Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has lost Angel Gomes on a free transfer. The Norwegian had been hoping to keep hold of the 19-year-old yet the playmaker has chosen to depart, believing he can develop better elsewhere. And with the Red Devils signing both Bruno Fernandes and Hannibal Mejbri under the Norwegian, they may be sorted for the present and the future.
Manchester United gave Gomes his debut as a 16-year-old, installed with the belief he could be an Old Trafford hit.
Yet the playmaker struggled for opportunities in the time since that cameo against Crystal Palace under Jose Mourinho in 2017 – and has now departed for a new challenge elsewhere.
United wanted Gomes to stay.
Despite barely picking the 19-year-old this season Solskjaer was a huge admirer and felt the Red Devils gave him the best chance of developing in the formative years of his career.
Ultimately, Gomes chose to go.
And United may have already signed two perfect replacements in the form of Fernandes and Mejbri.
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Back in January, Gomes was struggling to get minutes with the likes of Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira and Juan Mata all ahead of him in Solskjaer’s pecking order at the time.
He asked the Red Devils to allow him to leave on loan but they declined due to the uncertainty over his future at the time.
And the final nail in Gomes’ Old Trafford coffin was the blockbuster arrival of Fernandes from Sporting Lisbon.
That meant a fourth rival for the playmaker position at Old Trafford – and another obstacle for the teenage talent to overcome.
Nobody is getting in ahead of Fernandes anytime soon.
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He’s the new talisman of Solskjaer’s side, being directly involved in eight games since signing on the dotted line in the New Year.
And he’s currently United’s present. Everything hopeful and optimistic about the club at present stems from the moment the 25-year-old rocked up at the club.
While Fernandes is the leader of the current United side, they’re hopeful Mejbri can do the same in the future.
Few had heard of the youngster when Solskjaer sanctioned a £9million deal to bring him to Old Trafford back in the summer transfer window.
But Mejbri has sparked at youth level and in training, drawing comparisons with the likes of David Beckham, Roy Keane and Matteo Guendouzi.
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With Gomes leaving, that leaves a hole in Solskjaer’s squad for next season.
And Mejbri could feasibly take it, with the 17-year-old’s development impressing members of the club’s coaching staff.
While United have been backed to sign Jack Grealish, Solskjaer may already decide he’s content with what he’s got.
After all, Jadon Sancho won’t come cheap and few would be surprised if they used every penny at their disposal to bring the Borussia Dortmund star in.
Fernandes and Mejbri are the present and the future and, even though Gomes had talent, few tears have been shed at his departure.
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