Connect in the back of the net

The Premier League is an unforgiving environment, and one in which managers are increasingly aware of the fact that they may be living on borrowed time.

Manchester United’s beleaguered boss Jose Mourinho is the walking embodiment of this at present, as he continues to cut a tense and brooding presence on the Old Trafford touchline.

United have made a significant investment in the Portuguese manager and his pedigree, however, so his place is at least assured for now.

The same cannot be said for many of his squad members, however, as Mourinho’s ruthless nature, stubbornness and desire for success will surely compel him to offload some of his misfiring stars this January.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at three of the stars that Mourinho may look to offload during what is likely to be a busy and turbulent January transfer window for the Reds.

 

Here are our picks: –

 

Memphis Depay

One of the premier advantages of gambling online is that you can compare multiple odds to more accurately determine the odds of a specific event.

This helps when appraising transfer rumours, and a quick look at the odds of Dutchman Memphis Depay leaving Manchester United shows that he may be one of the first out of the door this January.

Some providers are even offering a staggering 7/4 that the winger will join United’s bitter domestic rivals Liverpool, although this would represent a considerable risk even by Mourinho’s standards.

Regardless of his final destination, it appears as though the chances of Memphis remaining at Old Trafford beyond this season are slim.

Betrayed by his own attitude and struggles when adapting to the Premier League, he failed to impress during pre-season and his now unable to claim a place in Mourinho’s second-string team.

If the Portuguese is so inclined, he may well choose to cut his losses this January and trim some of the fat from his overloaded and underperforming squad.

Memphis appears to have no place in Mourinho’s plans, while the desire of the Portuguese to raise cash and improve his squad could easily lead to a deal being made.

What are the chances? – 8/10

 

Luke Shaw

When Luke Shaw signed for United in 2014, he became one of the most expensive teenager’s in the world and appeared to be set for an outstanding career at the top.

He struggled for fitness initially, however, while his promising start to last season was brutally halted by a broken leg sustained during a Champions League clash against in Eindhoven.

While the full-back has fully recovered from this setback, he has struggled for form this season and looks to lack the focus and fitness that Mourinho demands for his players.

The Portuguese has also publicly criticised the left-back twice, most recently after Shaw mysteriously pulled out of the EPL game at Swansea with an injury.

This hardly augurs well for his future, particularly given Mourinho’s lack of patience and the demands that he places on his players.

Make no mistake; Shaw is on borrowed time and Mourinho is well-known for his ruthlessness when appraising his players. The full-back may be saved by his age and the investment that the club have made in him, as they would be loathe to cut their losses so early on in his contract.

What are the chances? 5/10

 

Chris Smalling

After the relatively impressive 3-1 win at the Liberty Stadium, Mourinho was fulsome in his praise for returning centre-back Phil Jones and his courage in making himself available.

In contrast, former Fulham defender Chris Smalling was criticised for his attitude and absence, which in turn raised questions regarding his future at the club.

These questions have stalked Smalling ever since his arrival at the club, but in truth he has underperformed so far this season and fallen below the standards he set under Louis Van Gaal last year in what appeared to be his breakthrough season.

Jones, despite his own injury concerns, is also a defender made in the Mourinho mould, as he offers both raw strength and athleticism to the back-line.

If he returns to form and full-fitness, Mourinho could be persuaded to sell Smalling and Marcus Rojo on this winter and invest in a new centre-back to support Jones, Daley Blind and the currently injured Eric Bailly.

This is a difficult situation to appraise, as Mourinho is almost certain to makes changes to his backline as he looks to create a team that reflects his own identity. Smalling could well be a victim of this, as he lacks many of the attributes that the Portuguese looks for in a commanding centre-back.

What are the chances? 6/10

 

Written by Lewis Humphries

Follow Lewis on Twitter @LewisRHumphries

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