Man Utd transfer news features a look at the players in jeopardy of being sold in the January transfer window to finance a signing and players who could leave on loan.
It was a year ago that Jose Mourinho omitted Morgan Schneiderlin and Memphis from Manchester United's matchday squads in December after they requested to leave the club, since injury could have jeopardised their moves. Henrikh Mkhitaryan has not featured in any of United's four squads so far this month.
Amid Mourinho's interest in doing business in the January transfer window, Mkhitaryan has emerged as the likeliest to leave. There is no suggestion the 28-year-old has asked for a transfer but Mkhitaryan has been dropped from seven of the last eight matchday squads and sources refuted Mourinho's midweek explanation behind the Armenian's recent absences.
Mourinho is intent on signing a 'magician' forward and is keen on reuniting with Mesut Ozil. Selling Mkhitaryan in January could free up additional funds to prise him away from Arsenal in the new year.
Arsene Wenger insists the German will remain at The Emirates Stadium beyond January, which could allow Mkhitaryan to stay at United until the summer. Ozil has been informed his best chance of joining United is on a free transfer, too.
Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone has admitted Antoine Griezmann is free to leave the club after nearly four years' service and United retain an interest, albeit not as intense as last summer. Griezmann's release clause still stands at €100million and Mourinho expressed a desire to sign attainable players in January, although Barcelona are firm favourites to sign the France international.
"I'm not a big defender of the January market," Mourinho said. "But there are players and situations that sometimes you have the chance to do and you shouldn't lose the chance.
"I don't like the January market just to buy, that no, but if you can buy in January a player that you would buy in June or July and you have the chance to get him a few months before then great, but just that."
United fans voted Shaw their man of the match in the wins over CSKA Moscow and Bournemouth but it is understood the club has still not extended his contract. Shaw's deal technically expires in the summer but United have the option of an additional year and are highly unlikely to allow him to leave on a free.
Ashley Young has performed at left-back for the majority of the campaign but United have been monitoring Tottenham's Danny Rose and it seems inevitable one of their left-backs will depart, either in the winter or summer window.
Mourinho promised 22-year-old Shaw more opportunities earlier this month and suspicions of a shop window tactic are undermined by the left-back's playing time in recent weeks. Newcastle let it be known they are interested in Shaw but he is believed to be intent on staying at United beyond January.
The leaked XI for the CSKA game featured Darmian's name and it was a slight surprise the confirmed XI listed him as a substitute. Antonio Valencia was, until recently, rested for United's midweek matches but seems to have improved his durability after he succumbed to fatigue towards the end of last season.
Darmian, 28, has started seven times for United this term, with only two of those coming in the league. The former Torino defender lost his first-team status to Daley Blind during pre-season.
Despite his malaise, Darmian kept his place in the Italy national team which failed to qualify for the World Cup, so United might not struggle for takers from Serie A. Unlike Mkhitaryan, he has appeared this month with that enforced introduction at Arsenal, where Darmian was fortunate not to concede a penalty.
Blind's last Premier League start was in August and he has played literally one minute in the league since. He was an unexpected selection in the opening weekend thrashing of West Ham and as United performed Blind under-performed and has become a cup player, starting every Champions League and Carabao Cup tie.
Like Shaw, Blind's contract is up in the summer and United have not extended it yet, it is understood. Although the 27-year-old has struggled to perform under Mourinho and failed to make four of the last six league squads, Blind is playing and Mourinho name checked him as a central defensive option to fill in for long-term absentee Eric Bailly. Blind's United future seems secure – until the summer, at least.
It was maybe telling that Mourinho did not mention Axel Tuanzebe as a possible centre half to cover for Bailly. Tuanzebe has had just 108 minutes of playing time, despite excelling in the Carabao Cup win at Swansea in his strongest role, and a loan move may suit the 20-year-old who has already played in three different positions in seven senior United appearances.
Even accounting for Bailly's injury, Mourinho has Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Victor Lindelof, Marcos Rojo and Blind to choose from at centre-back.
One of the surprise decisions of the season was Mourinho's decision to select James Wilson in his Champions League squad. The 22-year-old has not played for United in over two years and four strikers are ahead of him in the pecking order.
Wilson's return to the first-team would be more surprising than Nick Powell's ascension to the bench against Wolfsburg and Wilson has openly spoken about heading out on loan in the new year now he has recovered from a knee ligament injury.