Manchester United are reported to be planning a summer overhaul of their squad starting with the sales of two of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s purchases during his time at the club: Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
Solskjaer spent big during his time as manager of the Red Devils. Transfer records were broken for different players under the Norwegian’s reign, however, most of his recruits have failed to make any big impacts.
As Manchester United look to take back their spot at the top of English football, the club is now looking to sell off players who were given prominence under Solskjaer.
One of those players is Harry Maguire, who joined the Red Devils in 2019 from Leicester City for £80 million to become the world’s most expensive centre back.
He has failed to deliver on that price tag and has struggled with a lot of formations and tactics which Manchester United have deployed since he joined them in 2019.
Before Solskjaer left Old Trafford, he helped Manchester United secure the signing of Raphael Varane from Real Madrid with hopes of helping Maguire’s performance get better.
However, the partnership has only highlighted Maguire’s inadequacies, leaving Raphael Varane to shoulder a lot of the defensive burden.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka is the other player Manchester United will be looking to offload in the summer. The right-back was signed from Crystal Palace on Solskjaer’s behest for £50 million in 2019 to become the world’s most expensive right back at the time.
Unlike Maguire, however, he has put in great shifts on occasion and has even been responsible for a lot of Manchester United’s better defensive performances under Solskjaer.
His speed and agility help Manchester United defensively, as it is almost impossible to beat the young Englishman in a one-on-one battle.
However, he is often caught out of position and has to make a lot of recovery runs which sometimes put the defence at risk. He is also not an asset to have in attack as he is very blunt going forward.
In 2020, Graeme Souness said of Wan-Bissaka to the Times: “Should he not be the complete package as a right back at that price?
“He’s good defensively and one on one, but it’s the other end of the game, which is so important for a full-back now, that he’s not so good at, namely getting into the last third and delivering the right ball.”
Manchester United hero Paul Parker has thrown his weight behind the decision to let go of Solskjaer’s buys as well as a few other players from the club in order to help Manchester United regain their past glory.
Parker, via Express Sport, suggested that his former club would be unwise to keep Maguire beyond this season as they have two capable defenders waiting to assume more responsibility.
“If United, in my opinion, were to get somewhere near to their money back on Harry Maguire, I think they’ll have to think about it,” he said.
“I think [Victor] Lindelof and [Raphael] Varane, you know, they could build something on there maybe, in a mode of what they’re looking for and where the club wants to be.
“You’re talking about players who are definitely more agile, a little bit quicker, better defenders in one against one situations and I think you have to look at it that way.
“I don’t know if it’s going to happen. Me, personally, for United to go forward, that’s the starting area.
“But again the same old scenario – you don’t want the manager coming in and all of a sudden, he comes in, he wants to do stuff and then he stops, the people above stop him from doing what he wants to do and then United go through the same stories.”
At the turn of 2022, rumours emerged from Old Trafford that interim boss Ralf Rangnick had expressed concerns over Maguire’s ability to lead the defence of a big club like Manchester United.
Those rumours were quickly dispersed, however, but the concerns among fans and some members of the club’s hierarchy still remain over the English centre-back’s abilities.
He has reportedly rejected a new deal at the Signal Iduna Park and is only waiting to run out the last 12 months of his current contract.
United also continue to be linked to Chelsea’s Antonio Rudiger who is giving the Blues a headache over his contract situation. The Red Devils will have to battle with Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain over the 28-year old German if he does not renew at Stamford Bridge before summer.
Wan-Bissaka, on the other hand, is likely to be replaced by Southampton defender Tino Livramento. Calciomercato reports that the Chelsea academy graduate is attracting a lot of interest from the club and his attributes in the final third could be ideal in the United system.