Manchester United ace Angel Gomes faces a crucial month as his contract with the club is set to expire in June. Here we take a look at three potential destinations for the youngster.
When Wayne Rooney trudged off the Old Trafford pitch for the last time as a Manchester United player in May 2017, to be replaced by an Angel Gomes, it was seen as a ‘passing of the torch’ moment. The old guard was moving on, making way for the next generation.
Aged 16 years and 263 days old at the time, Gomes became the youngest player to represent the Red Devils since Duncan Edwards, while also becoming the first footballer born in the 21st century to play in the Premier League. Fast forward three years and the talented teenager has just over 300 minutes of senior football under his belt so far.
Gomes, now a few months short of 20, has made just ten first-team appearances for Manchester United till date. And with his contract expiring at the end of June, there have been constant speculations surrounding his future at Old Trafford.
The 20-time English champions put forth a £20,000-a-week offer in January, which the England youth international rejected. Most recently, Manchester United have put forth on an offer worth £30,000-a-week plus bonuses for appearances, goals and trophies won. However, Gomes has once again rejected the offer and is closer to the exit doors than ever.
A precocious talent, who led England to the Under-17 FIFA World Cup triumph in 2017 and has been a top performer at youth levels for United, Gomes shouldn’t be short of suitors when his deal runs out. And here at The Hard Tackle, we look at three potential options that the 19-year-old should consider.
The ‘Stay Home, Stay Safe’ option: Manchester United
True that Gomes has already refused new terms offered by Manchester United on multiple occasions. But, with still over a month left on his contract, the Red Devils have time to convince him to stay. The major gripe remains that he is not getting enough first-team action, although that could change next season.
Juan Mata, at 32, is likely to see game-time reduce further with time, as he slowly gets phased out of the first-team. Furthermore, with Jesse Lingard increasingly looking set to be on his way out of the club, there will be a vacant spot in the attacking midfield department at the club.
Solskjaer, during his time at the club, has shown that he will give opportunities to youngsters. Mason Greenwood and Brandon Williams have benefited hugely from this outlook this season. Tahith Chong, who was also in a similar situation as Gomes, has also seen increased game-time in 2019-20, which prompted him to pen a new long-term deal. And if Gomes hangs on for a while longer, the next campaign could turn out to be his breakthrough.
Staying at United would mean Gomes plays under a manager who knows his game in and out, knows his strengths and weaknesses and hence, would be better-placed to help the youngster develop his game further. No need of time to adjusting to new surroundings and philosophies, no need for the new manager to get to know Gomes’s game better.
The ‘Surprise!’ option: Chelsea
Moving from a club where blooding youngsters is an age-old tradition, to a club where youth is hardly given a chance and constantly farmed out on loan – oh the irony! However, winds of change are afoot at Stamford Bridge, with the transfer ban last summer proving to be a blessing in disguise.
Indeed, since Frank Lampard took over the reins at Chelsea, a number of academy prospects have gotten their chance to make an impression in the first-team and they have done just that. Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount, Reece James, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Fikayo Tomori and more recently, Billy Gilmour, have all made the most of their chances this season and have been some of the top performers for Chelsea this season.
Combined, the aforementioned players have made over 150 appearances for the Chelsea first-team this season. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Gomes is considering a switch to Chelsea, where he has seen his teammate from the Under-17 FIFA World Cup triumph in 2017, Hudson-Odoi, rise to prominence.
However, there remains the question of how much game-time he will see at Chelsea. From Mount to Ross Barkley to the fit-again Ruben Loftus-Cheek, along with new signing Hakim Ziyech, Chelsea are loaded with options in the attacking midfield position.
The ‘Ooh so exciting’ option: Borussia Dortmund
Ever since Jadon Sancho, another member of Gomes’ Under-17 World Cup winning team in 2017, made the path-breaking decision to leave Manchester City for Borussia Dortmund in search of first-team football, the German Bundesliga has become a top destination for hot prospects looking to establish themselves.
The likes of Reiss Nelson, Ethan Ampadu, Emile Smith Rowe, Ademola Lookman and Jonjoe Kenny have all switched to Germany, albeit temporarily in a number of cases, to gain experience. So, the prospect of playing in the Bundesliga, especially for a club like Borussia Dortmund, who are known to churn out young talents one after the other is sure to appeal to Angel Gomes.
Sancho’s future at Dortmund is up in the air, while Mario Gotze has confirmed that he would be moving on when his contract expires. Furthermore, Marco Reus continues to be plagued by injury problems. So, there should be room for Gomes to carve out a place for himself in the starting XI at the Signal Iduna Park under a pro-youth manager such as Lucien Favre.
Dortmund had expressed an interest in signing the 19-year-old a couple of years ago and have once again been mentioned among the clubs monitoring the teenager. They would do well to snap him up this time out, considering that he will cost them nothing in transfer fee.