MAN UNITED CONFIDENTIAL: Wan-Bissaka's contract talks have gone cold
MAN UNITED CONFIDENTIAL: Aaron Wan-Bissaka in limbo as contract talks stall, Andre Onana faces an AFCON dilemma, steward is sacked for Palestine flags promise… and why Ten Hag wanted Mason Mount so much
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Contract talks between United and Aaron Wan-Bissaka appear to have gone quiet.
Negotiations over a new deal looked to be heading for a positive conclusion once the transfer window closed in the summer, but Confidential understands it now seems more likely that United will trigger a 12-month extension to keep Wan-Bissaka under contract until June 2025 and look at his situation again in the New Year.
The 25-year-old defender has just returned to training after suffering a hamstring injury in mid-September, and United want him to get fully fit while they focus on overcoming a poor start to the season.
Wan-Bissaka is close friends with Jadon Sancho and flew to New York with the exiled United star last month, but it’s unlikely that manager Erik ten Hag would hold that against him.
If United didn’t activate the one-year contract extension for Wan-Bissaka – or Victor Lindelof – both players would be able to speak to foreign clubs on January 1 and leave as free agents in the summer. Anthony Martial is in the same boat, but it’s unclear if the club will extend his deal too.
Manchester United right back Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s proposed contract talks are now on hold
It seems more likely that United will trigger a 12-month extension to keep Wan-Bissaka instead
Onana keeps options open
Things are looking up for Andre Onana after a shaky start at Manchester United.
He was the only United player to emerge from the Manchester derby with any credit on the back of his penalty heroics against FC Copenhagen and a solid performance at Sheffield United.
On Monday night, Onana came 23rd in the Ballon d’Or vote, one of only two goalkeepers on the list. Still, it remains to be seen if the Cameroon international goes to the Africa Cup of Nations in January and February.
Onana is believed to be willing to go to the tournament in Ivory Coast, but it could cost him up to seven games with United. Given that Ten Hag has signed a very capable No 2 in Altay Bayindir, that will have to be a consideration.
Andre Onana (left) is still weighing up whether or not to be part of Cameroon’s AFCON squad
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Steward sacked over Palestine promise
A casual steward at United has been sacked after he vowed to help fans bring Palestine flags into Old Trafford for upcoming matches.
A user on X by the name of Ismail posted a screenshot of an email from an official Manchester United account saying he will ‘not receive any further offers of work’ and had been ‘removed from the pool of casual workers’, which sources say is authentic.
It came after he offered assistance in getting Palestine flags into the ground in defiance of a Premier League ban and United’s own stadium policy.
‘If anyone comes to watch the game and your seat is in the South Stand and want to bring a Palestine flag but someone causes problems, then let me know,’ Ismail wrote. ‘I’m a steward at Manchester United, and I work in the South Stand. My coat number is 455 so you’ll be able to spot me easily.’
The post was in response to a fan claiming they had been thrown out of Old Trafford during the Manchester derby for displaying a Palestine flag. Sources said the agency-employed steward, who declined to comment further when contacted by Confidential, had committed other breaches of contract during his time working at Old Trafford. United declined to comment.
Noisy neighbours give United the blues
As a comprehensive Manchester derby defeat sank in for the United players on Sunday, they could hear City’s players celebrating their victory in the away dressing-room at Old Trafford.
Pep Guardiola’s side chanted ‘Champions again, ole, ole ole’ as they chase an unprecedented fourth Premier League title in a row.
The visiting contingent had earlier marked their territory at Old Trafford by pinning City flags to the wall in the corridor outside their dressing-room which could be seen by anyone passing by.
United’s home win over City
Old Trafford is falling down, begins the song by City fans which also taunts their United rivals over the ‘Glazers staying 10 more years’.
The leaky roof has certainly become a symbol of United’s decline under their American owners, but Old Trafford actually ranks above the Etihad among the most highly-rated Premier League venues in the country.
The survey conducted by Gambling ‘N Go is based on visitor experience reviews on TripAdvisor, Google, and Yelp, marking each stadium out of five.
Old Trafford has been voted ninth out of the 20 grounds in the country with the Etihad in 11th. The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is top of the table, ahead of the City Ground and Anfield, with Selhurst Park bottom of the pile.
Old Trafford has been voted the ninth-best Premier League stadium ahead of the Etihad
Glazer demos on hold
Anti-Glazer protests planned by The 1958 have been shelved following the death of United legend Sir Bobby Charlton.
