Players that will leave United once their contracts expires next month

Paul Pogba, Edinson Cavani, Jesse Lingard, Nemanja Matic and Lee Grant will all leave when their contracts expire next month and Juan Mata is likely to join them, though there could yet be a late U-turn on his future once talks are held with the new manager.

But that’s not all, Dean Henderson is closing in on a move to Newcastle, Aaron Wan-Bissaka is free to leave and the futures of Ronaldo, Anthony Martial, Donny van de Beek, Eric Bailly, Phil Jones and even Marcus Rashford all remain uncertain.

Even though United are in need of a clearout, a reset, losing that amount of players in one fell swoop will mean plenty of funds will need to be spent on quality as well as quantity. Two midfielders, a centre-back, right-back, winger and striker are all on the agenda this summer and it will be costly to recruit all of them.

Midfield is the area which especially needs strengthening. It’s been a position of torment for the club for some time but has been repeatedly neglected in favour of lavish spending elsewhere.

Thankfully, United have finally acknowledged it and made the position their priority this summer, which is just as well since Ten Hag will need quality passers and ball carriers for his favoured style to work.

There has been interest in Frenkie de Jong and Kalvin Phillips and countless others have been linked but regardless of whether they get them or not – the club should be doing everything they can to sign Christian Eriksen. A world-class midfielder who will likely be available for nothing this summer

Eriksen made a remarkable return to football this year, just a few months on from suffering a terrifying heart attack on the pitch while representing Denmark at Euro 2020.

At that point, as his courageous teammates huddled around him to block out the prying cameras, it seemed as though it’d be a miracle if he opened his eyes again. Mercifully, he not only did that, but went on to make a full recovery.

Manchester United have started Erik ten Hag’s appointment with a contract mistake

After being forced to leave Inter due to strict laws against playing in Italy if a player has a defibrillator device implanted in their body, the playmaker returned to England with Brentford in January until the end of the season.

In just 11 games for the Bees, he has firmly established himself as their best ever player, grabbing a goal and four assists and wowing supporters with his dazzling ability on the ball.

Eriksen has proven beyond a doubt, despite everything he’s been through, that he remains a sublime player who can play at the highest level. That hasn’t gone unnoticed. Though Brentford are desperate to keep hold of the Dane, and remain hopeful of doing so, several big clubs are now circling.

So they should be. In fact, pretty much every top side in the Premier League should be interested, it’s not every day a player of Eriksen’s quality is available for nothing. United, especially, should be trying to convince him to move to Old Trafford

Eriksen has all the qualities – accurate passing, confidence in tight spaces, great crossing, ingenuity – that United lack and the ones that Ten Hag wants in his midfield.

With Pogba, Lingard and possibly Mata all leaving, United are losing a considerable helping of creative spark in attacking areas and the 30-year-old would provide it in spades. All for nothing.

Sadly, Tottenham seems to be a much more likely destination. He has a great affinity with Spurs having spent seven years there, after a slow start he eventually performed well for Antonio Conte as Inter won Serie A in 2021 and, crucially, they can offer Champions League football.

But that’s no reason to give up before the race begins and United should do all they can to try to win it.


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