Every three years, Jose Mourinho implodes.
According to the evidence of his career so far, we should be expecting an explosion any time soon. Having built his side for the past two seasons, it’s time for him to blow up.
There are no alarm bells ringing, however. The twin captures of Fred and Diogo Dalot hint more at a man who’s comfortable in his employ, one who’s ready to give a more sustained fight to his city rivals than he managed last time out.
Whilst the focus has been on which players are arriving, here are five players who really should be shown the door.
1 Matteo Darmian
It hasn’t really happened for the Italian full back.
His versatility should have made him a vital squad player but, in truth, Darmian has struggled to impress in any of the defensive positions to which he’s been entrusted.
Expect him to secure a move back to Turin with Juventus in the next few weeks.
2 Marouane Fellaini
He might not be fashionable but there’s a reason why Marouane Fellaini has proven himself as a key player under three consecutive coaches.
The Belgian is ungainly and awkward but he is also incredibly effective, routinely popping up with vital goals and proving a nightmare for unsettled defences.
Links with a move to Arsenal brought sniggers on social media. However, Old Trafford might only realise his value when he inevitably scores against them for another club.
3 Daley Blind
A fossil from the Louis van Gaal era, Daley Blind’s impressive showings at the 2014 World Cup made him one of the Dutchman’s first signings.
Despite admirable composure and technique, however, the former Ajax man lacks the pace and strength necessary to start for an elite side in the Premier League.
4 Luke Shaw
It’s a wonder Luke Shaw even turns up for training any more.
Such has been his evisceration under Jose Mourinho, whose favourite hobby over the past twelve months seemed to be publicly flogging his shattered left-back.
One of the best wing-backs in England at Southampton, a devastating injury knocked the momentum out of Shaw’s fledgling career.
He has been chasing himself ever since, struggling with weight and form issues as his career threatens evaporate before his eyes.
But he needs a change of scenery, preferably under a coach who will trust and play him regularly.
5 Juan Mata
Player of the Year in his first season at Chelsea, Juan Mata has gone strangely unappreciated in the Premier League.
A technical winger at Valencia, he seemed ready to replicate his form in England, only to reinvent himself as a deeper midfield presence.
Mata is a brooding and intelligent water carrier for Mourinho’s side, but he lacks pace and stamina in a team that often plays around him.
A talent like his deserves to flourish, rather than be relegated to a reduced role in the squad.
Listen to the RealSport football writers discuss Group D in Kremlins in the Basement: RealSport’s daily World Cup podcast.
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