A huge crop of players are set to depart Old Trafford this summer at the end of their contracts and the mass walk-out could signal the anticipated start of the Erik ten Hag era at Old Trafford
Ahead of taking the reins at Manchester United next season, it appears that a number of decisions have already been made for incoming boss Erik ten Hag.
A vast array of the current squad have been forced to depart Old Trafford this summer with their contracts up. As many as 11 Red Devils have waved goodbye to the club at the conclusion of the 2021/22 season – all signed under different managers.
Whilst some have said emotional farewells, with others departing with a sense of what might have been, the mass overhaul might well give ten Hag the perfect opportunity to kick off his tenure in earnest – and give a clean break to those who have gone before. With that being said, Mirror Sport takes a detailed look at the players who have been allowed to leave Old Trafford this summer – and whether they will be missed at Old Trafford:
One of the headline departures is of course former record signing Paul Pogba. The French midfielder was brought back to Old Trafford from Juventus in the summer of 2016 for £ 89m with the hope that his signing would signal a period of domestic dominance alongside the arrival of serial winner Jose Mourinho.
However, Pogba never quite managed to hit the expected heights of him back at Old Trafford. Barring a few stand-out performances, the World Cup winner never really found a consistent run of form with the club.
After failing to agree to fresh terms over an extended stay, he will now leave on a free transfer, with former club Juventus emerging as the most likely suitors for his services.
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Pogba has been joined by fellow midfielder Nemanja Matic in quitting Old Trafford. Now at the age of 33, the experienced Serb has expressed his desire for a new challenge.
Like his midfield colleague, Matic was another to be recruited by Mourinho. The pair had actually enjoyed a productive relationship at Chelsea having lifted the Premier League. Despite having accumulated 189 appearances for the Red Devils, the former Benfica star was not able to lift any silverware at Old Trafford and looks to be on the verge of a move to Italy – AS Roma reportedly interested in him.
It almost seems unfathomable that Juan Mata has been a Man United player for eight-and-a-half seasons with his departure now official. Becoming David Moyes’ final signing at Old Trafford, the classy Spaniard also played under the likes of Louis van Gaal, Mourinho, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and of course Ralf Rangnick.
The former Chelsea man always represented a consistent and reliable part of the Red Devils’ squad – whilst he was a popular player with the fans at Old Trafford. Now at the age of 34, his opportunities for first team football evaporated over the past few seasons.
Despite having been a shrewd addition to the Red Devils’ squad last term – Cavani managed to hit 17 goals in all competitions last term – the Uruguayan has not managed to replicate that output this time around. Due to a string of injuries, he only managed 20 appearances in all competitions, scoring twice.
Now at the age of 35, it is expected that he could be set for a return to South America. Boca Juniors have regularly been linked with swooping for his services.
After sparkling with West Ham United during the second-half of the 2020/21 season, Lingard was expected to be rewarded with a more prominent first-team role with his parent club. That failed to materialize though.
The Man Utd academy graduate made just four starts for the Red Devils last term with his output taking a blow as a result. Now at the age of 29, the decision has been made for both parties to go separate ways.
Lingard will be hoping to reignite his career and is unlikely to be short of admirers with clubs both in the Premier League and abroad interested in making a move for his services.
Signed from Stoke City on an initial two-year deal, veteran goalkeeper Lee Grant has filled his remit of providing competition in the club’s goalkeeping department. In fact, he was afforded an extra two years on top of his original contract.
In his time with the Red Devils, Grant was only actually afforded two first-team outings – one of which being a Carabao Cup clash with former side Derby County. He has now made the decision to retire and has joined Ipswich Town as a first-team coach.
Another to hang up his boots at the end of the campaign, McShane has been part of the United set-up since 2021. He acted as a playing coach within the club’s Academy – the defender himself having progressed through the club’s famed youth system for nearly two decades ago.
Unlike Grant though, the former defender is set to remain with the Red Devils as he continues his development as a coach.
A promising member of the Red Devils’ academy set-up, the 21-year-old has found the net on a number of occasions for the club’s youth team this term. However, his first venture into senior football did not really go as planned.
The Manchester-born forward was only afforded three appearances for loan club Salford City – all from the substitutes’ bench – before returning to Old Trafford. His only senior appearance for the Red Devils came during a Europa League clash against Astana and he will now continue his career elsewhere.
Another of United’s promising crop of young players to have been afforded opportunities elsewhere this term was young full-back Devine. He played for Scottish outfit St Johnstone throughout the first-half of the campaign before being allowed to join Walsall in January.
He made eight appearances in League Two but will now be on the lookout for fresh employment ahead of next season.
An exciting young winger, the Redditch-born forward never got a chance to play for the Red Devils’ senior side before his departure. The 20-year-old most recently enjoyed a spell with Atalanta United 2 in the United States of America.
He leaves at the end of his contract.
Unlike his young colleagues, Woolston has been forced into the heartbreaking decision to hang up his boots early. The 23-year-old joined the Red Devils in 2018 having been released by Newcastle United.
A chronic hip injury plagued his time at Old Trafford though and it was confirmed in April would be retiring this summer.
There remains some doubt over the future of Slovakia youth international Svidersky this summer. He confirmed earlier this month that he had turned down the chance to stay at Old Trafford amid the arrival of ten Hag.
However, the club’s official retained list said that he had been offered a new deal so there might well be a suggestion that he could remain as a Red Devil yet.