The Manchester United 11 that got away

As Adem Ljajic continues his fine form in Italy, Vincent Ralph looks at 11 men who Manchester United can no longer call their own.

Serbian midfielder Adem Ljajic was never officially a Manchester United player. Back in 2009 an agreement was in place to make him one, but it never happened.

United said they activated a release clause in his contract after he hadn’t made as much progress as they expected, while the player blamed his failure on obtaining a work permit as the reason for the deal falling through.

But whatever the case, the now-21-year-old scored his latest Serie A goal last weekend for current side Fiorentina, his eighth of a campaign that has also seen him provide eight assists. And it got me thinking.

How many other United (or in Ljajic’s case almost United) players are now excelling elsewhere, and what would a team of them look like?

Countless players have moved on from Old Trafford, but these players are different. They are the youngsters who were hailed as the next generation, just as the likes of Adnan Januzaj and Nick Powell are now.

There is little doubt that both Januzaj and Powell will make the step up to the first team. But then the same was said for many of the players below:

In all but the cases of Paul Pogba and Zeki Fryers, the players in the side above were sold with the manager’s blessing, not lost in spite of his wishes.

But even when those players were sold, they were often moved on reluctantly, certainly in the cases of James Chester, Ryan Shawcross, Gerard Pique and Giuseppe Rossi.

So what do you think of the 11 United lost or sold? Could any of them do a job in the United first team today? Pogba’s blistering start to his Juventus career suggests he could for one.

But then United have just been crowned Premier League champions. So perhaps instead of looking to the past, fans should look only to the future.

Do you think United are missing anything having lost the services of the players above?

image: © yoca91

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