5 Manchester United Stars Who Regret Leaving: From Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard to Edinson Cavani

5 Manchester United Stars Who Regret Leaving: From Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard to Edinson Cavani

Martin Moses
March 29, 2023 at 3:58 PM
  • Players often make transfer decisions based on a couple of factors, such as game time and contract size
  • Manchester United lost a couple of players last season, with Erik ten Hag coming in to basically start afresh
  • Transfers are not always the best moves for footballers, as Paul Pogba and others have learned this season

This is probably conjecture, but human beings tend to feel a sense of regret when things do not go their way while the alternatives they had are flourishing.

In this way, Chelsea are probably still feeling hard done by after selling Kevin De Bruyne and Mohamed Salah.

A couple of former Manchester United stars likely know this feeling well, with those who exited the club in search of 'greener pastures' sometimes having things take a turn for the worst - especially those who left just before Erik ten Hag's arrival.

Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, Edinson Cavani, Manchester United, Daniel James, Erik ten Hag, James Garner
Manchester United boss, Erik ten Hag. Photo by Ash Donelon.
Source: Getty Images

Forget the 7-0 thumping at Liverpool; ten Hag has already demonstrated that he has what it takes to take the Red Devils back to the glory days of the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson.

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What if some of the players who left on a free transfer at the end of last season stuck around?

Sports Brief takes a look at some of the players who should have stayed:

1. Paul Pogba

Pogba has played less than 40 minutes since he returned to Juventus. Injuries and discipline issues have kept him out of Massimiliano Allegri's plans.

Admittedly, he had a frosty relationship with Man United fans, but one can't help but wonder what a monster of a midfield ten Hag could have created with Pogba and Casemiro.

The Frenchman's line of vision remains one of the best in the game and a little boost of confidence from the Red Devils manager would have done wonders.

2. Edinson Cavani

On his exit, Cavani appeared to insinuate that it was Cristiano Ronaldo who forced him out. Months later, Ronaldo himself was forced out.

Ten Hag brought in Wout Weghorst but let's face it; the Dutchman is nowhere near Cavani's potential. Had the Uruguayan stuck around, his hold-up play around Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes, plus his finishing power, could have made him a deadly asset in the Premier League.

Now, he is fighting relegation with Valencia in La Liga.

3. Jesse Lingard

Lingard's decision to quit was self-explanatory. He was hardly getting game time and his prime years were quickly getting past him. He decided to ditch a return to West Ham to move to Nottingham Forest instead.

He has since struggled to break into Steven Cooper's regular side, with the team facing a bloated squad. With Anthony Elanga not a favourite of ten Hag, perhaps the England international could have made himself useful at Old Trafford, especially with the many games United have had this season.

4. Daniel James

The pacy Welshman was shipped out when Ronaldo joined the club. He then went to Leeds United, where he failed to land a spot before going out on loan at Fulham.

He rarely plays under Marco Silva but he is part of the team that is challenging for an unprecedented European finish this season. Ten Hag relies mostly on blistering counterattacks and with the 25-year-old's speed, he could have been an asset.

5. James Garner

He could not possibly have featured under ten Hag, but the injuries that he has suffered since he left for Everton that have made his case in this list.

As MEN reports, he was highly regarded in the United academy and had thought that this season could have been his breakthrough, only for United to rope in Casemiro and Christian Eriksen.

His permanent move to Merseyside is yet to yield fruits but at just 22 years of age, he has time to make it right.

Disclaimer: Sports Brief has resisted the urge to include Ronaldo here because, frankly speaking, the five-time Ballon d'Or winner had already won everything he could in European club football. In fact, landing the biggest football paycheck in the world is nowhere near regrettable.

United star hints at exit

Sports Brief had earlier reported on Manchester United youngster, Anthony Elanga hinting at leaving the club in the summer.

He has endured a disastrous season at the Red Devils this season after falling down the pecking order under manager, ten Hag.

While the winger featured regularly as a sub during the first half of the season, he has seen game time hard to come by recently.

Martin Moses photo
Martin Moses
Editor- EPL I Serie A
Cristiano RonaldoEdinson CavaniErik Ten HaagPaul Pogba