Cole questions Man Utd as another ‘marquee signing’ nears exit door amid Ten Hag spat

Jason Soutar
Manchester United winger Jadon Sancho celebrates winning the Carabao Cup.
Jadon Sancho celebrates winning the Carabao Cup.

Former Manchester United striker Andy Cole has asked why so many big names have failed at the club amidst Jadon Sancho’s public falling out with Erik ten Hag.

Following Sunday’s 3-1 loss at Arsenal, Red Devils manager Ten Hag confirmed Sancho was not included in the matchday squad due to his performances in training.

The player hit back at his boss on social media on Sunday evening, saying that this is not the case and that he has become a “scapegoat” at Old Trafford.

As it is the international break, Sancho’s situation at United has been the biggest talking point of the week and Cole has actually criticised Ten Hag for making the dropping of the 23-year-old public knowledge, which is something Sir Alex Ferguson would not have done.

Asked if it is the beginning of the end for Sancho, Cole told Betfred: “I don’t know. I’ve seen all the reports and I’ve giggled at some of the more ridiculous ones, but it all depends on how people want to perceive this situation.

“If Sir Alex Ferguson ever had a problem with a player, it didn’t leave the dressing room. So you can argue that Erik ten Hag has come out and said something negative about his player and he didn’t have to do that. If he didn’t say anything, then nobody’s getting wind of this situation.

“However, now he’s made the situation public, Jadon has now come out to defend himself.

“Manchester United haven’t started the season in a good way and Erik ten Hag didn’t need to create another distraction that the club doesn’t need. It just didn’t need to happen.

All the publicity surrounding the club at the moment is negative and it can have an adverse reaction on the players because people just expect them to get their heads down and play football, but of course this negativity is going to affect them.

“Everybody is looking to the players to pull the club out of the doldrums and now they have added pressure on their shoulders because if they don’t start getting results, then everybody’s going to start complaining that the players aren’t helping the situation either.

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“It’s such a precarious situation to be in and it’s something that the club needs to find themselves out of immediately if they’re going to start winning football matches.”

Cole added that Sancho’s failure at United does not purely come down to the player, but the club as a whole.

“You can look at it from both sides,” he added.

“When you buy a footballer, you buy the player with the intention of getting the best out of them and from the player’s perspective, they’re aiming to get the best out of the football club. That’s the way football works.

“If Sancho leaves, then people are going to question whether Manchester United did enough to help Jadon realise his potential. In football, everybody heaps the attention on the players if things don’t work out well, but you need to ask why it didn’t work out.

“Using Paul Pogba as an example, the media and the fans always reflect on whether they believe a player’s arrogant or believes that they’re better than they actually are.

“However, a club with the stature of Manchester United buys a player because they believe they’re one of the best players in the world and they’re going to improve their team and they bought Jadon Sancho because they believe he’s a really good player.

“If it doesn’t work out for Jadon at Manchester United, then why didn’t it work out? Is it just down to the player or is it down to the football club as well?

Manchester United have made a number of marquee signings that haven’t worked out, so why does this keep happening?”

Sancho has been linked with a move to Saudi Arabia – whose transfer window closed on Thursday evening – but Cole does not think this would be a good move for the England international.

“He can’t go to Saudi because he’s 23 years old,” Cole said. “Why on earth would you want to go there at 23 years of age?

“He’s making a lot of money already at Manchester United. Sometimes we forget just how young Jadon is.

“It’s not up to us to speculate what’s going on with a player’s career, but one thing we do know is that we’ve all got problems and we don’t know what’s going on in Jadon’s life.

“We all need to show compassion at times and just because a player earns a lot of money, then does that make his mental state better than anybody else’s? No it doesn’t.

“It’s up to him and Manchester United to figure out why he’s struggling to perform on the pitch. It’s that simple.”

READ MORE: A heroic XI of players who rejected ‘crazy’ Saudi Arabia riches this summer as window closes