Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has shown his ruthless side once again by reportedly informing both Eric Bailly and Brandon Williams that they are free to leave the club on permanent transfers. Neither player was named in the squad that defeated Wolves 1-0 on the Red Devils’ first Premier League game of the season and could join the list of players axed by the Dutch boss.
The Manchester Evening News have claimed that both players have been told that they can leave if suitable offers are made, as the Ivory Coast defender had his shirt number revoked and Williams was informed that it would be in his best interest to leave Old Trafford in search of regular playing time.
While fellow forgotten man Donny van de Beek remains in negotiations with La Liga side Real Sociedad regarding a permanent move, as Ten Hag looks to trim down his squad before the transfer window closes in just over two weeks.
The boss has previous for axing players at United, having exiled five stars from the dressing room at Carrington including Williams alongside Phil Jones, Axel Tuanzebe, Teden Mengi and Shola Shoretire just over a year ago. Jones and Tuanzebe have since departed on free transfers, though the other three are yet to make a lasting impression on Ten Hag and have struggled to break into the first team.
Cristiano Ronaldo and David De Gea have been the most high-profile recipients of Ten Hag’s ruthlessness, as the five-time Ballon d’Or winner was quickly cast aside by the then-new boss. The Dutchman demoted Ronaldo to a rotation option and frustrated the striker to the point he arranged an interview with Piers Morgan to vent before his contract was torn up by the club.
This summer, De Gea was offered terms on a new contract as his current deal was winding down before the club reportedly reneged and, despite agreeing an extension in principle, attempted to backtrack and only present a contract with a vastly reduced salary, even though the Spanish goalkeeper had already been prepared to come down from his previous wage packet.