Five players could play their last game for Manchester United in FA Cup final – opinion

It’s that time of the year. The end to another season is coming and while Manchester United have it all to play for in the final game of the season, it will have even higher stakes for some players.

Manchester United could see a huge culling of the playing squad in the summer as Erik ten Hag seeks to take the next steps in his rebuild. Naturally, there will be some casualties of that rebuild.

Here are the top five Manchester United players for whom the FA Cup final could be their last game for the club:

Harry Maguire

It feels unbelievable to say that the Manchester United club captain is dispensable but that is where things stand with Harry Maguire this season.

Maguire made just eight starts in the Premier League this season. Many of United’s most painful defeats have come when Maguire has been selected, like the 0-4 defeat to Brentford and the 0-3 humbling by Sevilla.

Maguire is firmly the fourth-choice centre back at the club now, with even an out-of-position Luke Shaw preferred over him. Ten Hag wasn’t so decisive in his backing either. When asked about Harry Maguire’s prospects, the boss said Maguire has a “decision to make” on his future at the club as playing time dwindles.

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It could decrease further with United looking for more defensive reinforcements. Maguire has been a very serviceable player during his four years at the club but with his contract expiring in 2025 (extra club option till 2026), it could be the best time to part ways.

He is one of the few assets that could fetch a decent price in the market (United will undoubtedly take a huge hit on the £80 million outlay though), and he is good enough to start for a Premier League side.

There won’t be many complaints if his last act as a United player is to lift the FA Cup trophy.

Scott McTominay

Scott McTominay is a certified success story of the Manchester United academy. Never touted as the most highly-rated prospect in the academy, he broke into the first team on the back of professional performances, following the manager’s instructions to a tee, and giving it his all every time he took to the field.

Now a full-fledged international and a player far better than he is given credit for, McTominay could become the victim of being too good to remain on the bench. The all-action midfielder is one of the players who has an affordable contract, good value in the market, and interested buyers.

Furthermore, due to him being an academy prospect, his sale will count as pure profit in terms of Financial Fair Play. There is no doubt that he will go on to flourish elsewhere, but right now, United need the money from his sale more than they need him.

Wout Weghorst 

Fate has come full circle with Wout Weghorst. Signed as an emergency backup due to Anthony Martial’s injury issues, he is set to play a role in the final due to an Anthony Martial injury on the eve of the final.

There is a school of thought that can advocate for Weghorst’s loan to be made permanent. He is a hard worker, a remarkable presser from the front, and most importantly, always available. He feels a huge affinity towards the club and is selfless to the extreme.

However, those qualities are overshadowed by his lack of (or absence of in the PL) goalscoring prowess. It is painfully clear that Weghorst falls short of the standards required from a Manchester United rotational player, let alone a starter.

Weghorst will be fondly remembered as a good guy who gave it all to the club when it needed a body up front. Unfortunately, that can’t be the standard United can settle for if they are to get back to the top.

Marcel Sabitzer

If Wout Weghorst’s loan spell has the potential to end on a high, Sabitzer’s has arguably already ended with a whimper. A meniscus injury ruled him out for the season at the start of May and any lingering hopes of his move being made permanent ended then.

Marcel Sabitzer hasn’t had a great time at Manchester United. Drafted in as the stopgap solution for Christian Eriksen’s absence, Sabitzer has basically been another player with the profile of Fred and McTominay.

Again, a player who did his best whenever he was on the pitch, and again, a player whose best was not good enough.

Here’s a deeper analysis of why Manchester United shouldn’t sign Marcel Sabitzer permanently.


If Ten Hag truly wants to transform the midfield and welcome a new era, then there’s a chance fans could see the departure of the symbol of the bygone era- the “McFred” midfield.

Fred has recently started to see game time again, mainly as an “energiser bunny” off the bench. While there is value in that role, his contract expires in 2024 and he’ll soon be on the wrong side of 30.

For a player whose playing style relies so much on athleticism and stamina, warning bells could soon ring. Fulham have been recently linked to the Brazilian with Fulham boss Marco Silva’s conversation with him doing the rounds.

United would do well to get around £15-20 million for Fred and reinvest it in a midfielder that suits more how Erik ten Hag wants his midfielders to play. At the current rate, Fred is an asset that is depreciating in value extremely quickly. The only reason why McTominay is a bigger bet to get sold is that the Scottish international is a more lucrative sale potentially.

Besides these names, there are others who are going to get swept in the winds of change blowing at Old Trafford. Phil Jones has already announced his departure and Anthony Elanga looks set to follow him on a transfer. David de Gea’s situation is also worth monitoring as the two sides are yet to agree to a new contract. With United looking for a new man between the sticks, it remains to be seen if De Gea thinks it’s worth staying with a pay cut without any promise of being first-choice.

Stopping Manchester City from winning the treble is a huge motivation. Add to it the angle of it being the first-ever Manchester Derby in the final, and some players playing their final game, and the stakes couldn’t be higher. Will it be a fairytale ending for these names?

More Stories David de Gea Fred Harry Maguire Man City Manchester United Marcel Sabitzer Scott McTominay wout weghorst