The sign of a great football club is one that never stands still, and changes could be afoot at Manchester United this summer.
Never one to rest on his laurels, Sir Alex Ferguson will already be planning his squad which looks set to be defending the Premier League title in the 2013-14 season.
He already has one new arrival in the bag, with the signing of Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha, while the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Asmir Begovic and Victor Wanyama have been strongly linked with moves to Old Trafford.
But there are also likely to be senior players heading through the exit door, deemed surplus to requirements for various reasons.
Here are five players who could be on their way out of Manchester United this summer:
The Brazilian is highly popular with the fans, an fondly known as the “midfield magician”, but his influence has diminished in the last few years. A series of injuries have stopped the 24-year-old from holding down a regular place in the side plus with his fitness usually preventing him from lasting 90 minutes, both player and manager may feel it is time for him to move on before his career begins to stagnate.
Signed at the same time as Anderson in 2007, Nani’s career at United has been full of highs and lows. After Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure he stepped up to the plate to become the Red Devils’ star man out wide, but his form has nosedived in the last two seasons. Out of contract next year, no new deal has been agreed and this is the last chance to secure a sizeable fee for his services.
- Anders Lindegaard
The Dane has lost the battle with David De Gea to become the first-choice goalkeeper and being highly ambitious, it is likely he will want to go somewhere he can be assured of regular football. Unlucky in that one dodgy display in the 4-3 win at Reading seemed to seal his fate, he is sometimes passed over for the substitute’s position in favour of Ben Amos these days and the expected arrival of Asmir Begovic this summer indicates Lindegaard may be leaving.
- Rio Ferdinand
United have five first-team central defenders, a fast-emerging youngster in Michael Keane and are being strongly linked with the likes of Ezequiel Garay from Benfica. Ferdinand has yet to extend his contract and while Sir Alex Ferguson has praised his form this season, it’s unusual that in late March nothing has been agreed. The 34-year-old may have decided he wants to bow out on a high after 11 years at Old Trafford by leaving with a 2012-13 Premier League winner’s medal.
- Paul Scholes
‘The Ginger Prince’ has retired once and looks set to do so again this summer with his influence over the course of this season having lessened as the campaign has developed. Unlike team-mate Ryan Giggs, who seems to be improving with age, Scholes appears to be feeling the pinch at the age of 38 and deserves an unforgettable send-off from the supporters at the last home game of the season against Swansea.