10 players United should not have let go in the post Ferguson era

It is safe to say that the transfer of players in and out of the club has not really been an area of expertise for Manchester United ever since Sir Alex Ferguson retired alongside then Chief Executive David Gill. Current CEO Ed Woodward have made countless blunders that has made him and the club a laughing stock to others. And in this 7 years, United have sold or let go some of their players in questionable circumstances. They got a lot of them wrong. Here are 10 players that United should have never let go:

Patrice Evra (Juventus, Summer 2014)

I think its apt to start this series with a club legend and the farcical way in which he was sold. Evra signed a new 1 year contract with United on 23rd May, 2014. Fast forward 2 months, and he was on his way to Juventus for a measly fee of £1.7 million. United did sign a teenage Luke Shaw that season. But it would’ve made a lot of sense to keep Evra at the club to mentor the youngster for a season or two.

Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace, Summer 2015)

Zaha never got a chance at United

It is hard to believe that the last player Ferguson signed for the club only ever played 4 matches for United. Zaha didn’t get his chances for United under David Moyes. He didn’t get his chances under Louis Van Gaal and was eventually sold to Crystal Palace for £3.5m, £7m less than the price United paid the same club to acquire him.

Rafael Da Silva (Olympique Lyon, Summer 2015)

Van Gaal didn’t fancy Rafael

Rafael played 40 matches for United in the triumphant 12-13 season, which is still the best season he ever had in his playing career. He played 29 matches in the following season under David Moyes. Then he played just 11 matches in Van Gaal’s first season at United. In his own words, “Actually, it was the second thing because on the first day, he did not speak to me. On the second day, he said, ‘You can leave.’ I had not even trained and he said that. I could not believe it… He did not explain why.”

Jonny Evans (West Bromwich Albion, Summer 2015)

Evans is still playing in the Premier League

Jonny Evans was arguably United’s best centre back after Vidic and Ferdinand when they were still at the club. Yet for some reason, he fell out of favor with Van Gaal. He played just 17 times in the 14-15 season. However, United lost just once in the league when he played. How and why Van Gaal preferred Tyler Blackett and Paddy McNair over him is a mystery only he can solve. Blackett and McNair have never played in the Premier League after leaving United, yet Evans is still playing at the top tier of English football consistently. Also, Ed Woodward sanctioned his sale for just a measly £7.5m, which was even more baffling.

Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez (Bayer Leverkusen, Summer 2015)

Chicharito is loved at Old Trafford

Chicharito was the ultimate goal poacher. Loaning him out in the summer of 2014 made sense as United had Van Persie, Rooney and an upcoming James Wilson. Add to that the signing of Falcao. However, in 2015 United sold Van Persie, Falcao had left, Rooney was a basically an attacking midfielder and Wilson had faded. United signed a teenage forward Martial that season. Surely having a senior forward who scored a lot of goals and impacted games from the bench would’ve helped the club a lot that season. At least it would’ve saved us from watching Marouane Fellaini playing as a center forward.

Angel Di Maria (Paris Saint-Germain, Summer 2015)

United really did mess up a lot in 2015 in terms of selling players. And the most high profile of them was definitely Angel Di Maria. There is a myth among many that Di Maria flopped at Old Trafford. The truth can’t be far from that. Di Maria started 20 Premier League matches and made a further 7 appearances as a substitute. He had 3 goals and 11 assists in those few games. A great tally for the then club record signing. United sold him after just 1 season for a considerable loss. There was definitely a far better resolution to his situation, which the club couldn’t find. However, United fans are right to despise him as much as they do for his part in leaving United.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Arsenal, Winter 2018)

Mkhitaryan’s exit was bizarre

Mkhitaryan for the most part of his United career (which was a very short one), looked a very good player. He could play from the right or from the middle. And yet, for some reason Mourinho and the club decided to swap him for Alexis Sanchez. As good as Sanchez was, he was a left winger added to a squad already strong in that department. It was just a bizarre transfer that made little to no sense for any of the parties involved.

Daley Blind (Ajax, Summer 2018)

Blind was a versatile player

Daley Blind was just a wonderful footballer. Brought into the club to be a replacement for Michael Carrick, he quickly ended up a versatile option for both Van Gaal and Mourinho. When he did play as a centre back, his ball playing skills often meant United had creativity from the last line of defence. For some reason, Blind was sold by United before the likes of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo. At a time when United are actively looking for a ball playing left footed centre back, how they wish they had Daley Blind at his peak.

Ander Herrera (Paris Saint-Germain, Summer 2019)

Herrera left on a free in 2019

Herrera arrived at United on the summer of 2014. And every manager ever since loved having him in the team. Herrera was a combative midfielder who loved playing for the club. Although his form was often inconsistent, he was still a valuable member of the squad. Solskjaer wanted to keep him at the club. And Ed Woodward and the club messed it up. Letting him leave on a free transfer just added salt to the wound.

Angel Gomes (Lille, Summer 2020)

Angel Gomes is a highly talented youngster

Manchester United have let go a serious talent in Angel Gomes for absolutely nothing. Gomes, who joined Lille on a free transfer, is currently on loan at Boavista in Portugal. And he is flying in his first full season of senior football. He has 3 goals and 4 assists in 5 appearances in the Portuguese Liga NOS. Last season, Solskjaer continued to pick out of form Lingard or Pereira to play ahead of Gomes. Maybe a bit more playing time would’ve assured him to sign the new contract with United. However, the club has their fair share of part to play in the situation as well. Gomes is one of many United players who wanted to stay at the club (and the manager wanted them to stay too) but was made to wait till months left on their contract when either the club started negotiations about a new one or were told to find a new one. How can a club of the stature of Manchester United let it happen?

Author: Ayan Jana

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