Manchester United’s inability to move players on during the summer and ineffectiveness in the transfer market is now costing the club a huge amount in terms of player salaries.
Some sales and loan moves were agreed this summer. Chris Smalling left for Roma and Alexis Sanchez moved to Inter Milan on permanent deals and Diogo Dalot (AS Milan), Andreas Pereira (Lazio) and Tahith Chong (Werder Bremen) were sent out on loan. Angel Gomes also left after his contract expired.
However, there are still four players left at Old Trafford who are highly unlikely to play any part this season and yet whose combined wages add up to a staggering £30 million per annum, or £585,769 per week.
Goalkeeper Sergio Romero, who was desperate to leave the club after being usurped as David de Gea’s number two by Dean Henderson, earns £70,000 per week or £3,640,000 per year. United inexplicably turned down a deadline day offer from Everton of a £2 million loan fee plus payment of 100% of the player’s wages. Romero is not even registered in either of the Premier League or Champions League squads.
Defender Marcos Rojo also wanted to leave the club in the summer to join his former side Estudiantes in Argentina, where he had moved to play on loan just before lockdown. United again refused to play ball and slapped an £8 – £10 million transfer fee on the player, a totally unrealistic asking price for a severely injury-prone, 30-year-old defender. The result: United continue to pay his £80,000 per week, £4,160,000 per year salary.
Another defender, Phil Jones, was reportedly told not to have needed surergy this summer so he could be sold, but it was a badly kept secret. No club therefore made an approach for him and he was belatedly given the surgery, ruling him out of action probably for the rest of the season. Salary: £75,000 per week or £3,900,000 per year.
Finally, there is the curious case of Odion Ighalo. A desperate January deadline day loan signing, Ighalo showed promise at first but after lockdown came, United extended his loan until January 2021 even though it was inevitable that they would sign other forwards in the summer transfer window. Whilst registered to play, it is highly unlikely now that Ighalo will get any game time, with Edinson Cavani the first choice backup to the starting forwards.
Ighalo has hardly featured in any matchday squads since Cavani’s arrival. United paid a £6 million fee to extend the loan by six months and are paying him a weekly salary of £130,000. That equates to a weekly amount of £360,769 or £18,760,000 per year.
The total weekly salary (including averaged loan fee) of these four unused players is therefore £585,769 per week – or £30,460,000 per year.
The sad issue here is that this is all wasted money and with the exception of the injured Jones, the players are also suffering because they cannot play football. With any sort of foresight and any sort of pragmatism in negotiations, all four of these situations could have been avoided.
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