Having written this article almost 12 months ago with the help of a few of our writers, we ranked the United squads on Tier Maker which you can find here. I have taken a look at my squad rankings and while some of my predictions were slightly off for better and for worse, the majority seem to have fallen into place over this interesting season.
Now as The United Devils are set to have 1,000 posts with this article, I think it is fitting to judge our players and see how the season has changed my mind on where the players stand but I am going to go through it slighly differently:
1. DAVID DE GEA – KEEP
One of the best goalkeepers in the world despite some shaky moments in the last 12 months, David de Gea has shown more often than not why United value him so much and why he should remain United’s number one going into next season.
2. VICTOR LINDELOF – KEEP
He has had some shaky moments this season but has developed an excellent partnership with Harry Maguire and has been excellent with the Englishman since the turn of the year. While Bailly may have better raw defensive instincts, Lindelof has yet to be dribbled past this season, a stat that heaped praise on Virgil van Dijk last season. He is a smart player with excellent ball-playing technique and I do think he has what it takes to be one of the best if he keeps developing at his current rate.
3. ERIC BAILLY – KEEP
He certainly has shown his brilliance from time to time. Bailly has what it takes to be exceptional for Manchester United but his fitness is an issue. The calls for him to replace Lindelof are a little over the top as he is a fitness concern and that is just as important as ability. Nevertheless if Solskjaer and his team can keep him fit then Lindelof’s place could be up for contention.
He is done. End of. He has to go.
Our captain has improved our defence dramatically and has played every Premier League minute and only missed six games this season. Of the 21 clean sheets United have kept, he has kept 17 of them. In the home leg of the Carabao Cup against Manchester City, Phil Jones came in and it demonstrated how valuable Maguire has been. He will be the starting centre back for years to come and hopefully lift some silverware as the club captain.
6. PAUL POGBA – KEEP
If we can keep Pogba it will be an outstanding piece of business as he is a world class player who makes our team better. No doubt. It will be interesting to see how the team lines up when he comes back in.
12. CHRIS SMALLING – SELL
Smalling has done well for Roma this season and probably exemplifies one of the many players that crumble when the spotlight is on. He has only kept six clean sheets throughout the season for Roma which is two less than United have kept just in the league. Smalling has shown he can play well at a smaller club and so £20-25m for him would seem like a good deal in the summer.
13. LEE GRANT – KEEP
Grant extended his contract and is content with his place as third choice and is loved by both the fans and his fellow squad members. Doesn’t need to be let go just yet.
14. JESSE LINGARD – SELL
He has had his chances but not really shown he deserves them. It is sad to see someone who has had such great moments for United fall so fast down to what he is now. He made a statement by changing agents to Raiola and it looks like he is out of the door.
15. ANDREAS PEREIRA – SELL
Pereira has had two full seasons at United and it hasn’t really worked. He may say his best position is a CAM but he has played everywhere for United this season and never been higher than a 7/10. Maybe I am wrong but I think he would do very well for a smaller club but just does not work for United. £25m for the Brazilian would be some excellent business and honestly, if his best position is a number 10, there are far better options.
16. MARCOS ROJO – SELL
He went on loan to Estudiantes and should leave at the end of the loan as he has barely even featured for the Argentine club either. Injury prone and reckless, we have four competent defenders who are far better than him. £120,000/week off the books please.
17. FRED – KEEP
A relief he finally signed for us. The player we have been screaming for since Rooney left. For £46m he is a bargain as he is easily one of United’s best players and certainly one of the best number 10’s around.
20. DIOGO DALOT – KEEP
He has struggled for game time this season due to fitness issues and so this is something that does need sorting quickly. I do think he could compete with Wan-Bissaka and be the second choice fullback next season. Reports do suggest that PSG want him for £40m and while I would not be opposed to that, he ideally would stay and fight for his place at United and see what player he can become.
22. SERGIO ROMERO – KEEP
Romero has shown time and time again how important a good second choice goalkeeper is as he, when rotated into the squad for the cup games, has shown how excellent he has been, keeping 38 clean sheets in 58 games and pivotal in both Europa League challenges in 2016/17 and this season too. I think he will leave with a hero’s farewell next season to make way for the ever-improving Dean Henderson.
23. LUKE SHAW – KEEP
He has had waves of good performances and a spell of really poor ones this season but has been very solid and energetic in attack of late. I do think he is improving overall and his fitness is definitely improving with him. He seemed to thrive on competition when Williams came in and so it will be interesting to see who comes out on top next season.
24. TIMOTHY FOSU-MENSAH – LOAN OUT
Fosu-Mensah has shown some promise but the fact is he was fit for a long time this season and still didn’t feature. He needs one more chance and I think it will need to be somewhere else next season. Dalot is better than him but if Dalot leaves then Fosu-Mensah can slot into the second choice role for right back. I would like to see him do well and loan moves to Fulham and Palace have not proven to be fruitful and injuries have caused problems too, so one more chance to show his worth and then Solskjaer can make a decision.
