Manchester United are in the midst of an interesting period in their history, as they find themselves good enough but not good enough all at the same time. While the club has struggled a bit in recent years, their lofty standards from their glory days still remain. With the move to bring in Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal, Jose Mourinho and company made a statement that they are ready to win again. But with that move also came questions, especially about the future of one Marcus Rashford. With Sanchez in the squad, what does the future hold for Rashford with the Red Devils?
Right now, the situation involving Rashford and United has been calm, with the club making no indication that there are to be any changes. In fact, United boss Jose Mourinho has come out and said the opposite. Mourinho has indicated that Rashford’s future is with Manchester United, praising Rashford’s importance to the team. Whether or not that is the case remains to be seen but it sounds like Mourinho does want Rashford in the team.
While Mourinho has been singing the praises of Rashford, though, many pundits and experts agree that Rashford could be on his way to another club. English football legend Dennis Wise is in that camp, stressing that Rashford needs to take advantage of his opportunities to stay at United. While this is the case for any player at a club the size of United, it is especially true when you have a player as prolific as Sanchez ready to play instead.
With conflicting opinions about the future of Marcus Rashford, it is worth taking a look at what options he could have next year and beyond. Because, while Rashford is a young player, he does not want to waste his athletic prime sitting on the bench. Here are a few possible scenarios that could remedy the situation between Rashford and Manchester United.
To Loan Or Not To Loan
When it comes to young players like Rashford, the usual solution is to loan him out to another club. This process allows teams to open up playing time for their veterans, while the young players get some time in with other clubs. It also allows the club bringing the player in on loan to try winning with them before having to commit to buying the player outright. In a way, it sounds like everybody wins. However, that is not always the case.
Far too many times in recent Premier League history has a player been loaned out from one of the major clubs in England only for them to flounder at a smaller club. The thought of Christian Benteke struggling at Crystal Palace immediately comes to mind, as players who go from being nice complimentary pieces to the best player on their team usually endure growing pains.
What would happen if Marcus Rashford was loaned to a Premier League team of lower stature or a team from one of Europe’s lesser leagues would be difficult to watch. Instead of him being one of many talented players wearing red in Manchester, he would be largely on his own against defences that have proven themselves to be formidable against players in similar positions.
Of course, the benefits of a loan move aside, there is often a way to tell if a player is about to depart from a club. Often, the most renowned bookmakers are a better source of information than the Sunday edition of your favourite newspaper. The big outlets usually offer odds on the potential moves of your favourite player and these numbers have historically proven to be more reliable than publishers creating click-bait rumours to get readers.
Outside of a loan move, it would be difficult to see a team buy Rashford outright, despite whispers that Real Madrid may want to take a run at the talented young player. United would be prepared to ask for a massive transfer fee for Rashford, who may not be good enough to command it. While we know that Rashford is a very good player, we will not know just how good he can be for a couple of seasons at least. Without the conclusive knowledge that he can be an elite player, teams may not be able to agree to a transfer fee for the English standout.
Perhaps the biggest reason that Manchester United should not move Marcus Rashford is that they need him. While Sanchez is an excellent player, he should not play in every game. With cup competitions and plenty of Premier League games to make it through each year, it could be smart for United to hold onto a talented young player to rotate the squad. Doing that would help keep Sanchez fresh for when the games matter most, and Rashford could continue to build himself up for a potential transfer down the road.
Also, as the richest club in the world, United have no need to sell Rashford to cut costs or for any other reason. He is young, doesn’t make a prohibitive amount of money, and is worth keeping around to see if he can continue to develop his knack for scoring important, late goals.
On top of United’s riches, there is also a need for them to stockpile talent at the moment. Unfortunately, Manchester City has taken the Premier League by storm since bringing in manager Pep Guardiola. In order to compete with City, teams are going to need to hold onto as many good players as they can, and rotate them into the action all season long to offset the talent gap that is caused by the quality of City’s first XI. Keeping Rashford should help them in that area if they want to remain competitive against the juggernaut City side.
Also, this is a great opportunity for Rashford to learn from one of the best in the world. Sanchez could have taken a mentor’s role with Arsenal as well but the team lacked the quality to make his wisdom impactful in any way. This time around, Sanchez will be able to guide a very good player and help him reach his full potential, assuming that he stays put.
Right now, things are difficult for Marcus Rashford at Manchester United. Gone from a starting position to an inconsistent place on the field, and forced to reside a locker away from his replacement, there is no doubt that Rashford’s future at United is in question. However, it would be a mistake to loan Rashford out or sell him, due to the value he brings in the form of depth to the squad. If Rashford went elsewhere and continued to improve as a player, there would be the potential for embarrassment among United brass. That is reason enough for Rashford to stay put, on top of his talent on the field.