It is looking increasingly likely that Angel Gomes will leave Manchester United at the end of the season after the 19-year-old was left out of the squad to play Tranmere Rovers yesterday.
Gomes, who has been with United since he was six years old, was included in the 19-man travelling squad to the Wirral but was not named in the team or as a substitute and watched the game from the stands.
With regular first team starters in desperate need of a rest and playing against League Two opposition on a dreadful pitch, it seemed the perfect situation for young fringe players such as Gomes to gain experience and stake their claim to play more regularly in the side.
Indeed, United’s own social media team seemed to think Gomes would play, tweeting a quote from the youngster just a couple of hours before the game. ‘It’s just about getting that opportunity and taking it with both hands’, read the soundbyte. But Gomes did not get that opportunity.
???? @AGomes_47: “It’s just getting that opportunity and taking it with both hands.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) January 26, 2020
The half Portuguese, half English playmaker has only six months left on his Manchester United contract and is from this month able to talk to other clubs about a potential free transfer at the end of the season. The Reds are believed to have put an offer on the table that Gomes finds unacceptable.
This is not the first time that Gomes has driven a hard bargain in contract negotiations with the club. United were reportedly forced to shell out £17 million, rising to £25 million with bonuses, to secure the then 17 year old Gomes’ signature on his first senior contract.
- Manchester United fans fuming with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for ignoring Angel Gomes against Wolverhampton Wanderers
- Fallen Angels: What has gone wrong for Angel Gomes and Tahith Chong?
- Angel Gomes omitted from Manchester United’s matchday squad vs. AZ Alkmaar
What is curious about Gomes’ situation is why Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would choose not to give the youngster playing time whilst contract negotiations continue. To do so would make a statement that the player features in his plans and that there is more to come. This seems to be the approach Solskjaer has taken with Tahith Chong, another young player in an almost identical situation to that of Gomes, but who continues to be selected for the first team, albeit mostly as a substitute, despite mediocre recent performances.
The Athletic’s Laurie Whitwell is perplexed at the lack of playing time being offered to the young star at a time when his future is undecided. ‘[A] number of European sides have made enquiries…although everyone leaves United eventually, doing so while still a teenager would be a melancholy moment for a player who became the youngest to feature for the club since Duncan Edwards’ muses the reporter. ‘[G]iven Solskjaer’s belief in youth and his side’s creative struggles, there have been matches where Gomes has been notable by his absence.’
Whether the manager is playing hard ball with Gomes, whether he thinks he needs to develop more physically or whether he simply does not rate him sufficiently to give him more first team opportunities, the talented youngster’s absence from yesterday’s squad would surely seem to leave him one step closer to the exit door when it opens in June.