Erik ten Hag has put the ball in the court of Harry Maguire as to whether the Man Utd captain pursues a transfer away from the club this summer.
Maguire made just eight Premier League starts in the 2022-23 season, despite remaining the captain of Man Utd. His decline in fortunes has prompted speculation regarding a departure from the club.
After all, Maguire is already behind Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez in the pecking order for a place at centre-back in the Man Utd lineup. Furthermore, there have been strong claims about the club signing Kim Min-jae from Napoli.
Therefore, the future looks bleak for Maguire at Man Utd. Indeed, even the present has done. Perhaps his time as a Man Utd player could be up.
Now, in an interview with The Times, Ten Hag has admitted Maguire should not be content with the role he currently occupies.
“No-one would be happy with this situation,” Ten Hag said. “He is not as well. He trains always on best levels, so with 100 per cent effort.
“So he handles that situation well and he’s in that manner and in his captaincy he’s important for the squad.
“But he has high competition there with Raphael Varane, who’s fantastic.”
Varane, a World Cup winner with France in 2018, evidently ranks above Maguire in Ten Hag’s thinking. At times this season, even Luke Shaw – naturally a left-back – has.
Maguire has subsequently been linked with a move away from Man Utd. He could either stay in the Premier League with someone like Tottenham or West Ham, or move abroad to a club like Juventus, Inter or Milan.
In terms of Maguire’s future, Ten Hag added: “Let’s say I’m happy he’s here and when we needed him he did his job. But it’s also a decision he has to make.”
Ten Hag hints De Gea might lose Man Utd starting place
Another player who will be weighing up his future at Man Utd is David de Gea.
For a while, it has seemed likely that the goalkeeper will be signing an extension to his current contract, which is due to expire at the end of June.
However, Ten Hag has now warned De Gea that he could bring in new competition for him next season. It means the Premier League Golden Glove winner’s status as Man Utd’s number one is up for question.
When pressed on whether De Gea will be in his squad next season, Ten Hag replied: “Yes, but I will not say he will always be my number one because in a club like United there must be competition in all positions.”
De Gea’s deputy for the second half of this season has been Jack Butland during a loan spell from Crystal Palace. However, the 30-year-old hasn’t actually made any appearances in De Gea’s place.
Dean Henderson will be facing an uncertain future when he returns from his own loan spell at Nottingham Forest. Hence, there are some big decisions for Man Utd to make in terms of their goalkeeping department.