The group, who have organised most of the recent demonstrations against the ownership, had earmarked the Manchester derby for their latest protest. But The 1958 announced it was on hold as a market of respect to Sir Bobby, who died earlier this month at the age of 86.
There are no demonstrations planned for United’s Carabao Cup tie at home to Newcastle on Wednesday and it is unclear whether there will be a protest ahead of Luton’s visit to Old Trafford on November 11. The Luton game is United’s last home fixture until they play Chelsea on Wednesday, December 6.
Anti-Glazer protests planned by fans were shelved on Sunday after Sir Bobby Charlton’s death
Why Bobby turned down Toon
Born in Ashington Made in Manchester, declares the tribute banner to Sir Bobby at Old Trafford.
As United prepare to face Newcastle in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday night, visiting fans may wonder why the second cousin to the great Jackie Milburn decided to pursue a career at Old Trafford and not nearer to home at St James’ Park when he was a teenager growing up in the north-east.
‘I had a visit from the famous relative who had become a huge and inspiring part of my life,’ Charlton recalled in his autobiography. ‘Wor Jackie said he was obliged to make the case for his club Newcastle United, but he also said he was doing it without conviction.
‘Newcastle treated their young players without care or thought, he reported. They didn’t have a development policy. Instead they operated a kind of lottery. Maybe a young player would survive it, maybe not.’
The Manchester United and England icon sadly passed away on October 21, aged 86
Mount passed Ten Hag’s Dutch audition
Erik ten Hag caused a bit of a stir after the Manchester derby by telling ViaPlay that United will never play like his old club Ajax because the players here are more used to a long-ball game.
Yet Ten Hag’s future at Old Trafford may ultimately depend on the success or otherwise of players he signed because of his past experiences in Holland.
Andre Onana, Lisandro Martinez, Antony and Tyrell Malacia are the most obvious examples, but Confidential has learned that it’s also true of England international Mason Mount who has struggled so far to live up to his £60m transfer fee from Chelsea.
Mount was coveted by a number of clubs last summer including Liverpool and Arsenal, but opted for United after a direct pitch from Ten Hag who remembered being impressed by his early days on loan at Vitesse Arnhem in the Eredivisie.
The midfielder was won over by the detail in which Ten Hag remembered him as a teenager, and the way he had followed his career since then, including a Champions League final assist and a strong message on how he saw him fitting at Old Trafford.
In one of Ten Hag’s first matches as Ajax boss, a fledgling Mount had inspired Vitesse to a shock 3-2 win over the Amsterdam giants in 2018 – with Onana in goal for the opposition.
Having landed Mount, Ten Hag has ironically found it difficult to fit him into the team. The 24-year-old has started only four Premier League games. If he has been on the pitch with Bruno Fernandes, United have looked alarmingly open – from the first match against Wolves to the second half of Sunday’s derby-day disaster against City after Mount came off the bench.
Mason Mount first caught the eye of Erik ten Hag during a loan spell at Vitesse Arnhem (left)
Zelem leads women’s PFA fight
Manchester United captain Katie Zelem has been at the forefront of creating a women’s committee at the PFA.
In a letter seen by Confidential, the PFA have told its members the new committee will provide them with the same level of protection as those in the men’s game.
Zelem said: ‘Players have been brilliant, putting time in to work with the PFA on this and then stepping up to make sure our voices were heard loud and clear.’
United captain Katie Zelem is leading the charge for creating a women’s committee at the PFA
Youth system going strong
United are the highest-ranked Premier League club in a list of teams that have produced the most players currently active in the world’s top leagues.
Ajax are top of the list compiled by CIES Football Observatory with 86 players trained by the Dutch club, just ahead of Benfica and Sporting Lisbon. United are in 47th place with 47 players, five places ahead of City and six ahead of Arsenal.
United boast a proud record of having an academy player in every match-day squad going back 86 years and 4,222 consecutive games. However, a change in policy has seen the club focus more on keeping the cream of the crop rather than stockpiling young talent which, United believe, would flourish more elsewhere.
The best example is Anthony Elanga, sold to Nottingham Forest for £20m in the summer, with Zidane Iqbal, James Garner and Ethan Laird among the other players who have been sold on.
United are the highest-ranked Premier League club for producing the most players currently active in the world’s top leagues – with the likes of Marcus Rashford at their forefront
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