Manchester United is broken. It has been a toy in the hands of its owners, and since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson the battery has run out. Millionaire signings like those of Jadon Sancho or the return of Cristiano Ronaldo do not work. Similarly, the Old Trafford bench has been paraded by coaches with excellent resumes who have ended up leaving through the back door. Neither Louis van Gaal, nor José Mourinho, nor Ralf Rangnick, among others, have been able to prevent the English giant from shrinking. The direction of the club has been a nonsense. Such has been the drift of the Mancunians, that the announcement of the arrival of another of the best European coaches, Erik ten Hag, does not arouse illusion but rather empathy. He leaves his home and a secure job to enter the shredder that his future club has become. You have work aheadas his predecessor Rangnick already announced after Tuesday’s debacle at Anfield: “It has been embarrassing, disappointing. It has been a humiliation. If you analyze the situation, it is not easy. I am clear that there will be six, seven, eight, maybe even ten new players. But before you sign those players you need to know how you want to play.”
The uncertainty is understandable. What is easier to foresee is the renovation that the Dutchman will have to do in the Manchester United dressing room. Juan Mata, Edinson Cavani, Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard end their contract at the end of this course, and the surprise would be if any of them decided to renew their relationship with the Mancunian club. Except for Pogba, the other three do not have minutes, while the French midfielder will try to take advantage of what he has to win a transfer to another club. Nemanja Matic recently announced on social media that he would be changing venues this summer.
In addition to these five exits, more or less clear, there are several players whose future hangs in the balance. Ten Hag will have to make a decision. This is the case of goalkeeper Dean Henderson. He stood out in his loan spell at Sheffield United two seasons ago, but at Old Trafford he lives in the shadow of De Gea, who will receive Manchester United’s best player award for the fifth consecutive season. Something unusual. Ten Hag already asked to take him on loan to Ajax in January, so we will have to see what his bet is on the goal. All the sides of the team are for sale, none of them have their place secured. Not Alex Telles, not Diogo Dalot, not Aaron Wan-Bissaka, not Brandon Williams. The Spaniards Marc Jurado and Álvaro Fernández are the bet for the future, but they need to continue baking before making the leap to the first team, they are 18 and 19 years old respectively. Another young Spaniard, Pau Torres, likes it at Old Trafford. The man from Villarreal helped his club beat the English in last season’s Europa League final, and several Premier League clubs are following him closely.
It is urgent to find an outlet for Phil Jones, who has only played five league games in two seasons and his contract expires in the summer of 2023. Eric Bailly, who arrived from Villarreal, is not comfortable with Harry Maguire being the team captain. This course he has played more times with his national team, Ivory Coast, than with his club.
Marcus Rashford was going for franchise player, but stalled. He adds fewer minutes this campaign, but the ones he has had he has not been able to take advantage of them either. After the resounding defeat in the derby against Manchester City, rumors arose about his interest in leaving and that of other clubs in receiving him. He is still young, 24 years old, and has room for improvement. It remains to be seen if he is capable, and if he sees that he can continue to grow at Old Trafford. His contract expires next summer, so it is urgent to make a decision about it. Renew it or sell it. Another frustrated attacker is Anthony Martial, who arrived as a promise from Monaco and is on loan at Sevilla and intends to leave the Red Devils as soon as possible. That said, Erik ten Hag has a job this summer.