Scott McTominay has been an integral part of Manchester United’s first team since he made his debut in the 2016/2017 season. Before that, he’d been at the club since the age of five. He’s arguably, along with the likes of Marcus Rashford, one of the Red Devils’ biggest academy successes in recent times.
However, it appears that the towering Scotsman may have reached the peak of his United career, and it may be time for him to move on to other challenges.
With The Mail reporting that United are willing to let him leave, it is arguably in both McTominay’s and United’s best interests if he does.
According to the report, United are looking to let Scott go for £30 million; however, some of the clubs who have shown an early interest are said to have reservations over this asking price.
These include Newcastle, who have qualified for the Champions League for the first time in decades, as well as Everton who narrowly avoided relegation, and are looking to shore up their ranks.
Arguably, United should adopt a slightly malleable posture without completely caving in on the asking price for McTominay. The goal should be to ensure that he leaves but only on reasonable terms.
The 26-year-old has been a fantastic but limited servant to United. And with Erik ten Hag looking to build on this season’s relative success, the reality is that McTominay is not likely to play a major part in his plans.
One only needs to consider the amount of game time he’s been given this season compared to last season.
Last season, McTominay played 28 Premier League games, racking up 2,393 minutes of playing time in the process. This season, his playing time has been cut drastically, with just 10 appearances and 1,151 minutes on the pitch.
United are reportedly in the market for a midfielder who can add some grit to the midfield, with West Ham’s Declan Rice one of many names mentioned as being of interest.
Rice plays a similar withdrawn role to the one McTominay has played many times in the past, particularly under Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
But in addition to providing some steel in the midfield, Rice offers one critical trait that McTominay lacks: the willingness to make himself available to receive the ball from the centre-backs when United are playing out from the back.
That Erik ten Hag has used him so sparsely this season and is on the lookout for a like-for-like upgrade appears to signify the end of the United road for McTominay.
That said, he’s still a very capable midfielder that could do a great job for a lesser side, where there may be much more emphasis on the things McTominay excels at, such as physicality and being able to carry the ball through the lines.
For United, there is not likely to be a better time to let McTominay go. Having come through the ranks, he cost the club virtually nothing, and given the fact that he can still command a reasonable transfer fee, it would be wise to let him leave now.
From the player’s perspective, he’s just entering his prime and would be best served by playing regular football.
He’ll likely also have Euro 2024 on his mind, and would not want a lack of playing time to hinder his participation in Scotland’s qualifying campaign, nor in the finals of the competition if they make it.
While a move away from United would likely be a step down for Scott, he does have some decent suitors. As mentioned, Newcastle have expressed an interest in his signature, and a move to Tyneside would come with the prospect of Champions League football.
Hopefully, United are able to attract the sort of midfield talent Erik ten Hag is looking for, and McTominay is able to find himself a suitor who will pay a reasonable fee for his services.