Jesse Lingard leaving Manchester United for free this summer is undoubtedly a blow to the finances of the club and was certainly avoidable.
But the Red Devils don’t appear to have learned their lesson as Erik ten Hag is en route to repeating the mistakes of his predecessors.
Lingard thrived last season out on loan at West Ham, and it was no great shock that David Moyes’ side wanted to make the move permanent last summer. But their offers were rebuffed.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insisted that the England international would be part of his plans that season, though Lingard hardly featured before the Norwegian was sacked.
But when transfer interest arrived in January, again, to try and negotiate a cut-price deal for the Red Devils academy product before his contract expired, it was the same old story – despite the player signalling his intentions by not renewing his contract – and false promises now meant that United are losing a £18million player for free.
Similarly, if Ten Hag does not play his cards right then he could lose Andreas Pereira next season for nothing rather than bolstering his transfer budget this summer.
The Brazilian is reportedly keen to make his loan move to Flamengo permanent, but ESPN reports that if that deal falls through then the new manager wants the midfielder to return to Old Trafford and be part of his squad.
Pereira recently spoke after there was speculation that Flamengo may not make the move permanent. He told Globo Esporte: “I don’t pay much attention to these things, but everyone knows that I prioritised Flamengo. Everyone in the club knows this. It’s hard for me to talk about my own value, but a Manchester United player for 10 million euros… Should I be cheaper? I’m doing my best, but I can’t say if it’s too expensive or cheap.
“I’m calm and focused. I know there’s this indecision. I also have to talk about it with the people close to me, and on the pitch I’m calm. I know it can be resolved in a month, at the end before I leave, but I’m calm and always thinking about the next game.”
Of course, there will be a difference in price valuations between Lingard and Pereira, but the underlying factor remains that both could leave the club for free despite there being obvious signs that their heart no longer lies with United.
But if Ten Hag rolls the dice and brings Pereira back then there is a higher likelihood that he renews his contract, if one is put on the table, assuming the 26-year-old has opportunities.
Ten Hag is expected to orchestrate a major shakeup at The Theatre of Dreams, with several players already departing. Therefore, the chance to bump up his budget by selling Pereira is not to be sniffed at unless he really does believe the former PSV academy star can make an impact.