The Old Trafford summer exodus has begun with a clutch of players waving goodbye to Man United but new boss Erik ten Hag looks close to be welcoming a couple of new major additions
Manchester United have confirmed that Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic and Juan Mata are among a lengthy list of 11 players to depart the club this summer with the club’s retained list having been announced.
The trio have already been confirmed to be leaving Old Trafford following the 2021/22 campaign – United’s worst in the Premier League from a points perspective. They are joined by veterans Edinson Cavani, Lee Grant, Paul McShane and academy graduate Jesse Lingard – the England international having not put pen to paper on fresh terms.
Whilst established first-teams stars are set to depart, there is also a vast number of young players saying farewell, too. D’Mani Bughail-Mellor, Reece Devine, Connor Stanley and Paul Woolston leave the club at the end of their respective contracts.
In the meantime, Martin Svidersky was offered a new deal to stay with the club but has decided to depart, whilst the Red Devils have exercised the option currently written into Dylan Levitt’s contract. The departures leave incoming boss Erik ten Hag with just 21 players in his senior squad – albeit loan returnees such as Anthony Martial, Donny van de Beek and Brandon Williams set to add to that number next season.
Whilst there has already been a vast number of departures as ten Hag takes control of the side this summer, it appears that the Dutchman is closing in on his first incoming transfers as Man Utd manager. Barcelona star Frenkie de Jong continues to be linked with a move to Old Trafford, whilst Ajax’s Antony has also emerged as an option for the Red Devils.
The Dutch midfielder has discussed the topic of a move to Manchester over the phone over the past few weeks, with Ten Hag having detailed his specific role at the club. It remains to be seen whether they can reach an agreement with Spanish giants Barcelona though.
Elsewhere, Antony could be set to arrive at Old Trafford sooner rather than later to complete a dream double swoop for the new manager. Reports have suggested that his representatives have flown to Europe in an effort to accelerate a switch – a fee of £51million (€60m) potentially being enough to see Ajax cash-in on one of their star assets.
Former Red Devil Quinton Fortune has suggested that the club need to sign the right profile of player this summer as they attempt to get back on track under ten Hag. He said: “It doesn’t have to be big names. It’s got to be the right characters to fit into the culture of Manchester United.
“That is the thing to achieve again. It is very important. Not every single player will have to be better to coach but the humility bit is what has got United so much success.
“Yes, the teams I played in had individual characters but, when it came down to the team, there was so much humility in what they did and their work in winning the Champions League and championships but then they just came in ready to work again. So, for me, it’s the right characters.”