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5 players set to leave Man Utd on a free this summer: Pogba, Lingard…

Manchester United are in desperate need of a rebuild in this summer’s transfer window and that will start with some big names leaving Old Trafford. A few of those big names may well depart on free transfers as their contracts expire.

The rebuild is much needed after a disappointing season that has seen United continue their trophyless streak, pick up poor results and suffer complete turmoil off the pitch.

Player recruitment at the club has been heavily criticised in recent years, as poor heavy spending has resulted in an imbalanced, ageing squad with a large wage bill. Contract mismanagement also means five senior players are currently set to depart for free.

With Ajax’s Erik Ten Hag rumoured to be taking the manager’s role at the end of the season, and current interim boss Ralf Rangnick set to move into a consultancy role, it is still unclear whether the next manager would want to keep any of his out-of-contract stars.

With a mixture of top stars and ageing squad options, the five players set to depart for free could prove to be valuable assets elsewhere. Here’s who United are set to lose for nothing.

Paul Pogba

United’s record signing has been marmite in midfield since he left Juventus and returned to Old Trafford in an £89million deal in 2016.

While he scored in the 2017 Europa League final and made the PFA Team of the Year in 2018-19, pundits and fans have always been divided about Pogba, who is often called a luxury player.

There is still a chance the 29-year-old agrees to a new contract, but he may be more inclined with a fresh start elsewhere and has been linked with a free transfer to Real Madrid and Paris-Saint Germain.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s former assistant Rene Meulensteen, who was on the coaching staff during Pogba’s first spell at United, recently criticised the midfield star.

“Failure is a big word but has he lived up to the expectations? I don’t think so,” Meulensteen told Astro Sports. “He knew what the expectations were when he came back, to compete for the Premier League and the Champions League.

“Not everything has clicked with the players around him or the system, does he actually suit the Premier League?

“What frustrated me a little bit is Paul has never really outspoken his commitment to United. He’s never come out there and said he’s going to bring United back to where they belong.

“There’s always been issues over his future and that doesn’t sit well with the fans. It’s not just one player though, there’s many more issues that need to be addressed before United are going to get back on the right track. Since he’s come back it hasn’t really happened for him or United. I think he will leave now.”

Despite possessing so much talent, his time at United will not be remembered too fondly should he depart this summer.

Paul Pogba playing for Manchester United against Wolves. Old Trafford, Manchester, March 2012.

READ: Where are they now? Man Utd’s U23 team from Paul Pogba’s last game

Jesse Lingard

Lingard looked set to depart Old Trafford last summer after a successful loan spell at West Ham but Manchester United rejected offers from the London club.

Despite deciding to keep the England international, United’s managers have hardly given him many opportunities during 2021-22.

Another failed departure in January has seen Lingard waste the final year of his contract on the bench, whilst United passed up what could have been a formidable transfer fee last summer.

With just one Premier League start all campaign, it’s no wonder he’s unhappy.

Edinson Cavani

After scoring 17 goals in all competitions in a successful debut campaign at United, Cavani was given a contract extension under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The extension has been a disaster.

In a campaign plagued by injury, the 34-year-old has only managed six league starts, scoring just twice in that time, and some fans have questioned his commitment to the club.

The signing of Cristiano Ronaldo in the summer meant that Cavani’s starting role as a striker was in jeopardy and having two veterans on high salaries fighting it out for one position sums up the poor decision making at United.

El Matador is certain to depart England this summer and is rumoured to have a move to Spain in mind for his next destination.

His time at United will go down as mixed, as he did bring the magic in his first season.

Juan Mata

One of the nicest guys in football, Mata finally looks set to leave United nine years after he joined from Chelsea.

The 33-year-old has not been a regular starter for a number of years but nevertheless remained at the club under six different managers.

Mata is more remembered for his three-year spell at Chelsea than his nine-year spell at United, which just about sums it up.

Manchester United's Juan Mata celebrates scoring against Fulham at Old Trafford, Manchester, 08 December 2018

READ: Seven reasons why Juan Mata has a place in every football fan’s heart

Lee Grant

The 39-year-old backup goalkeeper signed for United in 2018 and has not played a single league minute since.

Grant’s time at the club will be coming to an end this summer with no new contract on the horizon, and he looks set for retirement after a 20-year career.

Currently the fourth choice keeper behind David De Gea, Dean Henderson and Tom Heaton, his departure will not be a tearful one for United fans.


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