As a torrid Manchester United season nears its eagerly anticipated conclusion, the book will close on a number of legendary Manchester United careers. However, it will also signal the departure of some of the Old Trafford’s least effective squad members. Here are the top five Manchester United players who should leave and never return to the Manchester giants.
1. Tom Cleverley
Even being a fully fledged England international and an academy graduate, the most ardent Manchester United supporter would find it difficult to back up anything about Tom Cleverley. After successful loan spells at Championship clubs such as Leicester, Watford (where he won Player of the Year) and Wigan Athletic, many fans expected Cleverley to improve further and become a regular contributor to the United midfield.
However, Cleverley’s play has been anything but ordinary at best. His game resembles that of a person playing 5-a-side with his friends with the majority of his passes going sideways or backwards rather than that telling through ball. This has not gone unnoticed by the United faithful who have made him a scapegoat for the horrendous season that the team has had this year. The next move for Cleverley is to exit Old Trafford as soon as possible, with many United fans hoping the door hits him on the way out.
2. Antonio Valencia
Antonio Valencia arrived in Manchester from Wigan Atheltic in the summer of 2009 for a fee believed to be around £16 million.He was seen as a replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo who had just departed to Real Madrid for a world record fee of £80 million. Even though Valencia didn’t provide as many goals as Ronaldo did the previous season, he did enjoy a very productive first year at Old Trafford finishing the season with 7 goals and 13 assists.
Valencia’s best season without question was the 2011/12 campaign in which he earned the club and players’ player of the year awards. However, Valencia’s productivity has dwindled in the last few seasons and he often frustrates by constantly hitting the first man when attempting crosses. His lack of a left foot and his schoolboy knock-it-forward style of dribbling has made him predictable to opposing players. Often Valencia has been deployed at right back due to his work rate, however this is not what he was bought for. A challenge at another club may bring Valencia back to the form seen back in 2011/12.
A footballer or a young Micheal Jackson lookalike? With the way Nani has played for Manchester United since his arrival in the summer of 2007 you would think a change in profession should be considered. A player who has bags of potential, Nani arrived at Old Trafford with little known about him.
When the Portuguese leaves the Red Devils, more than likely this summer, he will be known for his lack of consistency and waste of talent. Undoubtedly living under the shadow of his international compatriot Cristiano Ronaldo during his his time at the Theatre of Dreams, Nani had the opportunity to come out from under that shadow in 2009. However, he decided to stay where he was and it seems that the bright lights of the Old Trafford stadium were too much for him. One thing United fans will miss about him is his acrobatic goal celebration, even though they didn’t get to see it that much.
4. Ashley Young
Unsurprisingly, the fourth member of this unwanted group is another midfielder. This is an indication of the lack of quality that exists in the most important and creative part of the current Manchester United squad.
In Ashley Young’s three seasons at United he has managed to rack up an astonishing 86 appearances and 11 goals during that time. £18 million well spent Mr. Ferguson!
Apart from a few belters against the likes of Arsenal and Tottenham in his first season and plenty of theatrical dives, Young will be remembered for very little.
He has spent more time injured than on the pitch and has lost his place in the England setup since his time at Old Trafford. Young no doubt was a fine player at Aston Villa but sometimes players just cannot make the transition from a mid-table team to a team challenging for silverware on a yearly basis. Eh, bar this year of course…
Continuing on with the theme of midfield greatness, we come to our final entry in the list of players that should be exiled from Old Trafford. Anderson, believed to be worth his weight in gold when arriving in the summer of 2007,was inevitably never able to repay the money spent on acquiring his services from Porto.
The city of Manchester actually made a profit from Anderson’s arrival, as he spent the majority of his Manchester United wages in the local takeaways feeding his insatiable appetite for fast food. He will be best remembered for driving the local economy forward in Manchester rather than the United midfield.
United will look to cut the “fat” this summer and Anderson will no doubt be on the chopping board.
Conor O’Reilly, Pundit Arena.
Do you agree with our selections? Is there anyone that we forgot? Comment below.