Manchester United announced the club’s annual released players list on Friday afternoon.
There were a number of predictable names on the list, like Arnau Puigmal – who had already announced his departure on social media.
And there was what we would class as one surprise, even if we can see the logic in it. Here is a look at our run through of the eight players United plan to release…
Eight to be released by United
Iestyn Hughes: The young right-back’s departure was already known. He has signed with Leicester City. United are stacked at his position and this opens up extra opportunities for Marc Jurado.
Mark Helm: Helm began the season promisingly and featured frequently for the under-23s. However he did not look to have much hope of making it at first team level for United so his departure was understandable.
Aliou Traore: Once promising midfielder Aliou Traore said last summer he wanted to play first team football. United granted him a loan at Ligue 2 side Caen, where he struggled to impress.
Sergio Romero: It was inevitable Romero would be leaving. At the same time it is a sad day for a great servant to the club who won the Europa League in 2017. With one of Dean Henderson or David de Gea likely to leave, it would have been prudent to keep Romero, but really he deserves this opportunity to go and play somewhere, as he is good enough to be a number one.
Joel Pereira: If United could have released Pereira last summer then the club would have done. He has just had a pointless loan at Huddersfield Town where he played two games all season and conceded 11 goals.
Jacob Carney: This one was the surprise, with two other goalkeepers also leaving. Carney has just impressed on his third loan spell, in the Northern Irish top flight. At just 20, he has potential, and will be snapped up quickly.
Max Taylor: United had already announced Taylor’s departure. The young centre-back is looking for a new club and said he would consider a move abroad.
Arnau Puigmal: The talented Spaniard was good enough to stay but he has been linked with a return to his homeland since the start of 2021. He might one day make United regret not giving him a first team chance.
In negotiations with three
United had the option to release three more players and have chosen to extend discussions, and take a little more time. Last summer this was the case with Angel Gomes, and he left anyway.
Juan Mata: The ball is in Mata’s court here as United want to do right by him. If he wants a new challenge where he will play more, United will let him go. But should he want to stick around, then the club will hand him a one year extension.
This feels overly sentimental because it would block the path of talented youngsters like Hannibal and Shola Shoretire. But it is best not to over react as Mata may pursue a new direction where he will play more.
Lee Grant: With Tom Heaton coming in this seems bizarre to potentially extend Grant’s deal.
The rationale behind it will be if one of Henderson or De Gea leaves. Heaton would move to number two, and Lee Grant will be number three. This allows Nathan Bishop to head out on loan. With other stoppers like Romero leaving, United won’t want to be having to sign an extra-back-up behind Heaton, so Grant could stick around one more year.
Paul Woolston: United are looking to do the right thing by Woolston. While he was likely heading for a release, he suffered a torn ACL earlier this year. United may extend his contract to help his recovery.
Dermot Mee: United have activated an extension for young goalkeeper Dermot Mee. The 18-year-old has featured on and off for the under-18s this season and could get a chance next year to play for the under-23s.
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