It’s official. Manchester United’s Iraqi youngster, Zidane Iqbal, has left the club. And many Red Devils fans are not happy with the fee that the Premier League powerhouse received for him.
The versatile 20-year-old Manchester-born defensive midfielder joined United’s youth setup at the age of 11. Many had described Zidane as one for the future. He made his senior debut, and only first-team appearance, in the UEFA Champions League, in 2021.
His 89th-minute appearance against Young Boys made history. Zidane became the first UK-born South-Asian to play for the Old Trafford club. It remained his only first team appearance. He has gone on to represent his adopted country at national level on three occasions since.
At the end of June, Zidane Iqbal left Manchester United for FC Utrecht in the Dutch Eredivisie for an undisclosed fee.
Despite its undisclosed status, experts believe the transfer amount was around the €1 million mark. There were also significant sell-on clauses attached.
Many Manchester United fans don’t think the deal is good value at all. One supporter even referenced the Paul Pogba transfer saga as a comparison. Manchester United allowed the future French star to leave for free before buying him back for €105 million five years later.
“We will end up buying him in a few years for 80 million,” the fan retorted.
Several fans believe that Zidane was ready to feature more in the first team during the coming season. As such, FC Utrecht may find slightly shorter odds in the Eredivisie this year. Despite Zidane’s departure, Manchester United are among the teams favoured by bookmakers for UEFA Champions League qualification. A few football betting fans believed that this kind of transfer could negatively affect betting odds from bookmakers like those found through this guide, however, the opposite seems to have happened so far.
Other supporters expressed concern about promising players constantly leaving Manchester United. They thought it could decrease the team’s chances of sustained future success. Many fans mentioned the famous “Class of ’92.” United’s academy graduates in that year included David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt, and the Neville twins.
The future looks bright for Zidane Iqbal. The gap in class between Manchester United and FC Utrecht is clear, but playing at the top level in the Netherlands will give him experience.
The current FC Utrecht squad includes a mixed blend of youth and experience. There are several players with international caps, and there’s no doubt Zidane will get more game time there than he did in Manchester.
With FC Utrecht squad members coming from all over the world, Zidane should have no problems adjusting. He has European teammates from Holland, England, Belgium, France, and Greece. Others from the USA, Australia, Morocco, and Suriname mean Utrecht’s dressing room is truly international.
Manchester United supporters won’t stop questioning the transfer of this young player. The Old Trafford club had nurtured Zidane Iqbal for almost a decade.
Clearly, Manchester United invested a lot of time and resources into Zidane Iqbal. Was the transfer fee received enough compensation for this? If Zidane achieves great things at FC Utrecht this season, and in seasons to come, the question won’t go away. Will the future sell-on clauses included in the deal ultimately provide sufficient compensation?
Among fans, the initial shock of Zidane’s sale is slowly abating. As it does, another transfer story involving a Manchester United youngster has made the headlines. Harrison Parker, a 16-year-old United central defender described by some as a “wonderkid”, is readying himself for a move across the city.
UEFA Champions League and EPL champions, Manchester City, have reportedly offered the teenager a scholarship deal. United’s bitter rivals have included a “significant fee” to its red neighbours as part of the deal.
The story goes that Parker has already rejected a counteroffer from his current club. After arriving from Arsenal only two years ago, it appears the Red Devils are now fighting to keep hold of their future star.
Zidane Iqbal’s recent departure, and Harrison Parker’s apparent future transfer, is raising more questions among club supporters and EPL football watchers.
Is the state and reputation of Manchester United’s academy dwindling? Is the club more focused on current success because of the recent lean years? What does letting these youngsters go mean to future club success?
We can only look to the future for answers to these questions. In the meantime, Manchester United look set to continue its forward strides in 2023/24. Following a promising campaign last season, the club has improved its squad with the addition of Mason Mount from Chelsea. There are strong signs that Serie A’s Andre Onana and Rasmus Højlund could follow soon.
The short-term strength of the club is looking promising.