Manchester United are in desperate need of a rebuild in this summer’s transfer window and that will start with some big names leaving Old Trafford. Some of those big names may well depart on free transfers when their contracts expire.
The rebuild is badly needed after a disappointing season that has seen United continue their trophy-less run, deliver poor results and suffer from utter turmoil off the pitch.
Player recruitment at the club has been heavily criticized in recent years as poor overspending has resulted in an aging and unbalanced squad with a large salary bill. Contract mismanagement also means that five veteran players are currently set to leave for free.
With rumors that Ajax’s Erik Ten Hag will take over as manager at the end of the season, and current caretaker boss Ralf Rangnick set to move into a consulting role, it remains unclear whether the next manager would want to keep any of his out- contract stars.
With a mix of big stars and aging squad options, the five players going free could prove valuable elsewhere. These are the ones United are willing to lose for nothing.
United’s record signing has been potpourri in midfield since leaving Juventus and returning to Old Trafford in an £89m deal in 2016.
While he scored in the 2017 Europa League final and became the PFA Team of the Year in 2018-19, pundits and fans alike have always been divided on Pogba, who is often called a player of luxury.
There is still a chance the 29-year-old could agree to a new contract, but he may be more inclined with a fresh start elsewhere and he has been linked with a free transfer to Real Madrid and Paris-Saint Germain.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s former assistant Rene Meulensteen, who was on the coaching staff during Pogba’s first spell at United, recently criticized the midfield star.
“Failure is a great word, but has it lived up to the hype? I don’t think so,” Meulensteen told Astro Sports. “I knew what the expectations were when I came back, to compete for the Premier League and the Champions League.
“Not everything has clicked with the players around him or with the system, does it really suit the Premier League?
“What frustrated me a bit is that Paul has never expressed his commitment to United. He never came out and said he will bring United back to where he belongs.
“There have always been issues about his future and that doesn’t sit well with the fans. It’s not just one player though, there are plenty more issues that need to be addressed before United get back on the right track. Since he came back, it hasn’t really happened for him or for United. I think he will leave now.”
Despite possessing so much talent, his time at United will not be fondly remembered if he leaves this summer.
READ: Where are they now? The Man Utd U23 team from Paul Pogba’s last match
Lingard looked set to leave Old Trafford last summer after a successful loan spell at West Ham, but Manchester United turned down the London club’s offers.
Despite deciding to keep the England international, United managers have hardly given him many chances during 2021-22.
Another unsuccessful departure in January saw Lingard waste the final year of his contract on the bench, while United passed up what could have been a formidable transfer fee last summer.
With just one Premier League start all season, it’s no wonder he’s unhappy.
After scoring 17 goals in all competitions in a successful debut campaign at United, Cavani received a contract extension from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The extension has been a disaster.
In an injury-plagued campaign, the 34-year-old has only managed six league starts, scoring just twice in that time, and some fans have questioned his commitment to the club.
The signing of Cristiano Ronaldo in the summer meant Cavani’s starting role as a striker was in jeopardy and having two high-paid veterans fighting for a place epitomizes poor decision-making at United.
El Matador is certain to depart England this summer and is rumored to have a move to Spain in mind as his next destination.
His time at United will be mixed, as he brought the magic in his first season.
WHAT A CAVANI GOAL 🤯🤯pic.twitter.com/hS10GIc8yX
– Football AM (@SoccerAM) May 18, 2021
Juan Mata |
Mata, one of the nicest lads in football, finally seems ready to leave United nine years after he joined Chelsea.
The 33-year-old hasn’t been a regular starter for a number of years but still remained at the club under six different managers.
Mata is remembered more for his three-year spell at Chelsea than his nine-year spell at United, which pretty much sums it up.
READ: Seven reasons why Juan Mata has a place in the heart of every soccer fan
The 39-year-old substitute goalkeeper signed for United in 2018 and has not played a minute in the league since then.
Grant’s time at the club will come to an end this summer with no new contract on the horizon, and he looks set to retire after a 20-year career.
Currently the fourth choice goalkeeper behind David De Gea, Dean Henderson and Tom Heaton, his departure will be no cause for tears for United fans.
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