Another transfer window slammed shut this week, and whilst Manchester United were fairly quiet, they still managed to complete some business. United’s main priority last month was to see players leave the club, and free up space in the squad ahead of what could be another busy summer transfer window.
Joel Pereira (recalled from loan at Belenenses)
Joel Periera is a goalkeeper with bags of potential but had he stayed at Old Trafford all season and played for the Under 23’s then his career would’ve stagnated. He took the opportunity to join Belenenses and has now returned to the United to offer back up to Sergio Romero and David De Gea.
Sam Johnstone (Aston Villa – loan)
Johnstone is 23 years old and needs to begin playing regular first team football, which won’t happen at United with Romero and De Gea blocking his path to the first team. Now on his 9th loan spell away from Old Trafford he doesn’t seem to have a long term future at the club but could be a decent signing for a Championship club in the summer.
Joe Riley (Sheffield United – loan)
Riley is a hard working full back with an eye for goal. He arguably should’ve had some first team opportunities this year, with Luke Shaw’s injuries. However, this never happened and he has headed out to League One with a point to prove to Jose Mourinho and will hope to return in the summer and fight for a place in the first team squad.
Sean Goss (Queens Park Rangers £500,000)
Many tipped Goss as the natural successor to Michael Carrick, but a lack of first-team opportunities has seen him seek a move away from Old Trafford. There are reports that a buy-back clause was inserted into the deal, so if he impresses in the coming seasons he could return to United. It will be interesting to see how he copes with the step up to first-team football, but if he performs as well as he has done for the U23’s all season then he will undoubtedly succeed in the Championship.
Morgan Schneiderlin (Everton £24m)
Morgan Schneiderlin is undoubtedly one of the best midfielders in the Premier League, however, he never seemed to reach the heights he achieved at Southampton when he moved to Old Trafford. United did well to recoup most of the fee they paid for the services of Schneiderlin last summer, and have managed to get the Frenchman off the wage bill at the club, whilst freeing up a rotational space in the squad which can be filled by the likes of Tim Fosu-Mensah and Bastian Schweinsteiger.
Memphis Depay (Lyon £16m)
Memphis Depay burst onto the scene at PSV and for the Dutch national team, but when he made the switch to United he seemed a shell of his former self. He failed too many any sort of lasting impact for the Red Devils and his contributions for the club will be quickly forgotten, especially if Antoine Griezmann moves to United in the summer and takes Memphis’ number seven shirt. A move to a smaller club in a less competitive league should work wonders for Memphis and offer him the chance to rebuild his career and get back on track. Reports suggest that United have a £35 million buy-back clause for Memphis, so if he does well in France then he could potentially force his way back to Old Trafford in the future.
Despite the fact that Manchester United didn’t sign anyone last month, I would consider the January transfer window a success for the club. United managed to clear the club of some deadwood whilst offering chances to younger players to taste first team action out on loan. Memphis and Schneiderlin never seemed to earn the trust of Mourinho and it seemed inevitable that they would leave the club sooner rather than later. Ed Woodward completed a shrewd piece of business inserting buy-back clauses in both Sean Goss and Memphis’ deals, so United won’t have another Paul Pogba esque embarrassment after letting two young players leave the club.
Although some could argue that reinforcements in defence were needed, both Marcos Rojo and Phil Joned hit form in December and January which may have convinced Jose Mourinho to trust the players already in the squad. As a result of this Mourinho has already handed a debut to Axel Tuanzebe, and will offer him the chance to impress before getting the chequebook out and signing a big money defender.