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5 players who need to leave Manchester United to progress

Anthony Martial
Anthony Martial
Shambhu Ajith
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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Manchester United project is showing a lot of promise but it's not for everyone.

Manchester United have steadily improved under the tutelage of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. They have shored up defensively and a lot of players are playing some of the best football they have in recent times. The Manchester United manager's interpersonal skills have gone a long way towards his success.

Solskjaer has also shown a lot of clarity when it comes to the personnel that he wants on his team. Though he rotates a fair bit thanks to the congested fixtures, some players have rarely been used. A lot of players he had no use for have been sold and some have been shipped out on loan.

Without further ado, let's take a look at five players who need to leave Manchester United to progress in their respective careers.


5 players who need to leave Manchester United to progress


#5 Brandon Williams

Brandon Williams
Brandon Williams

Brandon Williams enjoyed a steady run in the first-team during the 2019-20 season when Luke Shaw was injured. Williams' preferred position is at right-back but ever since Aaron Wan-Bissaka joined Manchester United, nobody else has been needed in that position.

Now that Luke Shaw has returned to form and Solskjaer has a great replacement in Alex Telles, Brandon Williams is hardly ever used. Williams started in 11 Premier League games and eight Europa League matches in the 2019-20 season. He also came off the bench six times in the league.

However, he has not started in any Premier League matches this season. In fact, he has only had three starts and they have been in the League Cup and FA Cup. Williams has a long way to go but he has the potential to make it at the highest level.

However, he won't be afforded that time and space at Manchester United simply because of where they are as a team. As such, the best option for the 20-year-old is to move elsewhere and start afresh.

#4 Eric Bailly

Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League
Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League

Eric Bailly is the most naturally gifted centre-back on Manchester United's books. It's a pity that Bailly has bones made of glass and that he spends more time in the infirmary than he does on the football pitch. Bailly had a good spell this season too but it was far too short-lived to linger in our memories for long.

Since joining Manchester United in 2016, the highest number of Premier League matches that Bailly has played in a single campaign is 25 and that was in his debut season. The second highest? 13 matches in the 2017-18 season. Bailly has started just seven games in the English top-flight this season.

Solskjaer seems to have settled on Lindelof and Maguire as his go-to centre-back pairing. So even when Bailly returns to full fitness, he will only be sparingly used. Bailly could become a great defender if he can get a good run of games, which he is unlikely to get at Manchester United.

#3 Jesse Lingard

West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League
West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League

It's clear as day why Jesse Lingard's future lies away from Manchester United. Jesse Lingard is a very good footballer but he is not a good fit for the Red Devils. It's simply because the Englishman thrives in teams that sit back and hit teams on the counter.

Lingard is great when he is afforded space to run at defenders. His dribbling and body feints can help upend defenses in a flash. Manchester United usually go up against low-blocks and to survive in that environment, a wholly different skill set is required.

Lingard has been tearing it up for West Ham United ever since joining them on loan in January. The 28-year-old has scored nine goals and provided three assists from 11 Premier League appearances for the Hammers and has been crucial to Moyes' men keeping their UEFA Champions League hopes alive.

He is not going to be able to displace the likes of Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes at Manchester United and he shouldn't have to try when he has so much to offer for teams that play a style that suits him.

#2 Anthony Martial

Manchester United v Aston Villa - Premier League
Manchester United v Aston Villa - Premier League

Like Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial is a player who could thrive in a different setup. Though he loves playing as a striker, his henchman skills need a lot of polishing. Martial has produced the best results playing from the left side but Marcus Rashford has now got it locked down at Manchester United.

Martial's movement as an out-and-out no. 9 is suspect and his commitment has always come under question. He is not as hard working as his manager would have liked and the Frenchman has had a rather forgettable campaign to follow up what was quite a promising outing in the 2019-20 season.

Martial has scored just seven goals and provided four assists in 36 appearances across all competitions this term. Edinson Cavani has also shown how much of a difference a natural striker makes and Solskjaer is expected to go into the transfer market wanting to sign an accomplished no. 9 this time around.

As such, it's best for both Martial and Manchester United to call it a day on their alliance and part ways.

#1 Donny van de Beek

Manchester United v İstanbul Basaksehir: Group H - UEFA Champions League
Manchester United v İstanbul Basaksehir: Group H - UEFA Champions League

Now, this may be a little harsh. But it's starting to look more and more like Donny van de Beek wasn't exactly on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's wishlist last summer. The promising midfielder was bought from Ajax last summer amid much fanfare and though he has impressed in parts, he hasn't exactly looked like a game-changer whenever he's been given starts.

Donny van de Beek has started just two Premier League matches this season and has come off the bench 14 times. That's abysmally low for a player of his quality and it's all simply because Van de Beek is not the kind of midfielder that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer depends on.

To make things more complicated, Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba have been brilliant and it's going to take a mammoth effort to displace either of the two. But at 24-years-old, he has a long way to go and will be more familiar with Manchester United's style next season. But the question is whether he wants to stick it out.

He could be a starter at a lot of clubs. Two starts in the league for a player as promising as Van de Beek is a little too underwhelming. So maybe he should seek an exit from the club this summer if he is to make the most of his potential.

Edited by Shambhu Ajith
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