The Manchester United squad returned to training on Monday after enjoying a well-deserved break following a long Premier League season.
Those who did not take part in Euro 2020 were summoned for the first pre-season session at United’s Carrington complex, with 18 players in total participating in fitness sessions.
But for a large section of those who were present, including Axel Tuanzebe and Tahith Chong, their time back at the club could be short-lived with questions lingering over several players’ futures.
England’s participation in the semi-finals means that Marcus Rashford, Harry Maguire and new signing Jadon Sancho will be delayed in linking up with the squad.
And while they are absent, it gives a chance for some of United’s players who are fighting for their futures to prove their worth.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is poised to reshape his squad this summer after already clinching the signing of long-term target Sancho, with at least one attacking departure expected.
The Spanish goalkeeper faces something of a testing summer at Old Trafford after watching Dean Henderson emerge as a potential number one choice in goal for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer last season.
The Spaniard started the Europa League final defeat against Villarreal but Henderson was used predominantly as Solskjaer’s goalkeeper for domestic fixtures.
After 10 years in Manchester, it is believed De Gea would consider leaving the Red Devils if Solskjaer demotes him to second choice.
Having already signed Tom Heaton as a reserve goalkeeper, the Norwegian boss faces a decision over the 30-year-old’s future, with Henderson viewed as United’s No.1 for many years to come.
De Gea may well get the opportunity across pre-season to prove he still has what it takes and rediscover the form that secured his status as one of the world’s best goalkeepers.
But with clubs such as AC Milan on the lookout for a new stopper, he may seek a new challenge elsewhere.
The 21-year-old completed a £78m move in July to bolster the Red Devils’ backline as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer targets a Premier League title challenge.
And Martial’s place in the squad appears to be under threat, having scored only four Premier League goals in 26 appearances — his worst goal return since arriving at Old Trafford in 2015 from Monaco.
The French forward missed out on France’s Euro 2020 squad due to his dip in form and injury troubles and after losing his place under Solskjaer.
Despite his disappointing form, there would be a long list of European clubs willing to form a queue for his signature and United may feel inclined to cash in to enable them to sign other targets.
Donny van de Beek
There is no doubt that Donny van de Beek is a fine player, but his £35m move to Man United has simply not worked out.
Just four Premier League starts have followed since his high-profile switch from Ajax in September 2020, which is all the more baffling considering he scored on his debut from the bench.
Clearly, Solskjaer harbours doubts about his suitability in his United team and has preferred a double-pivot of Scott McTominay and Fred, with Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes occupying the attacking positions.
Van de Beek will be desperate to demonstrate he can perform for United after missing out on Euro 2020 due to an unspecified injury. But with United reportedly targeting Eduardo Camavinga, his time could be up already.
Speculation persists that the 24-year-old will head out on loan, with Real Madrid thought to be keen on reviving their interest after missing out on him a year ago.
It remains to be seen whether he will get the opportunity to impress Solskjaer, especially if Real submit a concrete offer.