Manchester United are aiming to wipe a whopping £ 80million off their annual wage bill this summer.
That’s the amount the Old Trafford hierarchy plan to save by selling or releasing a mass of expensive, unwanted first-team talent. The arrival of new boss Erik ten Hag from Ajax means a significant overhaul and rebuild of a team battling to finish sixth in the Premier League.
French midfielder Paul Pogba, on £ 275,000 a week, and Uruguayan hitman Edinson Cavani (£ 250,000) are the highest-paid Reds stars definitely departing. The pair are both free transfers as their current deals expire at the end of the campaign.
Other big earners out of contract and set to leave include Spanish playmaker Juan Mata (£ 175,000), Serbian midfielder Nemanja Matic (£ 140,000) and England international Jesse Lingard (£ 110,000). The rest of the ruthless cost-cutting will be completed through the sale of other names still under contract but surplus to Ten Hag’s requirements.
That group consists of Anthony Martial (£ 250,000), Eric Bailly (£ 110,000). Aaron Wan-Bissaka (£ 90,000), Dean Henderson (£ 110,000) and Phil Jones (£ 80,000). That will clear the deck in terms of unwanted personnel for the new Dutch coach – and immediately create a cash boost for incoming transfers as it recoups £ 1.5m in wages every seven days.
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Meanwhile, Ten Hag has held talks with David de Gea over the way he likes his keepers to play out from the back. That has never been one of the Spaniard’s strong points but he had been told it will be an essential part of his Old Trafford revolution. As will the sight of smaller training pitches at United’s Carrington headquarters – to help improve the possession game of the outfield players. Ten Hag has instructed ground staff to mark out half-size pitch areas to replicate playing in more confined spaces.
Despite Ten Hag’s planned cost cuts United interim boss Ralf Rangnick reckons there are still a number of players at Old Trafford who can rebuild their careers under the Dutchman. Rangnick, who will meet Ten Hag face to face imminently, said: “We’ve been in contact via WhatsApp and hopefully we’ll have the opportunity to meet and speak in person, either over the weekend or on Monday morning at the latest. I’m looking forward to speaking with him in person and getting to know him in person.
“I still strongly believe that there are a core of players that are top, that are well worthy and good enough to play for this club and, hopefully, most of those players will still be here next season. If the board, Erik, the scouting department will help them with all the issues that I can bring in to help them.
“If we bring in the right mentality players, the right quality players, I’m positive that we can not only bring this club back on track, but back to the top and this is what it’s all about in the next couple of weeks. Maybe, it will not happen and be possible in one transfer window, but I’m very positive that it can happen in the next two or three windows. “