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Manchester United let five players leave as changes continue

by Tom Parker

Manchester United have released more players from their U21s and academy set-ups as part of the changes happening under new manager David Moyes.

News broke last week that Michele Fornasier, John Cofie, Luke Giverin, Reece Brown and Luke Hendrie would be leaving the club and this has been followed up by confirmations of the departures of Frederic Veseli, Luke McCullogh, Gyliano van Velzen, Kenji Gorre and Matthew Wilkinson from Old Trafford who have not been offered contracts by the club.

Veseli is arguably the most high-profile name to be released by United following a switch from Manchester City in January 2012 given his steady progress this season.

The Swiss youth made a fair amount of appearances but will leave the club after just 18 months. Some assumed the versatility of Veseli coupled with him not being on the books for very long would see him retained but this was not the case.

Northern Irish defender Luke McCullogh has had his fair share of off-pitch indiscretions this season, including a run in with the police, while van Velzen didn’t manage to stake his claim on a spot in the U21s despite a relatively successful loan spell with Royal Antwerp in Belgium. 18-year-old Kenji Gorre was reportedly close to signing for Celtic and now looks destined to link up with Swansea City’s youth setup next season.

It’s not all doom and gloom though with Adnan Januzaj, headliner of Warren Joyce’s side last season, looking increasingly likely to sign professional terms at United according to his agent.

England U20 international Tom Thorpe, fellow centre back Scott Wootton, Reece James, Marnick Vermijl and the promising Charni Ekangamane have all been offered new deals while talented 20-year-old right back Guillermo Varela has been officially offered a contract with the club for next season.

Those who have been let go so far were fairly peripheral figures with many struggling for games in the U21 side. However, those retained by the club have a fair chance of making the first team in the coming seasons.

Wootton and Vermijl made had appearances for the first team in the ill-fated Capital One Cup campaign while Januzaj was on the substitute bench for the final game of the season, illustrating the progress the talented Belgian has made.

Thorpe and Vermijl may be sent out on loan next season while the sale of Wootton remains a distinct possibility.

It is plain though that there is talent in the squad, illustrated with their U21 league victory in typically dramatic United fashion with a late winner in the final.

Ekangamane, Lingard, Cole and Januzaj were among the most impressive performers in the second half of the season which ended a success despite the lack of a recognised striker, and hopefully next season will be just as a successful with a revitalised squad.

It promised to be a summer of change for United ever since the shock retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson followed by the announcement of Paul Scholes’ retirement before the clubs backroom staff were ushered out to accommodate incoming boss David Moyes’ team.

Changes are happening across the board at backroom, boardroom and playing levels with these latest batch of releases likely to not be the last of the exits from Old Trafford this summer.

Photo: Frederic Veseli (Manutd.com)

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