Football Features

Keep, sell or loan? The Man Utd players who could be replaced

By Ben Green

Keep, sell or loan? The Man Utd players who could be replaced copy

Published: 16:36, 27 June 2023

Erik ten Hag has a huge summer on his hands as he attempts to turn Manchester United into genuine title contenders.

His maiden campaign was a success as The Red Devils finished a respectable third in the Premier League and gained access back into the Champions League. But, he will want to build on that early progress and create a dynasty at Old Trafford that has them consistently competing for silverware.

Amid the backdrop of a takeover saga involving Qatari banker Sheikh Jassim and Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Ten Hag must cancel out the noise and focus on preparing his squad for a 2023/24 season that will welcome back Tuesday/Wednesday football to Sir Matt Busby Way.

A few players have already left in Phil Jones, Axel Tuanzebe and Zidane Iqbal, but there is a growing suggestion that more will follow, and Man Utd could have something of a fire sale this summer, clearing out deadwood and freeing up wages for potential incomings.

We’ve taken a look at several of the candidates whom Man Utd could look to sell this transfer window as Ten Hag prepares to overhaul his squad. There are reports that up to 13 stars are for sale — and we’ve tried to identify whether the club should keep, sell or loan them…

Harry Maguire

Harry Maguire is football’s most expensive defender, ever, and having only just turned 30, he should be in the peak years of his career. He is also England’s starting centre-back and Man Utd’s captain. On paper, it seems almost bonkers that this is a player whose future is up for debate. However, he is very much on the periphery at the club and seemingly unfancied by Ten Hag, who afforded him just eight Premier League starts last term.

The Dutchman even preferred left-back Luke Shaw in the middle over Maguire on many occasions, making him, effectively, the fifth choice centre-half, behind Lisandro Martinez, Raphael Varane, Victor Lindelof and Shaw. If Man Utd can recoup even a fraction of the £80m they spent on him in 2019 and get a seismic wage package off the books, then they should. Maguire will also need consistent minutes ahead of Euro 2024 next summer.

Verdict: Sell

Harry Maguire transfer specials: To sign for before 3rd September 2023  Sky Bet
To stay at Man Utd 6/4
Tottenham 11/4
Aston Villa 10/3
Everton 6/1
Newcastle 9/1
West Ham 10/1
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Anthony Martial

That goal against Liverpool now seems an age away, but it served to highlight the potential of Anthony Martial when he first broke onto the scene. His career trajectory hasn’t exactly fired him to the Ballon d’Or-challenging heights that many were expecting, but he’s been a solid servant for Man Utd over the years, albeit an inconsistent one. Last term, he once again blew hot and cold as he battled a few injury problems, but when fit, Ten Hag seemed to turn to him, whether from the off or from the bench.

His contract expires next summer, but the club do have an option to extend his deal by a further 12 months, so there is no desperation to sell in that regard. He is only 27, as well, meaning he could yet come good under Ten Hag as a consistent goal-getter, but his track record doesn’t exactly scream 20-goals-a-season. Man Utd may, therefore, feel it’s in their interests to try and source out potential buyers and generate funds for a new direction up top.

Verdict: Sell


Another player who featured a fair amount, but was only afforded just a few starts. Fred made Ten Hag’s Premier League XI on just 12 occasions, making another 23 from the bench, which more or less sums up his value in this current squad. He is a rotational option, but a pretty good one at that. The Brazilian is now 30 and has just 12 months left on his current deal, so if the club can get something resembling circa £20m for him this summer, then they should probably sanction that, rather than losing him for nothing next June.

Verdict: Sell

Scott McTominay

Scott McTominay, likewise, featured in over 20 Premier League games, but only 10 of those were from the off. Still, his contract doesn’t run out until 2025 (with the option of a further year) and he’s still only 26. He is also a homegrown star and versatile enough to play anywhere in midfield or even at the back. Fans also love his uncompromising style of play and lion-hearted determination. If a club comes knocking with a bid over £30m, then it may be worth considering. Otherwise, it probably doesn’t hurt keeping McTominay around as a strong rotational option — if the player is also happy with that role.

