Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Man Utd exit sanctioned by Ten Hag sparks mass bewilderment – ‘I thought he had something’

Man Utd manager Erik ten Hag

The wisdom in Manchester United allowing a thriving attacker to leave the club has been called into question by Micah Richards and Gary Lineker.

The Red Devils oversaw major change in the summer transfer window, with seven first-team stars arriving. Sergio Reguilon and Sofyan Amrabat joined via the loan route. Elsewhere, Jonny Evans signed a one-year contract after impressing while on trial in pre-season.

The goalkeeping department was overhauled with Altay Bayindir now providing back-up to Andre Onana. Big fees were paid to sign Mason Mount (£55m) and Rasmus Hojlund (£72m including add-ons).

Plenty of exits crossed the line too, with Dean Henderson, Alex Telles, Eric Bailly, Fred and Anthony Elanga just five players Man Utd collected fees for.

Elanga’s exit to Nottingham Forest was unsurprising in a way due to the fact he rarely got a look-in in the forward line.

However, aged just 21, his best years lay ahead and the decision to cash in has been taken apart by Gary Lineker and Micah Richards.

When speaking on The Rest is Football podcast, the pundits ran the rule over Elanga and both admitted their surprise at the Sweden international being let go.

“Elanga coming to the club, somewhere he was surplus to requirements,” Richards began.

“I quite liked him at Manchester United, I thought he had something,” added Lineker. “I just thought he had something about him. I was surprised they let him go actually.”

Richards concurred: “I was surprised as well. He has scored a couple and played really well. Some good celebrations as well!”

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Were Man Utd correct to cash in?

Man Utd generated £15m through the winger’s sale, though their own crop of wide forwards have struggled mightily this term.

Marcus Rashford, Alejandro Garnacho and Antony have scored just one Premier League goal between them in 30 appearances this season.

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Mason Greenwood was turfed out to Getafe on loan, while Jadon Sancho has been frozen out at Old Trafford amid an ongoing dispute with his manager.

Elanga, meanwhile, has scored twice and provided three assists for Forest in the league so far and his electric pace regularly causes defenders nightmares.

In hindsight, selling Elanga does look a mistake, though you must question whether he is the calibre of player United require to get back to where they feel they belong.

With Sir Jim Ratcliffe poised to assume full sporting control and eager to oversee a squad reset, it stands to reason Elanga may have been on borrowed time if staying anyway.

Of course, if Elanga continues to develop at the City Ground and goes on to become a potent Premier League force, Man Utd will look back at their decision in 2023 with regret.

Only time will tell whether United were right to twist rather than stick.

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