Manchester United must realise 26-year-old star’s worth as PSG aim to sign him as replacement for key superstar

Manchester United need to decide on Marcus Rashford

According to talkSPORT, Man United are keen on making a definitive call on the future of Marcus Rashford amid interest from Paris-Saint Germain.

The 26-year-old has mirrored his club’s fortunes this season by virtue of his individual performances—failing to sustain the heights reached the season before.

No longer a young prospect and advancing towards his prime years, Rashford is increasingly becoming an issue United need to solve sooner rather than later as they intend to usher in a new era at Old Trafford, hoping that it will be one remembered for its footballing prudence.

Rashford has only produced 8 goals and 5 assists from 38 appearances this season. (Source: Transfermarkt) (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Rashford has only produced 8 goals and 5 assists from 38 appearances this season. (Source: Transfermarkt) (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

But when making a call on Rashford, there’s more than football the new United ownership need to factor in in their decision-making.

The Red impasse

There was a lot of jubilation among the United faithful when Rashford arrived on the scene some eight years ago with scintillating early performances.

It wasn’t just the fact that here was a young player showing promising signs; Rashford was a United academy graduate and a local lad. Him succeeding at Man United would understandably have been a story celebrated not just in Manchester but across the footballing world.

That’s not to say that Rashford has not succeeded at Man United. Many would argue that for a local boy to go on and not only represent United and England at the senior level but win trophies with his boyhood club and medals for his nation is absolutely success in its own right.

And off the pitch, Rashford has leveraged his celebrity to do a lot of good work in the community, having successfully challenged the UK government’s stance on free lunches for school kids during COVID and becoming a paragon of virtue for young kids in the country and supporting them by advocating mental health positivity. In Rashford, United don’t just have an academy graduate; they have a man of repute.

But football is an all-encompassing discipline. If Rashford’s philanthropism gets some much-warranted limelight, then a look needs to be taken at his on-pitch exploits as well.

And that’s where the reality starts becoming underwhelming. Much like United post-Sir Alex Ferguson, Rashford has had some really hot phases over a mostly cold period.

On the senior level, Rashford has mustered 131 goals and 64 assists for Man United across 397 appearances and 17 goals and 6 assists across 60 caps for the England national team. (Source: Transfermarkt) (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
On the senior level, Rashford has mustered 131 goals and 64 assists for Man United across 397 appearances and 17 goals and 6 assists across 60 caps for the England national team. (Source: Transfermarkt) (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

One can argue that the club Rashford has represented has played a huge part in it; United’s antics since 2013, after all, have stopped them from reaching their yesteryear heights and made them a graveyard for many a talent. More than a handful of players have arrived at Old Trafford only to lament their decision and, if luck is on their side, move elsewhere to rediscover the joy of playing football.

Being a big-name celebrity on top of being the local golden boy makes leaving a tough call to make for both United and Rashford. But that’s the nature of life. There isn’t an easy answer here. Arguments can be made for both allowing Rashford to continue and letting him leave in the summer, but none of them will result in universal satisfaction.

One look at Rashford’s numbers ever since his debut is enough to ascertain that his 30-goal haul last season was more of an outlier than a sign of things to come, especially since his numbers have essentially reverted to type this season. Further questions persist around his off-ball contribution, having first prominently emerged in the days of José Mourinho.

How much more time can United afford to give Rashford amid their pursuit for the top before they feel the need to cut their losses? Sure, it’s not an easy call to make given the reasons mentioned before, but they can’t refrain from making a decision just because it would be a hard one to make.

On the other hand, in recent years a fair few United players, from legends of the past to up-and-coming promising talents, have brought the club disrepute by virtue of their off-pitch actions. In the face of that, can United really afford to let go of the biggest asset that’s keeping their brand image afloat?

Conclusion

As mentioned before, there are no easy answers.

PSG’s interest shows there is a market for Rashford should he decide to leave the club. Even in that case, however, it’s important to keep in mind that, while Rashford may not fully replicate Kylian Mbappé’s numbers, his philanthropic image will certainly be a key factor the Parisians—or any other club, for that matter—will keep in mind; after all, who doesn’t like to be seen as a good guy?

He’ll be 30 when this contract expires. His value is not going to appreciate drastically from this point on, but United do aim to drastically raise their own footballing profile and hopefully become regular contenders at the top of the footballing pyramid by 2028.

The fans will get over Rashford’s departure if results follow—it’s as simple as that. For the work he has already done, Rashford will always be fondly remembered by the United faithful.

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Just like he’s not solely responsible for them, Rashford’s departure alone is not what will solve United’s problems; the Red Devils will need to start learning from their mistakes and operate more wisely across the board in order for that to happen.