Manchester United is expecting a busy summer transfer window under Erik ten Hag, and the Dutch manager has chosen to let five players depart on free transfers.
Manchester United’s summer transfer plans are already taking shape, with Erik Ten Hag identifying five players to offload.
While United’s immediate goal is to finish in the top four of the Premier League – their chances of qualifying for the Champions League were boosted by a win over Wolves at the weekend – Ten Hag is also planning ahead of his second season at Old Trafford.
The recruitment of a new striker is at the top of the Red Devils’ transfer priority list, while other positions such as goalkeeper and central midfield will be reinforced. However, there will be a number of outgoings at the club.
Ten Hag has already decided on the first five players who will leave, according to the Manchester Evening News. Phil Jones and Axel Tuanzebe are out of contract and will be released.
Meanwhile, Northern Ireland midfielder Ethan Galbraith, 20-year-old midfielder Charlie Wellens, and academy goalkeeper Ondrej Mastny will not be granted new contracts.
Tuanzebe’s situation is an example of what appeared to be a bright United career fizzling out. As he progressed through the Carrington ranks, the former England youth international was identified as a player with great ability.
Tuanzebe was even identified as a prospective captain candidate by both Harry Maguire – whose own future as club captain is unknown – and former United manager and striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
“We have a lot of leaders in the dressing room, a lot of senior pros,” Maguire stated in 2021. “You don’t have to be a senior professional to be a leader.” Axel is a leader in the way he works and communicates in the locker room.
“And he’s still a young boy learning his trade.” I’m confident he’ll have a fantastic career.”
Solskjaer became Tuanzebe United’s youngest captain in more than 30 years when he took the armband for a Carabao Cup match against Rochdale.
“Axel is a captain in the making, he’s a leader,” Solskjaer said after bestowing the honor on him in 2019. Why not give it to small children? How does he deal with it? He was fine, and he liked himself. It’s just a way of saying we believe in him.”
Tuanzebe was performing on the world’s biggest stage a year later. Solskjaer gave the center-back his first Champions League start away to Paris Saint-Germain, his first in 10 months.
Tuanzebe was brilliant, assisting in the containment of Kylian Mbappe as United won 2-1. In the post-match player ratings, he received a nine out of ten.
“I’m pleased for him,” Solskjaer remarked. “Now it’s about getting consistency in his performances; he has to stay injury-free, but I believe he can kick on because he’s a leader.”