Verdict: Keep

Scott McTominay transfer specials: To sign for before 3rd September 2023  Sky Bet
Newcastle 7/4
Everton 6/1
West Ham 7/1
Nottingham Forest 18/1
Crystal Palace 25/1
Leicester City 33/1
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Jadon Sancho

He was suppose to transform Man Utd’s attack, but really he has flattered to deceive. The England international has looked a shadow of the player who made the Bundesliga his playground and formed one of the deadliest right flanks in world football with Achraf Hakimi. But, he is still only 23, and Man Utd fans are probably desperate not to see another expensive signing flop.

This will certainly be contingent upon whether any club out there is willing to offer a substantial sum for Sancho and match his wage demands, which is unlikely. A loan move doesn’t seem beneficial either, so it may be a case of Ten Hag just sticking by him and trying to provide a platform and system whereby the former Borussia Dortmund winger can tap into his Ruhr Valley form.

Verdict: Keep

Brandon Williams

The academy graduate missed the start of the season through injury after a spell the campaign prior on loan at Norwich. Upon his return, he failed to muscle his way into Ten Hag’s thinking and featured just once in the League Cup as a late substitute against Burnley. It’s very unlikely that the soon-to-be 23-year-old Mancunian will be at the front and centre of Ten Hag’s plans for next season, so this may be an apt moment for the two to part ways, and for Williams to forge a career for himself away from Old Trafford.

Verdict: Sell

Donny van de Beek

Donny van de Beek suffered a season-ending knee injury at the start of the year, but even prior to that, he was struggling to nudge his way into Ten Hag’s first-team thoughts. Unfortunately, it just hasn’t really worked out for the Dutchman at Old Trafford. He hasn’t looked at ease with the aggressive nature of the Premier League and struggled to consistently threaten. As a No. 10 he is never going to displace Bruno Fernandes, and he may even take some time to get back to top form following a protracted spell on the sidelines. It may be best for both if an amicable divorce happens this summer.

Verdict: Sell

Dean Henderson

This one is a bit up in the air at the minute. There is still no certainty as to whether David de Gea will be at the club next season or not, and talks with Inter ‘keeper Andre Onana have reportedly taken place recently. According to The Athletic, Man Utd are considering just making Dean Henderson their No. 1 next term, presumably if De Gea leaves on June 30 and Onana proves to expensive/a deal falls through. Either way, it is certainly worth keeping him around for the meantime.

Verdict: Keep

Anthony Elanga

The Sweden international had a breakthrough 2021/22 and many were backing him to continue his progression under Ten Hag. In the end, though he started just five Premier League games and didn’t manage to score, registering just the single assist. He remains a talented prospect, even at 21, and has a deal that could potentially expire in 2027, so Man Utd should probably loan him out to a top-tier club (one in Europe’s top five leagues) and see if he can really kick on, returning a more refined, elite-level star.

Verdict: Loan

Eric Bailly

Injuries have blighted Eric Bailly’s career. It’s frightening to think just how good he could have been were it not for one too many trips to the treatment table. He ended up spending last season on loan at Marseille, but made just five Ligue 1 starts. With his contract due to expire next year, Man Utd should probably look to offload him this summer, if there are any takers.

Verdict: Sell

Alex Telles

Alex Telles jostled with Marcos Acuna for a starting No. 3 berth at Sevilla during his loan spell in 2022/23, and as such, made just 15 La Liga starts. Although a very talented attacking full-back, Ten Hag will know that if his side are going to be competing with Man City and a potentially rejuvenated Liverpool next term, he needs superstars. Telles doesn’t appear to fit the brief. His contract is also out next summer, so if the club want to raise a bit of capital, he could be one to sell.

Verdict: Sell