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‘It hurts so much’ – Manchester United fans stunned at academy star leaving in ‘cheap’ transfer


Jun 21, 2023
'It hurts so much' - Manchester United fans stunned at academy star leaving in 'cheap' transfer


Manchester United fans were left disappointed by the news that a homegrown academy star is set to depart for a snip.

Manchester-born Zidane Iqbal is poised to join Eredivisie side Utrecht for just €1million [£850,000] according to reports.

Iqbal is heading out the club for less than £1million


Iqbal is heading out the club for less than £1millionCredit: Getty

The 20-year-old is an Iraq international and has one senior club appearance to his name, coming against Young Boys in the 2021/22 Champions League.

Outside of that, he’s starred for the academy, but hasn’t been afforded any minutes by manager Erik ten Hag, despite making the first team bench on 17 occasions last season.

But the price has raised some eyebrows, with Iqbal signing his first professional contract in 2021.

A sell-on clause has been included in a four-year deal, but supporters were still gutted to see such a talent slip through their fingers.

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One Twitter user wrote: “The club stopped him from going on loan, didn’t play a minute during the season, and didn’t let him go for the U20 World Cup. Then shipped out, for peanuts! This sale is one that hurts so much.

Another added: “This is embarrassing, how do we sell such talent? Come on!”

A third wrote: “That’s £850k or 2.5 weeks of de Gea’s wages…”

While another said: “Absolute disgrace, he never got the chance, should’ve loaned him…”

On a United fan’s Instagram page, Iqbal appeared to confirm his exit by writing ‘thank you’ in response to a post that said: “Watched Zidane Iqbal for years. Top guy and a really talented footballer.

All the best. First British South Asian footballer in Manchester United’s history…hopefully our paths will cross again.”

Despite the criticism, Ten Hag has shown faith in a number of other academy stars, with Alejandro Garnacho featuring in 34 games last season.

His breakthrough has seen him included among the Golden Boy nominations.

Facundo Pellistri ended up notching 10 appearances after links to a move away, while Kobbie Mainoo and Charlie McNeill both got minutes for the first team.

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