The Daily Mail is reporting that Manchester United are planning to make Marcus Rashford the club’s top earner, with a proposed “salary swap” that would see him exchange wages with David de Gea.
Essentially, De Gea will now be on the £200,000 that used to be Rashford’s weekly wage, and Rashford will be on the £375,000 that used to be David’s.
The proposal, which provides with Rashford with close to £100 million over five years, is raising some eyebrows, with some questions being asked over whether Rashford has merited such a vastly improved contract.
Given how Rashford has been one of the most important players at the club this season – and over the past 5 years – while De Gea appears to have regressed in some aspects, few pundits or fans can fault the logic behind rewarding both commensurately.
But some critics may argue that while Rashford may be due for an improved contract, he may not necessarily be worth £375,000 a week.
At that rate, he would become the Premier League’s joint second-highest earner, behind Kevin de Bruyne, and on par with Erling Haaland. (Stat taken from Talksport).
So is Rashford worth the quoted figures? The answer is yes, for three reasons.
The first is the fact that Rashford is one of the standout performers at the club – if not the standout performer – and deserves to be paid wages that would reflect this.
With Jadon Sancho on £350,000 per week and Raphael Varane on £340,000, £375,000 for Marcus Rashford seems reasonable.
The second reason why Rashford should be rewarded with this new contract is the fact that it would cost United much more to replace him.
Marcus came through the United Academy, which means he’s cost the club nothing in terms of transfer fees. To replace him, even if the club could find a player of similar quality, would cost somewhere in the region of £70 – £80 million in transfer fees alone.
Assuming that the replacement would be given a five-year deal on the same terms as Rashford is currently on at £200,000 a week, that would work out to a cumulative £62m in wages, bringing the total cost of a replacement to a conservative estimate of £132m.
In contrast, Rashford on a five-year £375,000 weekly deal would earn £97m with no transfer costs to consider. That would make it much cheaper to simply pay him £375,000 per week than risk him leaving and needing a replacement.
The third argument in favour of granting Rashford this much-improved contract is the fact that his potential suggests a much higher ceiling when surrounded by better players. This season, Rashford has essentially carried United’s attack with some support from Bruno Fernandes in midfield.
The other leading attackers at Old Trafford, Anthony Martial, and Jadon Sancho, each contributed six Premier League goals, compared with Rashford’s 17. New boy Antony has contributed a paltry four.
With Rashford being the main attaching outlet, United would have looked to Antony and Sancho for assists, but, again, both fell significantly short, with two and three Premier League assists respectively.
Erik ten Hag is pressing for action in the transfer market, and United are almost certain to bring in some talent to elevate the attack, which will likely see Rashford become even more productive.
While he may not currently be on the same level of productivity as the likes of Erling Haaland and Kevin de Bruyne, he may very well get there or close to it, in a more cohesive attack.
£375,000 is objectively a lot, and given the Premier League’s proposed spending cap, it may not be sustainable on a larger scale. Under the current circumstances, however, Rashford does deserve it and it would make financial sense for United to give it to him.