Erik ten Hag has overseen a sizeable clearout at Manchester United this summer. Seven first-team players have already left the club and further departures are expected.
Nemanja Matic, who joined United in 2017, was one of the players to leave the club on a free transfer, leaving United light in midfield. Now, it has been revealed that Ten Hag tried to keep Matic this summer.
That’s according to The Athletic, who add that the Dutchman wanted to keep the midfielder for another year as he was viewed as a good influence behind closed doors.
Instead, Matic left the club to reunite with Jose Mourinho at Roma – the third time the Portuguese manager has signed him. Matic made 189 appearances for United over his five years at the club, scoring four goals.
His exit, alongside Paul Pogba’s, left United with just three senior midfielders. Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata also left the club, with Lee Grant and Edinson Cavani following suit.
In a summer full of changes, Ten Hag would have liked to keep a few senior players but with many on astronomical wages and the wrong side of 30, you could understand why the club might have been reluctant to keep them around.
Short-term solutions are part of the reason United find themselves in this mess and ripping the bandaid could be a blessing in disguise.
Regardless, should Matic have stayed for another year, he most likely would not have played an integral role on the pitch due to Ten Hag’s tenacious style.