Four senior Man United players should be heading off before January ends
"He's now at the stage where he needs to go and play again."
That Ole Gunnar Solskjaer comment was made, on Friday, by Manchester United boss about Timothy Fosu-Mensah. In truth, the Norwegian could have been talking about any one of five senior United players.
While United have secured the January arrival of Atalanta attacker Amad Diallo, Solskjaer insists the club are not in hot pursuit of any more players in the current window. If United can offload some senior stars that are spinning their wheels, most at the club would consider it a good month.
Argentina goalkeeper, and solid back-up and cup campaigner, Sergio Romero looks set to secure a move to the MLS and has reportedly told his teammates he is on his way. Marcos Rojo looks set to be following Romero out the exit door, although he is heading straight back to Argentina and a deal with Boca Juniors.
Manchester Evening News reports that Southampton and Newcastle are eager to get left-back Brandon Williams in on a loan deal for the remainder of the season. What may sway the loan in Newcastle's favour would be if the Toon were to take Phil Jones or Jesse Lingard off United's books. Permanently. Reports in The Guardian have linked both England internationals to Steve Bruce's side. Burnley are interested in Jones, too, but only want him on loan (for now).
As for Fosu-Mensah, it looks to be 30 games and out for United. For any player, logging onto your team's own website and seeing this headline is as clear-cut as you can get:
Solskjaer went a step further, in his Friday press briefing, when he was asked about the Dutch defender. He replied:
"I'm not sure if Timo is going to stay or [if] he's going to take an option now. He's not played enough, so of course he's been allowed to speak to clubs, with a view to leaving now in January. It's difficult when you've got good players, talented players, and you can't give them game time.
"He's now at the stage where he needs to go and play again. It might be [at the] end of January, or it might be in the summer that he finds somewhere else. So he's working hard, Tim, he's ready for a move for any club that he feels ready for."
As it currently stands, Romero and Rojo appear to be on their way while United would take reasonable offers for Jones, Lingard and Fosu-Mensah. One player who will not be leaving, on a transfer or on loan, is Dutch midfielder Donny van de Beek. Confirming the former Ajax star would be starting against Watford in the FA Cup, Solskjaer commented:
"Donny is going to play. That’s another chance for him and, yes, I’ve spoken to him and reiterated and made him aware of how much we rate him. But he’ll play [against Watford] and that’s a good chance again to kick on."
After three minutes off the bench in the League Cup semi-final defeat to Manchester City, van de Beek will be keen to show his manager what he can do in a starting role.