JOSE MOURINHO GETS THE BIG STICK OUT AS MASSIVE CLEAROUT LOOMS AT OLD TRAFFORD
Memphis Depay is set to leave Old Trafford in January, starting an exodus of Manchester United’s fringe players before the beginning of next season.
Depay, a £25million signing just 17 months ago, accepts he has no future under Jose Mourinho after he was left at home when United lost against Fenerbahce in Istanbul on Thursday night.
The Holland winger has only made one start this season, in the EFL Cup against Northampton, and wants to make a fresh start in January.
Depay is typical of the players who have upset Mourinho by failing to provide more competition for first-team places. The United boss feels his message is not getting through, leading to an apathy and lack of intensity within the squad.
Mourinho publicly criticised his team’s lack of focus following the 2-1 defeat by Fenerbahce, when Morgan Schneiderlin, Marcos Rojo and Matteo Darmian all struggled.
They are unlikely to stay beyond this season and will be among a number of players to be offloaded along with Bastian Schweinsteiger.
It is understood that Mourinho has been surprised by the scale of the task he has taken on at Old Trafford. He wants to sign an experienced centre back in January but will wait until the summer to do most of his transfer business.
There was some good news on Friday when it was revealed defender Eric Bailly would return from his knee injury earlier than expected, possibly by the start of next month. But there are further concerns over Anthony Martial, who has struggled to rediscover last season’s form — although there is no suggestion that he will go.
The Frenchman was said to be upset that his No 9 jersey was handed to new signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the summer, after he had just launched his own brand ‘AM9’.
There was no consultation and his agent Philippe Lamboley confirmed on Friday that it has not gone down well in the Martial camp, calling the decision ‘disrespectful’.
He added: ‘The loss of the No9 shirt has been mentioned to justify his start to the season. I am not going to lie to you. Yes, this has marked him, surprised him, it has disappointed him.
‘Personally, I have not accepted this decision that I found uncalled for and disrespectful towards my player.’
Ibrahimovic was involved in more controversy on Friday when he was branded ‘arrogant’ by Fenerbahce defender Simon Kjaer following their angry confrontation in the Europa League group match.
The Swede barged into Kjaer and then grabbed him by the throat, although no action was taken against either player.
‘I didn’t hear what he said but I do know that he wasn’t happy,’ said Kjaer. ‘That’s the way I know him from the pitch. He is the kind of chest-puffing player who is arrogant. It is not the first time I’ve played against him and I know how he reacts. It is not a problem.’
Ibrahimovic drew another blank in the Sukru Saracoglu Stadium and has now scored just once in his last 11 games.
But Mourinho is ready to keep faith with the 35-year-old striker at Swansea. ‘He (Ibrahimovic) is playing well for the team,’ said Mourinho.