Omori Forson is set to leave the club already

6 players who rejected a contract at Man Utd – & what happened next

Despite being one of the biggest clubs in the world and the literal dream job for billions of kids – and adults – around the world, players will always walk away from Manchester United on their own accord.

The Red Devils have been famed for their historic academy and rightly so, but the pathway to the first-team is an incredibly difficult one and there are brave young players who have opted to reject fresh terms and leave the club in a bid to kickstart their career elsewhere.

We’ve rounded up six notable examples of players doing just that and checked in on how things ended up for them after such a bold decision.

Omari Forson

The latest to reject a contract with United for pastures new, Forson joined the club in January 2019 and enjoyed a swift ascent through the ranks at youth level, breaking into the first-team setup in 2023-24.

He was taken on the pre-season tour by Erik ten Hag ahead of his second season in charge and was given plenty of minutes to learn from, eventually making his official debut for the club in the FA Cup third round against Wigan, before assisting Kobbie Mainoo on his Premier League debut against Wolves.

With opportunities few and far between, though, and the 19-year-old’s stock high after a breakthrough campaign, he’s turned down a fresh deal offered to him by the club and signed for Serie A outfit Monza, penning a four-year deal. We’re excited to see what the teenager can do in Italy.

Angel Gomes

The crown jewel that never was, hype surrounded Gomes long before his senior Manchester United debut in 2017 and continued to follow him – for good reason.

An absurdly talented midfielder with seemingly no ceiling to his potential, he became the first player born in the 2000s to play in the Premier League when he made his debut as a 16-year-old and would win the Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year award that season.

However, his development was stunted amid managerial changes, with neither Jose Mourinho or Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ever really offering him a consistent pathway into the first team.

After making just 10 appearances for the club, he rejected a new contract in 2020 and left as a free agent, signing for Lille.

Now 23, Gomes is just beginning to blossom in Ligue 1, finishing as the league’s top assisted for 2023-24 and looking every part the wizard he was made out to be, even if some doubted his physicality and size.

READ NEXT: Where are they now? Man Utd’s star-studded 2022 FA Youth Cup winners

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Isak Hansen-Aaroen

In a similar situation to Gomes, Hansen-Aaroen was a tricky attacking midfielder whose potential was absolutely recognised, but a clouded first-team pathway amid managerial changes brought his United career to a premature end.

Snapped up during Solskjaer’s tenure in 2020 after making his senior football debut aged 15 in Norway, Hansen-Aaroen was a part of the FA Youth Cup-winning side of 2022, but joined Werder Bremen permanently in February 2024 with United selling him after it became clear he wouldn’t sign a new deal.

Speaking to Deiche Stube (via Sport Witness) after his move, he explained: “It was time for me to take the next step and go to a club where I could get more opportunities and show how good I am.”

The 19-year-old has made three Bundesliga appearances since making the switch, but next season will be the true test of if the move has paid off.

Paul Pogba

Sir Alex Ferguson was furious with the agent of a young Pogba and felt the player and his representatives had disrespected the club, resulting in his departure on a free transfer in 2012, despite the legendary manager promoting him to the first team to stop that happening.

We all know what happened next. Pogba inevitably blossomed at Juventus over the next four years and returned to United for a world-record £90million fee in 2016.

And while there were moments of sheer brilliance, he ultimately left on a free for Juve once again in 2022, having largely been considered a failure.

He’s currently banned from the game for four years after failing a doping test and it looks like his Juve contract will be terminated prematurely.

At 31, we might’ve seen him kick a ball for the last time already.

Paul Pogba of Juventus FC stucks out his tongue during the Serie A Tim match between Empoli FC and Juventus FC at Stadio Carlo Castellani on September 3, 2023 in Empoli, Italy.

READ: Paul Pogba and seven other big names that failed drug tests

Josh Harrop

Harrop was one of several young players handed his debut in the final game of the 2016-17 Premier League season under Mourinho, famously scoring to put United ahead against Crystal Palace at Old Trafford.

He was offered a new deal at the end of the season following his explosive start to life in the first team, but rejected it and left the club in a bid to find more regular senior football.

Harrop signed for Preston and enjoyed a strong start, but suffered an ACL injury a year into his four-year deal.

Injuries have seriously stunted his progress ever since, but there have been prolific spells in there to hinge off. He’s just spent the second half of the 2023-24 season in League Two with Cheltenham.

Oliver Gill

Son of former chief executive David Gill, Oliver worked his way up through the ranks as a defender and was a regular with the reserves, making the bench as an unnamed substitute for the first team on a few occasions in 2009-10.

He won the Denzil Haroun Reserve Player of the Year award in 2011 and had recently completed a brief loan spell at Bradford City, but turned down a new contract that summer and let his expire in order to leave football altogether and go to university to study economics.

Gill graduated from Durham University and, as of 2017 in an interview with The Independent, was working in assurance for Price Waterhouse Coopers. LinkedIn tells us that he’s currently an Assistant Director at Deloitte, one of the world’s biggest financial firms.