Last year Manchester United saw Angel Gomes to leave after he decided against not signing a new contract. Prior to this, he had seen his first team chances diminish, with it unclear over whether a lack of chances was down to contract reasons.
The same grey area has surrounded Arnau Puigmal in recent weeks. Has he been overlooked for the first team because his contract is winding down, or is his likely exit because he is frustrated at not getting chances?
Puigmal was one of United’s best players at under-23 level in the first half of the season, scoring seven goals from midfield and also providing three assists.
A report in the MEN on Thursday says Puigmal will be released at the end of the season, as it currently stands.
It’s ambiguous as to whether Puigmal is pushing for an exit or United are not offering him one.
You can see both sides here. Puigmal is very talented, but at 20, he is not in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first team plans. It may simply be fair to let him go.
Puigmal will have looked at Shola Shoretire and Hannibal Mejbri getting praised by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer last month and getting called up to first team training, and wondering, ‘why not him?’.
An aspect of it may be contract related, we will never know. But it is a real shame that Puigmal seems destined to leave.
He has been linked with a return to Spain, with Sport claiming Barcelona are keen. The newspaper described him as an ‘outstanding talent’.
Puigmal wouldn’t walk into Barcelona’s XI. He would have to play for their B team probably. He might be better off signing for a club where he can play regular top flight football – but that’s down to him.
If United wanted to, Puigmal could have been brought forward as a successor to Juan Mata. He’s talented, creative, and can play in multiple positions.
When you look at the paucity of creativity in United’s current side, it’s a failure on the coaching side not to have developed Puigmal and brought him through at first team level by now. So you can’t blame him if he wants to move on.
Whether it’s United’s decision or Puigmal’s, it seems the path to an exit is set, and it’s a real shame.
United supporters reacted with disappointment as the reports over Puigmal’s future emerged…
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