Prior to the final of the International Champions Cup last week, Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal informed the media that he would decide the futures of certain United players after the conclusion of the club’s US tour.
“I shall make judgments after this tour,” Van Gaal said. “I let all the players play and I know now more than before the tour.”
“Now also it is a little bit soon to judge, but in football you have to judge and you have to give a chance to the player to make a transfer when I see that his prospects to play are not so high.
“You have to say it in advance because it’s too late after Aug 31 and I will tell payers after the tour, but to them, not to you.”
According to a report in the Daily Mail, Van Gaal met face-to-face with individual United players on Saturday between 2pm and 4pm to let them know where they stood in the Dutch boss’ plans.
In all, five players were told they needed to instruct their representatives to start the process of finding them new clubs before the transfer window shuts in three weeks.
The Daily Mail reported that those five players were: Rafael da Silva, Marouane Fellaini, Nani, Anderson and Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez.
For most United fans who have watched every match of the preseason tour, the names mentioned in the report will not come as a complete surprise.
Fellaini and Anderson didn’t travel with the squad, but have been rumored to be on their way out of Old Trafford all summer.
Rafael participated in United’s first match of the tour against the LA Galaxy. But he was quickly substituted and subsequently sent back to Manchester following a groin injury he obtained in the match.
With Van Gaal opting to use a 3-5-2 or 3-4-3 formation and utilizing wing-backs on either side of the pitch, the Brazilian right-back appeared to be a candidate for a role in the Dutchman’s first team. But in Rafael’s absence Antonio Valencia flourished as the right wing-back, Ashley Young showed he could be utilized on either side of the pitch; and United youngsters Reece James and Tyler Blackett showed no signs of being out of their depths against top European opponents.
So it appears that Rafael would have fallen down the pecking order under Van Gaal.
Nani…well he was just Nani.
The winger has been a steady source of frustration for United fans over the past few years. The Portugal international has shown brief moments of genius, only to follow those performances with weeks of lackluster play. And he continued that trend during his brief cameos in the US.