career.
He was considered surplus to requirements at Old Trafford by Van Gaal and sent out on a season-long loan spell to the club were it all began, Sporting Lisbon. The loan spell was a success as he scored 12 goals and also collected eight assists in his time back in his homeland.
Nani’s permanent exit was expected this summer and it is being reported by that Dutch striker Robin van Persie could follow him to the Turkish capital. The Guardian even reported yesterday that the former-Arsenal star has already agreed terms on a four-year-deal with the Turkish club.
His agent Kees Vos is believed to be in the Turkish capital discussing the deal, with United set to receive about £5million from the sale of the 31-year-old. Reports this morning suggest that Van Persie will demand a massive pay-off of around £12million to leave Old Trafford, which is the wages he would receive in the last year of his contract with the Red Devils.
Van Persie’s stock has dropped dramatically in the last few seasons. The Dutch international inspired the Red Devils to the Premier League title just over two years ago, but has struggled to recapture the form of his debut campaign.
Last season he made 27 appearances for the Red Devils in the Premier League scoring ten goals, but was dropped by Van Gaal towards the end of the campaign. As soon as he was dropped the speculation about the strikers future at United began.
It seems he is no longer needed or wanted at Old Trafford and a move away could be his only chance of first team football next season. Some bookmakers have even stopped taking bets on the striker moving on this summer.
Another United first teamer being linked with the United exit door is Northern Ireland centre-back Jonny Evans. The 27-year-old made just 12 starts for the Red Devils in the top-flight last season and missed eight games through suspension after a spitting incident involving Newcastle’s Papiss Cisse.
Evans is currently behind Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Marcos Rojo in the pecking order of United centre-backs. The United academy product has been heavily linked with a move to North West rivals Everton
He has even been mooted as a potential makeweight in a swap deal for Toffees right-back Seamus Coleman. That may just be paper talk, but it seems that Evans could also be heading for the exit door this summer.
Dutch forward Memphis Depay is United’s only summer signing so far, but Louis van Gaal sanctioning exits means that he is making room in his squad for new arrivals. It would be a major surprise if United do not have a plethora of new signings on parade come the start of the campaign.
Should Manchester United sell Robin van Persie this summer?