Manchester United: Robbie Savage says 12 players should go

By Robbie SavageBBC football pundit
Savage's dozen to go from Man Utd

Manchester United must spend £200m if they are to rebuild their squad to the standard that once made sides visiting Old Trafford feel helpless.

United lost for the third time in a row with defeat at Sunderland on Tuesday and I think as many as 12 of the 27 players who regularly feature for them are now on borrowed time.

The players are getting shot at by people like me, but they should look at themselves. Are they running hard enough? Are they tackling hard enough? Are they putting the same effort in as they did for Sir Alex Ferguson? These are the questions I'd like to ask them, because they do not seem to be.

The fear factor I had to deal with at Old Trafford when the likes of Roy Keane, Paul Scholes and David Beckham were lining up for United has gone but I think a dozen players should make way as part of the rebuilding job manager David Moyes faces.

Good goalkeepers

There were question marks at first about David De Gea but he has matured into a fantastic Premier League goalkeeper. Understudy Anders Lindegaard is a good back-up. Both should stay.

Changes at the back

Chris Smalling: I am not convinced by him. His passing is not good enough for a Manchester United player. He should go.

Did you know? Smalling has given the ball away seven times per game on average this season and his pass completion rate stands at 80%. Only Rafael (76%) fares worse among United's defenders.

Alexander Buttner: I'm surprised he is there in the first place. He is not good enough to be a Manchester United player and has not played enough games for that reason.

Did you know? Since joining Manchester United at the beginning of last season, Buttner has completed just two of his 25 open crosses in the Premier League.

Fabio: He is not as good as his brother Rafael. He did not do it at QPR, so what chance has he got of doing it at a club like Manchester United? Not at the level he needs to be at and has to go.

Did you know? Fabio has made only nine Premier League starts for Manchester United since joining the club in 2008.

Rio Ferdinand: He has been one of the best central defenders in the Premier League and a great servant for Manchester United, but injuries and age have caught up with him. There has to be a role for him at the club, but not as a starting member of the first team. I would suggest he joins the coaching staff.

Did you know? United have won only 29% of their league games with Ferdinand in the side this season, compared to 62% without him.

Who stays? Nemanja Vidic can help blood a young centre-half despite his best days being behind him, while Patrice Evra's experience remains an asset, though defensively he is vulnerable. Rafael and Jonny Evans are in good shape, but Phil Jones must settle into one position soon if he is to fulfil his potential.

Manchester United squad

A midfield overhaul

Marouane Fellaini: I am not sure what his best position is. He is not good enough to play for United in the middle of the park and not quick enough or dynamic enough to play off the front. He should go.

Did you know? The Belgian has not scored or provided an assist in his past 18 Premier League appearances (eight for United, 10 for Everton), last scoring against Manchester City in March 2013.

Anderson: They paid a lot of money for him back in 2007, but the Brazilian has played just four league games this season. In my view, he has not recovered from the injuries he has suffered and cannot hold down a regular first-team place, so he should go.

Did you know? Since the start of last season, Anderson has only played 21 times for United (979 minutes). He has completed 90 minutes once in that time (the 5-5 draw with West Brom at the end of last season).

Ryan Giggs: The best Premier League player ever, but if they are going to rely on a 41-year-old to produce the goods next season, it does not say a lot for the rest of the midfielders. He will stay on as a coach and possibly be the next manager, but, playing-wise, he should go.

Did you know? The United veteran has created just seven chances in nine league games this season and has no assists.

Nani: I'm surprised he got a new five-year contract. He has not scored or created a goal in eight league games this season. He's just too inconsistent and should go.

Did you know? Only five players (Wayne Rooney, Cesc Fabregas, Ashley Young, Robin van Persie and Steven Gerrard) have produced more assists than Nani since he moved to the Premier League in 2007 (43).

Ashley Young: At times, he looks great and scores some great goals, but he's only completed one league game this season. That says to me he is inconsistent, so what is he in the team for? To produce goals? He has not been doing that enough, so he should go.

Did you know? Despite being third on the list of Premier League assists since 2007-08, Young is yet to register one this season, creating only eight chances in 10 appearances.

Tom Cleverley: Has played in all but four of United's league games this season, but I am not sure what he contributes. Does he pass it well? Does he score goals? Does he tackle? What does he actually do? He plays for England and I think he is good, but I am not sure what he contributes and, for me, is not a Manchester United player.

Did you know? In the Premier League, 22 midfielders have made 900 passes this season. Six are yet to produce an assist: Mile Jedinak, Jose Canas, Gary Medel, Michael Carrick, Lucas and Cleverley.

Antonio Valencia: I was torn on this one. I am not sure he has ever recovered from his injuries. He had a blistering yard of pace in the past, but I think he has lost it and does not get around the full-back enough. He should go.

Did you know? Only three players (Stewart Downing, Morgan Amalfitano and Ahmed Elmohamady) have completed more open crosses in the Premier League this season than Valencia (16).

Who stays: Michael Carrick's consistency makes him indispensible in this current squad. Darren Fletcher is a quality player if he has overcome his health issues and I want to see what Shinji Kagawa can do, as he is proven at a top club in Borussia Dortmund.

Wilfried Zaha should be allowed to prove he belongs at the top level, while Adnan Januzaj clearly does.

A tweak in attack

Javier Hernandez: Does not perform well consistently enough when he starts games. He is a good impact player but is no Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Did you know? Though he scored in the FA Cup defeat by Swansea, Hernandez has not netted in his past eight Premier League games, his longest drought at the club.

Who stays: Strikers Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie are the only world-class players in the United squad, while Danny Welbeck offers an alternative option.

In conclusion

United's slide boils down to the loss of Sir Alex Ferguson's genius more than the shortcomings of new boss Moyes.

The players they currently have are not bad players, they are just not United players. For Ferguson to win the league with this squad last season shows just how special he was.

In the past, the average players at Manchester United had world-class ones to pull them along. Beckham, Keane, Scholes and Eric Cantona got the average players into positions to win league titles.

Some will now question Moyes, but I'd be questioning myself if I was a player in that dressing room.

It will take an awful lot of money to rebuild this United squad, but I still think the former Everton manager is the one who can do it.

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