|Image from the Metro|
Manchester United had announced on July 1st that attacking midfielder Angel Gomes had left the club after rejecting a reported contract offer of £30,000 a week. Gomes had been seen over the last few years as a promising youth player who would break through into the first team to become a key player. With him now gone, will United rue the chance in letting Gomes leave in the years to come as they did with Paul Pogba in 2012?
Contract negotiations had been taking place for months beforehand and at one point it looked increasingly likely that he would sign a new contract with the club. His last appearance for the first team came in the 4-0 win back in January against Norwich where he was on the pitch for the last ten minutes of the game. He had not featured in the match day squad since the return of the 2019/20 Premier League season back in June.
Gomes had grown concerned by the lack of game time in the first team and it probably was one of the likely factors in his decision to seek pastures new. During the contract negotiations, The Athletic reported, “sources say Solskjaer has reassured Gomes that opportunities would be forthcoming”.
Having been at the club since the age of six, there was a big hope for this promising young talent. However, when assessing the opportunities he has had you would say he has not had enough chances to prove what he can do in the first team. Equally though, in the games he did feature he had not do enough to convince Solskjaer to give him a longer run in the side.
Gomes had a great pre-season before the start of the 2019/20 season with United fans excited at the prospect of what might be to come from him. Pre-seasons are for getting players minutes on the pitch and to build up on their fitness, and so does not really convey how a player’s form will be when the season begins. If you take a look at the difference that Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood impact on the first team has been. They had both overtaken Gomes to stake their places in the side. Even Brandon Williams, another promising talented player who was given a chance this season remains in the side.
It was not through a lack of trying that United wanted to keep Gomes as they offered him a lucrative contract despite being a player who had been relatively untested. When it came to giving first team opportunities, there had been difference of opinions between Solskjaer and Gomes as The Athletic reported, “Solskjaer rates Gomes highly but has different views on his readiness for first-team football, particularly given the high stakes involved as United look to qualify for the Champions League and challenge for two trophies over the coming weeks”.
In the press conference before Tuesday’s game against Brighton, Solskjaer said, “Angel is a top kid we’ve had at the club for so many years”. He went on to say that if Gomes did not sign a new contract, then he wished him well for the future. You could read this as the writing was on the wall for his departure but with the door slightly left open if Gomes did want to return back to the club.
With any promising young player, there does come a point when you cannot rely on reputation and potential alone. At 19, turning 20 he is still in that category but when given the opportunities, Gomes did not stand out enough to warrant more first team chances.
United may end up regretting letting Gomes leave if he goes on to make an impact with another club. He has been linked with Chelsea and others who have just as much competition for places. If we take the case of Paul Pogba, he left United back in 2012 to join Juventus where he made 124 appearances for the Turin club scoring 28 goals and being lauded as one of the best midfielders in the world. United then had to pay a record fee at the time of £89.3 million to bring Pogba.
At the end of the day, what mattered most to Gomes was getting more first team opportunities which I perfectly understand. There is a slight tinge of sadness that he has left the club and the way things have turned out. If he had been playing more and impressing as well, it would be a very different story and us fans would be questioning why United had let him go. However, we will move on from this. Personally, I want players who want to commit to United and willing to give everything on the pitch. I wish Gomes all the best and I do hope he becomes the player we know he can be.