Apart from Marcos Rojo coming in for Chris Smalling against Aston Villa, we have kept the same starting eleven for three games in a row. Looking at our bench over the last few games it has included Di Maria, Falcao, Rafael, Valdes, Januzaj, McNair and Wilson. You could make a pretty handy five-a-side team from that line up!
Looking at the players on the bench it got me thinking about our squad as a whole and how strong it is becoming. I wondered what hope our players out on loan would have of breaking in to the Manchester United team when they return in the summer.
Javier Hernández (Chicharito) has suffered a frustrating time at Real Madrid but with a squad containing forward players like Bale, Rodriguez, Benzema and Christiano Ronaldo it was always going to be difficult for him to get minutes on the pitch.
Chicharito has featured 21 times this season scoring 4 goals. With United unlikely to take up their option to sign Falcao, Chicharito could be a great option. I think he would be looking at a similar role to that under Sir Alex Ferguson but Chicharito always played over 30 games scoring double figures each season since he signed in 2010 from Guadalajara.
Under David Moyes Chicharito clearly was not happy and suffered a poor season, although in his defence who didn’t have a poor season last year? With there being no guarantee that Van Persie will be with us next season, if we need a competent finisher who can score important goals then I think we already have the perfect player in the Little Pea. I would welcome him back to Old Trafford with open arms!
Guillermo Varela has also been in Madrid this season with Real Madrid’s Castilla (their B team), where he is being coached by Zinedine Zidane and is playing alongside Norwegian hot prospect Martin Ødegaard.
Manchester United signed Varela in 2013 from Peñarol after just one first team appearance and he is yet to feature for our first team. This season Varela has played 26 times for Castilla which it the sixth most appearances in a squad packed with Spain’s brightest prospects. I can’t pretend to know very much about Varela, or whether he has a long term future at United. I would like to see the 22 year old given a chance in pre season, to see if he has what it takes to stake a claim in the United first team.
Ángelo Henríquez has been at Manchester United since 2012 but like Varela has failed to make a first team appearance. Henríquez has played in the Premiership while on loan at Wigan Athletic in 2013, where he gained an FA Cup winners medal under the management of Roberto Martinez.
Henríquez is again out on loan with Dinamo Zagreb where he has played 27 games and scored an impressive 20 goals. At the young age of 20 years old Henríquez has a lot to learn and is unlikely to break into the United team next season. Perhaps another loan move next season with his former Wigan manager at Everton could be a option.
Jesse Lingard started in Louis Van Gaal’s first game in charge at Old Trafford, although he was forced off after 24 minutes with an injury against Swansea City.
In Jesse’s short Manchester United career has been out on loan with Leicester City, Birmingham City, Brighton & Hove Albion and currently he is helping Derby County secure a play off place in the Championship. Each of these moves have been moderately successful however on no occasion has Lingard really established himself as a first team regular.
Lingard has played under 50 games in the past four seasons and a future in the United first team is looking unlikely. With time on his side I see no reason why he cannot go on and have a successful playing career, but I think it is more likely to be at a mid table Premiership club than at United.
Currently back with Sporting Clube de Portugal, Nani has been treated like a returning hero by the fans. Playing with the number 77 shirt this season Nani suffered a disastrous debut where he missed a penalty, was booked and then subbed before the final whistle.
There was no need for Nani to worry as he has quickly turned things around and is playing exciting football for a Sporting team who are currently in third place and look likely to secure Champions League football again. Nani’s first goal of the season for Sporting was a typical finish from distance against Gil Vicente in a 4-0 win. Nani has scored an impressive 11 goals in 30 appearances this season.
With strong rumours linking United with a bid for Memphis Depay I cannot see that Nani has much of a future at Old Trafford and I expect him to leave in the summer. I just hope he finds the right club and has every success as I am quite fond of him. Lets not forget the great memories he has given us, including many superb goals, exciting pieces of skill and of course it was Nani who scored the winning penalty against Chelsea in 2008 Champions League Final.
After a successful loan spells with Watford and Wigan Athletic, Tom Cleverley looked like he was going to push on and become a regular for Manchester United. Since he was KO’d by Kevin Davies against Bolton Wanderers early into what was supposed to be his breakthrough season, he has never shown anything like that early promise. I cannot see anything other than Cleverley leaving United in the summer, and I hope he goes on to have a good career elsewhere.
We all love new signings and I’m excited about the thought of Mats Hummels, Nathanal Clyne et al in a United shirt. It’s hard to see much of a future at United for the players out on loan and if anyone has the chance of a future at United then it is our South American trio of Chicharito, Henríquez and Varela.