Manchester United midfield departures could accelerate need for new additions
Manchester United could face going into pre-season with only two senior centre midfielders, if a trio of international footballers leave Old Trafford in the coming months.
After sustaining a thigh injury taking a shot in France training, Paul Pogba could be out for up to ten weeks, according to French outlet RMC Sport.
The Frenchman’s injury has left some Manchester United fans predicting that the World Cup winner has already played his last game in a United shirt. His contract expires next June.
With Donny van de Beek remaining on the periphery of the United side and having recently changed his agent, the former Ajax man may pursue a move away from Old Trafford, if his playing time doesn’t significantly increase.
And although Nemanja Matic has a contract until June 2023 (Transfermarkt), the Serbian’s ageing legs will mean the amount of playing time he will get, will continue to reduce at the Theatre of Dreams.
He may decide to seek another challenge in his career, possibly even play under Jose Mourinho for a third time, out in Italy, which is a much slower paced league compared to the frantic tempo of the Premier League.
Only the failure to sign an adequate replacement has so far extended Matic’s United stay.
Solskjaer won’t be left short
Although the Pogba contract situation is out of the club’s control, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, if still in charge, will have to ensure any sanctioned departures don’t leave his side short in midfield.
The Norwegian isn’t likely to stand in Matic’s way, if the Serbian wants to embark on a new chapter, but if Pogba and Matic did depart in the same summer, van de Beek’s chances of following suit would then become very slim.
With his current contract not expiring until 2025 (Transfermarkt), the Dutch international would have to rely on United allowing him to leave.
But if United did allow their £35m (BBC Sport) signing to leave alongside Pogba and Matic, it would leave us with only Scott McTominay and Fred in midfield.
The likes of Andreas Pereira, James Garner, Dylan Levitt and Ethan Galbraith would have all been away on loan and Hannibal Mejbri would have had another year to stake his first team claim.
But United’s midfield would be threadbare if Matic, Pogba, and Van de Beek depart.
Although, it is expected that the club will target a specialist defensive midfielder to significantly improve the team’s spine, regardless of whether there are any outgoings or not.
There could be massive upheaval in Manchester United’s midfield over the next ten months, with major question marks over three midfielders.
This should accelerate United’s overdue need for new additions in the position, in both January and next summer.
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