Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure at the end of 2013 season brought an overwhelming end to a love story so romantic that left football in tears. While the romantics of the game were left to delve into the fond memories of the Scottish maestro, the pragmatics calculated the impending doom that was to befall the club. In his 27 year reign at the club had the hard-hitting Scot had moulded the club in his image and he had become an embodiment of the club itself.
It was never going to be easy for his immediate successor to find his footing at Old Trafford. David Moyes came and went without so much so as scratching the surface and while Louis Van Gaal’s appointment was greeted with more pomp and cheer, the experienced Dutchman did not fare any better than his predecessor.
The beginning of the 2016/17 season saw United unveil Jose Mourinho as the manager of the club, a man who had long coveted the hot seat at Old Trafford. United who had already heavily spent in the market in the post-Ferguson era showed no sign of fatigue and gifted Mourinho with the transfers of Ibrahimovic, Pogba, Mkhitaryan and Bailly. United by then already boasted of a midfield that had the likes of Schweinsteiger, Carrick, Fellaini, Herrera and Mata. The 2017/18 summer window has seen Jose reunited with Nemanja Matic at United and United bring in a marquee signing in the form of Romelu Lukaku. Old Trafford is now once again a place booming with noise and thankfully for the Red Devils with plenty of goals.
United seems to have finally got their combination right this season and Mourinho has formed his core group of players. The two aspects of this news are that there will be players he will favour and players he won’t. The tough news for the ones he won’t is that they might as well try their luck elsewhere for Mourinho is not a fickle-minded person and is unlikely to change his mind no matter the status of the player. You only need to ask Germany legend Schweinsteiger.
United have Fellaini, Mata and Herrera on the final year of their contracts. While Mata is a regular starter and Fellaini is Jose’s favourite utility player, Herrera seems to have lost his place in the side with the Portuguese favouring the Matic-Pogba or the Matic-Fellaini axis in United’s midfield.
However, it almost makes no sense for United to let go of any of the three players. While Mata, who has finally managed to come under the good books of Jose, thanks to United’s playing style and Fellaini, who has a special utility role in the team, will want to extend their contract themselves, the situation for Herrera might not be so simple. Although there are no reports to suggest that Herrera might be unhappy at United, and the midfielder has always maintained his loyalty for the club, if the situation regarding the Spaniard’s game time does not improve, it might be tricky for United to tie down Herrera to a new contract.
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