25. ODION IGHALO – KEEP
He has done well when called upon but it is up to Shanghai and United to agree a deal to sign him as he does offer something different and knows his place like Lee Grant. I’d like to see him stay but if a deal cannot be agreed there are other options.
26. MASON GREENWOOD – KEEP
12 senior goals in his first full season is exceptional for someone who was 17 when the season began. He will shine at United for a long time and is a generational talent. No more needs to be said.
28. ANGEL GOMES – KEEP
I would like to think that he will sign a new deal as he loves the club and will be willing to fight for his position. If not, then it shows his mentality is not right and I don’t understand a move to Chelsea as they have more number 10’s than United anyway with Mount, Barkley and Loftus-Cheek.
29. AARON WAN-BISSAKA – KEEP
He has been outstanding this season as a defensive fullback but of course will need to improve in attack and while he has registered two assists this season, it could easily have been more if the chances he created have been taken. He will be our starting fullback for the next decade if things keep improving the way they do and there is no doubt in my mind that they will.
31. NEMANJA MATIC – KEEP
At the end of last season I was not expecting Matic to stay as he was woeful at the end, and sure enough McTominay started ahead of him but when he was injured, Matic filled in excellently and played some of his best football. I can’t see a reason not to keep him for another year and look for a young, long-term replacement to come in this season and be the Serbian’s understudy.
34. DEAN HENDERSON – LOAN OUT
Many are calling for Dean Henderson to jump straight into the first team displacing either just Romero or De Gea as well. I personally think Henderson has been playing exceptionally this season but it should be interesting to to see whether he can keep it up next season as the Blades seem to be closing in on European football and so if Henderson stays for one more season, it will be excellent experience. Then next season he will be 24 and ready to challenge De Gea for the first spot.
35. DEMITRI MITCHELL – LOAN OUT
It is unfair to say he should be sold as he has been injured since last season and was back in training before lockdown was called and so another loan move should be on the cards for a last chance for the 23 year old to assess his development.
37. JAMES GARNER – LOAN OUT
It’s fair to say Garner has not had a lot of time to play but injuries and other circumstances caused this. He could be loaned out to improve his development as the u23’s seems a step down at this point. I would like to see him loaned out to see what he is made of and it would seem Swansea are the front-runners.
38. AXEL TUANZEBE – KEEP
He, like Bailly, has had injury issues especially this season and so it would be good to see what he can do next season and for the remainder of this one. He is one for now and the future and should feature more regularly in the domestic cup games.
39. SCOTT MCTOMINAY – KEEP
His injury seemed like a huge loss but Matic did well in the meantime. He returned with two emphatic goals against Club Brugge and more importantly against Manchester City, which was truly a great moment. He will compete with Fred and Matic next season and no doubt shine as he did this season and hopefully put the injuries past him.
40. JOEL PEREIRA – SELL
When he made his debut in 2017 against Crystal Palace, things looked promising for the Portugese youngster. Playing for Hearts this season, he has only kept 3 clean sheets in 20 matches, conceding 37 goals in the 17 games he didn’t keep a clean sheet in, which averages just under two goals a game, which is very poor. He hasn’t developed as United would want and I don’t see him getting much better any time soon.
41. ETHAN LAIRD – KEEP
He has shown some good play against Astana but is a fair bit away from regular first team football. I think a loan away is also a bad idea so he should stay in the u23’s for another season and reassess at this point next year.
44. TAHITH CHONG – KEEP
He signed a new deal recently and shows willingness to fight for his place. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him loaned out but he has shown signs of improvement in the last few matches he has played and got two assists in Europe against Brugge and LASK so I do think he is developing more and more at United and could offer more depth in the wide areas.
53. BRANDON WILLIAMS – KEEP
He has had a really good debut season and has barely put a foot wrong. A couple of hard matches against Riyad Mahrez is certainly not something that should be overly criticised as he is only 19 but it seems clear he is one for the future and one for now as well. Competing with Luke Shaw should only improve the two of them and I am excited to see how he develops in attack.
63. DYLAN LEVITT – KEEP
He played well against Astana but hasn’t shown enough as he has not played since. I think he needs another year playing regularly for the u23’s and maybe featuring a few times in the cup competitions next season before Solskjaer can make a decision.
29 players should be kept in the different states at the club, be it a first team starter, a squad player or a youth player. Four players should be loaned out for experience, five should be sold for the right price and two ought to leave if any half-decent offer comes in. It does show that there is a need for players to come in to plug gaps and add depth, and freeing up some money and space can only help.