Sunday, September 10, 2023

MARK GOLDBRIDGE: Erik ten Hag humiliated Harry Maguire, Man United may have to let him go for FREE – and why Bruno Fernandes will be captain over Casemiro

Harry Maguire’s removal as Manchester United captain was a harsh move by Erik ten Hag, bordering on public humiliation. It is rare to see a player, especially at a club like Manchester United, publicly express their enjoyment of being captain, as Maguire did in a recent tweet. It almost felt like an exit tweet, despite the fact that he had the captaincy taken away from him. It seems that Ten Hag had a conversation with Maguire, informing him that he is no longer the captain and not part of his plans.

This must have come as a shock to Maguire, but he now needs to understand that he should seek opportunities elsewhere, especially if he wants to maintain his place in the England national team. However, it may prove difficult due to his high wages of £200,000 per week and his age of 31 in the upcoming season. United will likely demand a transfer fee of around £40m or £50m, in addition to his hefty wages. Finding a club willing to meet these financial demands might be challenging.

United has struggled to offload players in the past, partly due to their high wages. For instance, Brandon Williams reportedly earns £50,000 per week, which is comparable to what a good Everton player earns. Another player on a significant wage is Anthony Martial, who was plagued by injuries last year. It would be unwise for any club to purchase him under these circumstances, unless United decides to write off his contract and pay him off. It remains unclear what United plans to do with Martial, but it seems unlikely that he will leave or be part of their future plans. He may end up staying for another year and leave on a free transfer.

This situation is hindering Ten Hag from clearing out the deadwood in the team. With Maguire no longer captain, there are several leaders in the United dressing room who could step up to the role. Players like Casemiro, Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez, Luke Shaw, and Marcus Rashford have been suggested as potential candidates. However, the logical choices in my opinion would be Casemiro or Bruno Fernandes.

Bruno Fernandes seems to be the frontrunner for the captaincy. He served as captain for most of last season when Maguire was not playing much, and United had a successful campaign. The team relied on hard work and grinding out results, which required a compact and organized approach. It would be surprising if the captaincy did not go to Fernandes, and in my opinion, it should. Despite criticism for his occasional petulant behavior, Fernandes is highly appreciated by the United community and those who closely follow the team. It is rare to find a player who can display petulance yet effectively lead a team. Wayne Rooney’s captaincy, for example, saw a decline in his fire and leadership qualities. On the other hand, players like Roy Keane were known for their aggressive nature on the pitch. Fernandes’ petulance seems to drive him as a player, and it did not have a negative impact last season. Ultimately, the opinions of his teammates matter the most, and it is evident that they respect him.

In the end, the decision lies with Ten Hag, who is known for his assertiveness.
It appears that Manchester United manager, Erik ten Hag, may have humiliated star defender Harry Maguire. The centre-back’s future at the club hangs in the balance, with reports that United may be forced to let him go for free if his relationship with the manager doesn’t improve. Moreover, it appears that Bruno Fernandes could be the new captain of the team, potentially replacing Real Madrid’s defensive midfielder Casemiro.

Despite his struggles over the past few months, and the fact that he was sent off in the Manchester derby, Maguire has continued to command a strong presence at Old Trafford. However, recent reports that ten Hag humiliated the England international in a recent team meeting could lead to his exit from the club. In addition to feeling undermined by ten Hag’s words, it is believed that Maguire’s position is also under threat due to United’s growing interest in signing central defenders this summer.

If Maguire does leave, it appears likely that the captaincy duties will be passed on to Bruno Fernandes. The Portuguese midfielder has become an integral part of United’s team since his arrival in January 2020, and many believe he is the natural choice to replace the outgoing Maguire. Casemiro, on the other hand, may have to settle for a secondary role in the team under ten Hag, given his lack of recent game-time.

It remains to be seen how ten Hag and United plan to handle this situation, but one thing is certain – it could have serious implications for the team’s future. If Maguire is to be let go for free, then the club could find themselves in a difficult financial position. Likewise, the choice of new captain will speak volumes about the direction ten Hag is looking to take United in. Let’s hope the manager gets it right.

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