It has always been a source of amazement and, occasionally, amusement, to see the quality, (or lack of), amongst the squads of the top clubs. Manchester City and United are no different and there are certainly players within those two sides who are nothing more than average.

This is one of the reasons why they are both behind Chelsea, who have less “below average” players than the rest.

Nowadays there is little to choose between the managers and Antonio Conte, Pep Guardiola and José Mourinho could all swap jobs and little, if anything, would change.

It is all about the players the present incumbents have inherited. Here, we take a look at which current players with United and City would have been bought by the present managers had they been around at the time. We have picked five from each team so see if you agree with us. Starting with City.

Aleksandr Kolarov – Can be a liability and is frequently caught out of whichever position he is supposed to be playing. Is lazy in his passing and still looks as though he expects the ball to go through players rather than try a more intricate pass. He is reasonably regular in Guardiola’s team but it is highly doubtful that the Spaniard would have bought him originally.

Gael Clichy – Another who looks clumsy in possession and his crossing is erratic to say the least. He is another who is inclined to give the ball away through misplaced passes and is another who would not have been bought had Guardiola been in charge at the time.

Bacary Sagna – Another Arsenal cast-off who ended up at City. He is reaching the end of his career now and has improved slightly this season over last. Again, he is a player who isn’t good enough for this team and, if there were an alternative, he wouldn’t be there.

Jesus Navas – He is getting less game time now than he ever did. A pacy winger who brings little else to the table. Wayward crosses and passes mean that he is another to whom Guardiola would not have turned.

Nicolas Otamendi – One of City’s “big” signings, he arrived having been courted by other big clubs and with a growing reputation. If anything, his reputation is now considerably worse than it was and he also fits into the category “wouldn’t have been bought by Pep“.

Now United.

Chris Smalling – Came from Fulham only months after they had plucked him from non-league football. Has never realised any potential he may have had and, to be honest, we never thought he had much. Frequently out of position and, just as frequently, gives the ball and free-kicks away. Mourinho would have left him at Fulham.

Marouane Fellaini – Despite the manager giving his backing to the player in recent times, the impression is that this is only lip-service to keep him happy. He will be out of the door in the Summer and would never have come through the door in the first place had it been up to Mourinho.

Marcos Rojo – A similar case to Otamendi at City. He had a better reputation when he arrived than he does now. He managed to rub Louis van Gaal up the wrong way but has been able to stay on the right side of Mourinho up to now. It is doubtful whether he would be first choice when everyone is fit and it will be even more doubtful should a new centre back arrive in the next window. Another Mourinho would have left well alone.

Matteo Darmian – Despite being the regular right back for Italy, Darmian, apart from the first few weeks after his transfer, is not showing the kind of form that would see him continue as the regular right back for his country. He is a willing runner but has little or no end product. The feeling has always been that, if United were to receive a decent offer for him, then they would be quite happy to sell him.

Jesse Lingard – OK, we have to take a little poetic licence here because, as you will be aware, Lingard came through the ranks, he wasn’t bought. This, however, does not alter the fact that he could have been sold or sent out on loan had Mourino so wished. The fact that he stayed was more to do with cover for the wide positions than anything else and he is another who should be moved on in Summer.

So that’s the ten players. None of them are definite starters for their teams yet they all get some games, probably due to squad rotation. They all need to be sold and replaced. The difficulty isn’t in finding better replacements, it is in finding world class replacements, which is what United and City should be buying.

Despite the difficulty we still expect that the next transfer window will see some more world class players arriving in Manchester.


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