Connect in the back of the net

Jose Mourinho may have won three trophies on his maiden season as Manchester United manager, but the feat was greatly overshadowed by an underwhelming performance in the Premier League.

The Red Devils finished sixth on the log, by and large due to stale draws more so at Old Trafford.

As such, the United gaffer will be compelled to take affirmative action in regards to transfers this summer, which may well mean the forceful exit of key names at the club.

Here are three players whose inextirpable exit is a matter of when rather than if.

 

Chris Smalling

Domineering, unfazed and an honest brute, there is a likelihood that Eric Bailly was cut from the same cloth as every other Jose Mourinho center-back.

The Ivorian proved to be a hidden gem on his debut season at the club, eclipsing the likes of Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling to become Jose’s most trusted general.

Rojo has, to his credit, stepped up to the mark under Mourinho while injuries have been the only detriment to a consistent Jones. The same however cannot be said about Smalling whose performances have been alarmingly lackluster.

The arrival of Victor Lindelof from Benfica could assuredly signify the end for Chris Smalling at Manchester United.

 

Luke Shaw

Injuries can be a life changing occurrence and Luke Shaw’s case best exemplifies this.

The England international sustained a horrific double leg fracture against PSV in a Champions League clash in 2015, one that handicapped his progress ever since.

The former Southampton prodigy no longer exhibits the chutzpah and bravado that earned him admirers the country over, as recurring injuries have relentlessly hampered his return to first team football.

Qualifying for the Champions League means Jose Mourinho will need as many players as he can for rotation next season, with fitness levels bar none as the primary requirement.

Shaw can no longer last an entire match and given that the gaffer has plenty of options at left-back in the form of Daley Blind, Marcos Rojo, Matteo Darmian and Ashley Young, the 21-year old is dispensable.

 

Wayne Rooney

The wonder that is Wayne Rooney has become a household name at the Theatre of Dreams over the years.

The England skipper hallmarked his stay at Old Trafford by surpassing Sir Bobby Charlton to become Manchester United’s leading marksman of all time with 253 goals.

Although his performances have been on the decline in the last four years or so, exploits at his prime drum up massive credit for his record breaking achievement.

With every single trophy under his belt, Wayne Rooney won’t feel justifiably hard done by, should he be relieved of his duties at Manchester United.

 

Written by Brian Humphrey

Follow Brian on Twitter @brihum

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