Mourinho sacked: What does it mean for Manchester United players?
Jose Mourinho is gone but Manchester United still have pressing personnel problems to resolve over the coming months.
The next full-time manager is likely to work in concert with a sporting director and together they will be forced to determine whether to retain players whose contracts are set to expire in June.
Several more high-profile stars have been at the centre of persistent speculation and their futures are now up for debate as the Red Devils aim to exit the state of flux that has followed Alex Ferguson's retirement.
Here, we consider whether Mourinho's exit could halt a potential exodus.
176 - Manchester United won 176 Premier League points since the appointment of Jose Mourinho as manager; fewer than Manchester City (222), Tottenham Hotspur (202), Chelsea (200) and Liverpool (196). Departure. pic.twitter.com/WknQQE9bsP— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 18, 2018
It always appeared a case of one or the other when Pogba and Mourinho's relationship hit a nadir in September, months of unease coming to head in a reportedly terse training-ground exchange. Pogba has seemingly won out in the end, but will it be enough to keep him at Old Trafford? The France midfielder has never truly settled in his second spell in Manchester and was heavily linked with both Barcelona and former club Juventus following the World Cup. He could well be sated by a suitable appointment.
David de Gea
Recent rumours suggest De Gea is close to agreeing a new long-term deal after United triggered their option to extend his existing contract through to 2020. Juve and Paris Saint-Germain will hope that is not the case as they seek to prey on the Premier League club's anxieties over potentially losing him on a free. De Gea will need assurances that a trophy-winning team is going to be sculpted around him.
He wanted to leave in the close season and his future remains in considerable doubt following agent Philippe Lamboley's revelation that contract discussions between the parties are far from reaching an amicable conclusion. Lamboley's comments came the day before Mourinho's exit and United will hope the change in manager convinces one of their more prized talents to ignore advances from the likes of Chelsea and Juve.
It seems only a matter of time until United cut their losses with Sanchez, although offloading his vast wage could prove problematic. The Chile forward's form woes seem to run deeper than the identity of the man in charge and a January move cannot be ruled out if a suitor willing to take on the injured 29-year-old can be found.
Unwanted by Mourinho at Chelsea, Mata reinvented himself as a useful contributor under the ex-Blues boss and recently told the media he is happy in Manchester. Whether the 30-year-old stays beyond the conclusion of his contract in June hinges heavily on the playing style the new manager looks to implement.
Juanfield pic.twitter.com/40PsAVmti9— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 16, 2018
The club recently tied Chris Smalling to fresh terms and appear likely to do the same for his on-off defensive partner Jones, whose contract has just over six months to run. At 26, he still has resale value and it would be a big gamble to jettison a centre-back in January unless other targets are acquired. United may well trigger their option of a one-year extension before entertaining offers at the end of the season.
Negotiations to extend midfielder Herrera's agreement beyond June are believed to be on track. Several LaLiga sides are sure to be interested in discussing pre-contract terms in January. He scored six league goals in his first season in 2014-15 and has since shown glimpses of being a useful asset under different circumstances.
Full-backs out the door?
The contracts of defensive trio Ashley Young, Antonio Valencia and Matteo Darmian are all running out. The latter appears the likeliest to move on in January with a switch back to Serie A long mooted. Young is eager to stay and his versatility could be coveted by the incoming coach, while club captain Valencia is reportedly on the radar of MLS clubs.