After days of secrecy, silence and wild speculation, Manchester United have today finally revealed the identity of their new manager – it’s Jose Mourinho.
Yes, few can claim to have seen this coming, but now the former Chelsea boss is moving his belongings into Louis van Gaal’s recently vacated office, we can begin to sound out those whom the Portuguese is most likely to cut loose from his squad as part of his summer shopping plans.
Big changes are required if the Red Devils are to realise freshly-trimmed odds of 11/2 about a 2016/17 Premier League title triumph and to offset the arrival of fresh talent, casualties from the current squad are a certainty.
Here’s who’s most in danger (aside from sure-to-be-shipped-out Juan Mata)…
When you think of midfielders in Mourinho teams whose primary purpose is not to defend, Frank Lampard, Wesley Sneijder and Cesc Fabregas spring to mind – Herrera isn’t of the same calibre.
His conjuring skills aren’t of sufficient standard – fewer than one key pass per match on average and just two assists all last season – and he lacks the physicality to play the enforcer role, which Morgan Schneiderlin, Michael Carrick and perhaps even Phil Jones are all better equipped for.
One of United’s most consistent performers last term he may have been, but it’s difficult to envisage the Dutch dogsbody hanging onto a place in the Red Devils’ rearguard with Mourinho at the helm.
A specialist partner for Chris Smalling will likely be sought, though Blind may yet find solace as left-back cover to Luke Shaw.
Having struggled to get onto the pitch under a youth-favouring manager like Van Gaal, the Belgium international has no hope now Mourinho has been installed.
His age and pedigree, however, will ensure he’s sold for a handsome sum.
Being overlooked for a place in England’s Euro 2016 squad on the back of your best season for Andros Townsend is not the mark of a world-class winger and that’s what United need if they are to be chasing trophies in the short term.
Mourinho’s preference for proven, ready-made superstars won’t do Lingard any favours either.