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Opinion Piece

Five players United should sell this summer

hi-res-454303911-nani-of-manchester-united-during-the-barlcays-premier_crop_northNow that Louis Van Gaal has finally been officially appointed as new Manchester United manager, the Dutchman can get to work on his squad ahead of next season and with less than four weeks until United open their Premier League campaign against Swansea, the former Holland manager is determined to hit the ground running.

In his first press conference as United manager, Van Gaal indicated that he wants to assess his players and that he’s determined to add a couple of signings to his current squad but the Dutchman is also likely to carry out the long overdue clearout United fans have been crying out for over the last couple of years.

Here’s five players who should leave United this summer.

Anderson

Lazy, overweight, injury prone and, mercifully, out of contract in 12 months. If there’s one positive about Anderson returning to United after a typically uninspiring loan spell with Fiorentina, where he managed a grand total of eight appearances in all competitions over five months, is that he can now be filed among the players who have less than a year left on their contracts.

The drum according to which the Brazilian could prove to be the answer to United’s travails in midfield has long gone silent once it became apparent that his performances in his first season at the club were the exception rather than the rule and the sooner Anderson is offloaded, the better for the club and the fans.

Anderson won’t be traveling to the USA for United’s pre-season tour, leading many to believe he might finally be ushered out of the door this summer but it’s going to be complicated to find a buyer who’s managed to play 90 minutes only 51 times in seven seasons at the club.

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Bebe

Fraud, lottery winner, proof that just about anyone has got a chance at playing for United. Whatever one’s take on Bebe, he’ll always be remembered as one of the most bizarre signings in the United’s history, one that will only be explained in Fergie’s next biography, perhaps, given that many a brown envelope must have been passed around.

Truth be told, Bebe did reasonably well during his two loan spells in Portugal at Rio Ave and, particularly, last season for Pacos de Ferreira, scoring a more than respectable 14 goals in 39 games in all competitions which look to have earned him a move to Benfica this summer.

Ironically though it might sound, Bebe has developed a sort of cult out of being blatantly not good enough to play for United and some claimed he should be given another chance. That would, of course, be sheer folly. He’s done well in Portugal and good luck to him, but he’s not Manchester United material.

Nani

Yes, he’s talented. Yes, he can occasionally turn a game on its head but he’s also petulant, inconsistent and, whisper it, nowhere as good as some seem to believe.

Unfortunately, courtesy of David Moyes’ superb decision-making, Nani is also set to be at Old Trafford for another four years, unless United can somehow lure a club – AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus have all shown interest – into taking the Portuguese off their hands.

Wingers capable of beating their man and delivering crosses are paramount to Louis Van Gaal’s football philosophy and there is, of course, the remote possibility that the new United manager might indeed be the fresh start Nani’s advocates claim he’s been desperate for over the last couple of seasons.

Nani’s talent was there for all to see during the 2010-11 season when he notched double digits in both goals and assists and was a pivotal figure as United clinched their 19th title, but the Portuguese has since failed to hit the same heights and there won’t be many tears shed if he was sold this summer.

Tom Cleverley

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The growing disappointment aimed at Cleverley is heightened by the fact he arrived at Old Trafford surrounded by genuine hope and expectations after impressive spells at Watford and Wigan.

A game changing cameo against Manchester City did nothing to curb the enthusiasm surrounding him but it proved to be the falsest of false dawns, as Cleverley went from big hope of United’s midfield to pantomime villain in the space of three seasons and looks unable to cope with the pressure of playing for such a big club.

The problem with the 24-year-old is that while not spectacularly bad a particular aspect of the game, he rarely excels at others. His passing is largely indifferent, his goal return almost non existent for a midfielder – five goals in 78 appearances for United pain a sorry picture – and the less said about his tackling the better.

Some have argued that Cleverley suffers from the lack of a world class midfielder alongside him, but in fact the opposite is true: had Cleverley had to contend with world class midfielders in training every day he would have either raised his game or, at the very least, he wouldn’t have found himself parachuted into the starting XI because of a lack of alternatives, rather than on merit.

Like Anderson, Cleverley is out of contract at the end of the season and, hopefully, will follow him out of the club.

Ashley Young

Throughout the 1990s, choosing the best United winger was a complicated task. These days, picking the worst is just as difficult, but Young is surely a strong candidate for the role.

Unlike Nani, Young at least occasionally looks to be interested in the cause, not as if commitment shouldn’t be the bare minimum for a professional footballer,  but that alone is not enough to justify Young’s theatrical diving antics, his shockingly poor performances and his astonishing £120,000-a-week wages.

Van Gaal loves a hardworking winger in his squad, but that role looks set to be occupied by Valencia and it’d be extremely surprising if Young was to play a major role this season but finding a club willing to take Young on their books could too difficult a task even for Van Gaal.

Dan