By James Kinsella

Jose Mourinho took the reins at Old Trafford quickly after the end of last season and a substantial clear-out was expected from many onlookers.

As it happened Manchester United did not sell any first-team regulars with only a handful of players on the very fringes of the squad were let go.

So, who should have left in the summer?

Matteo Darmian

Matteo Darmian had a very promising start to his United career at the start of the 2015-16 season and looked like he would nail down his place as the Manchester club’s long-term right-back.

A couple of injuries and a dip in form meant even when fit the Italian was overlooked, with Antonio Valencia and Timothy Fosu-Mensah now seemingly preferred by the Portuguese coach.

Mourinho has started Valencia in every Premier League game with Darmian’s only appearance coming in the Europa League.

The former Torino defender is still a regular in Italy’s squad but this surely won’t continue if he is unable to break into the United first team on a more frequent basis.

Serie A clubs are being linked with a move for the defender and he will likely move in January, no doubt wishing he had made the transfer six months earlier.

Marouane Fellaini

Fellaini had, rather surprisingly, been integral to Jose Mourinho’s early season plans and started each of the first five Premier League games.

Following back-to-back defeats to Manchester City and Watford the Belgian was dropped to the bench for United’s impressive win against Leicester and draw with Stoke, in which the Red Devils played well but failed to take their chances.

The balance in United’s midfield has looked much better since Fellaini was omitted and surely he will struggle to be anything other than a late option as a substitute for the rest of the season.

His opportunity to be a late ‘big-man’ option may also be limited with Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcus Rashford providing height that was not there for large parts of last season.

Like Darmian, for Fellaini to stay in the plans for his national team he will need to seek regular football elsewhere.

Bastian Schweinsteiger

Schweinsteiger’s troubles in Manchester since Mourinho’s arrival have been well documented and it was somewhat of a surprise to see him still at the club when the transfer window closed.

The German is said to be happy in the area though and was reported to have turned down the chance to leave in order to stay and fight for his place in the team, the squad even.
Admirable though this attitude may be, it would seem like folly.

Mourinho has been clear in his stance that the midfield man is not in his plans and the club themselves have written off the player as an asset.

The Portuguese manager is stubborn and it is almost impossible to envisage Schweinsteiger convincing Mourinho to change his mind.

The German is now 32 and will inevitably regret spending six months (or more depending when he finally gives up the ghost and leaves) of his late career playing for the United reserves.


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