Manchester United fans divided as club accept ‘shockingly low’ offer for promising youngster Zidane Iqbal

The frustration seems to be not just about letting a young talent go but the club's history of poor sales, whereas many others are calling it an overreaction.

Danny Jones Danny Jones - 21st June 2023

The Manchester United fan base has been left split following the news that an offer has been accepted for promising youngster, Zidane Iqbal, with the academy player set to join FC Utrecht imminently after more than 10 years at the club.

20-year-old Zidane Iqbal has been revered as one of the brightest young talents in Man United‘s academy for a number of years now, finding his way onto the bench seven times in the Premier League and a further nine times in the Europa League last season.

However, despite making his debut back in 2021 to become the first-ever British South Asian player to play for the club, flitting between the youth ranks and sitting as an unused sub has very much been the story of his United career over the past year or so and he is now set to leave on a permanent deal.

According to The Athletic‘s David Ornstein, the Manchester-born Iraqi international scouted by the Red Devils while playing for his local side, Sale United, is soon to depart Old Trafford for the Eredivisie side for just £855,000 (around €1 million) on a four-year contract with a “significant sell-on clause”.

Now, while it has been reported that his exit was planned as early as the beginning of last season (the only debate being whether it would be a loan or permanent), Iqbal apparently asked to leave as early as January but was told he could not due to the ongoing injury crisis.


However, the local lad still failed to make a single appearance under Erik ten Hag and was then left frustrated when the manager didn’t allow him to with the Iraq national team to the U20 World Cup which finished earlier this month, despite not being given any opportunities in the first-team.

And it is that fact that has left many United fans disappointed as despite crying to see more of him in the likes of the Europa League and domestic cup games, he is now about to leave his boyhood club without ever having got the chance to kick a ball at the senior level.


Becoming the latest academy prospect that fans once thought could have a big future to say goodbye, it has left many wondering whether it’s the right move and what could have been if he had been given a proper chance.

One person even tweeted, ‘Fast forward to 2028 and Manchester United agree to buy Zidane Iqbal back for £90m’.

As you can see, beyond just the outgoing itself and the loss of a much-admired academy midfielder, one of the most concerning parts for many supporters is the money itself, with several noting that his reported fee is basically the equivalent of two weeks’ worth of Jadon Sancho‘s wages.

Moreover, although he may not have had the game time to prove himself on the pitch at the top level and potentially drive up his price, the likes of Man City have managed to move on promising youth players for significant money in the same situation.


Even United themselves signed Amad Diallo after only three senior appearances in Serie A, who has clearly gone on to show his talent in the Championship this past season.

The argument seems to be that the red half of Manchester just isn’t very good when it comes to transfer business and player sales, in particular. In fact, since 2018, the club have only received upwards of £20m for a player twice — Romelu Lukaku and Dan James — with many players leaving for free.

The fee has been described by many as ‘shockingly low’.

When you break it down like that, it doesn’t make for great reading, does it?

He was obviously unproven in the Prem and had simply remained under that ‘one to watch’ status, but United’s heritage of bringing young players through and seeing the likes of Alejandro Garnacho thrive as he has this season understandably left some thinking the move is premature.

On the other hand, many fans are arguing that there was no standout reason to keep Iqbal at the club and that some of the response to his departure has been a bit of an overreaction, especially when considering the possibility of him continuing to sit on the bench and wasting prime years in his career.


Then again, that’s always the risk you take when you let a youth prospect go.

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Nevertheless, Man United fans are still overwhelmingly wishing him the best for his move to the Netherlands where he’ll hopefully get plenty of first-team football. After all, that’s the dream, isn’t it?

As for Iqbal himself, there’s no question as to what representing the club meant to him and he’ll always be a significant part of the United’s history.

We always want to see Mancs do well — go and smash it, lad!

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Featured Image — Zidane Iqbal (via Instagram)