The young midfielder has left the Red Devils for QPR but the buy-back clause inserted into the deal could see him return to Old Trafford one day
He was the architect in Manchester United’s only victory over Liverpool this season, has attracted countless comparisons with a peak Michael Carrick, and has never looked more ready for first-team football. You can see why QPR were so keen to sign Sean Goss.
And while it will come as a disappointment to many United fans that the 21-year-old is heading out of Old Trafford, the tale of Paul Pogba has ensured that there will be no repeat of the world-record return which underlined the folly of letting the Frenchman leave in the first place.
United’s decision to sell Goss might surprise some, especially since he was included by Louis van Gaal in the 2015 US tour squad, but he is definitely ready for regular senior football now. Unless Jose Mourinho was suddenly going to find space in his central midfield for the former Exeter City youth then it was clear that he would have to find an assignment for him elsewhere.
Goss has dominated many a midfield playing for the Under-23s this season and it is less than two weeks since he was the beating heart of a 1-0 victory for the young Red Devils at Anfield. That it was United’s only victory against Liverpool in six attempts at Under-18, Under-23 and first-team level did not escape attention.
He may have had a penalty brilliantly saved by Shamal George but he continued to spray the ball around in trademark fashion and contribute in all areas of the field before eventually teeing up Matty Willock for an injury-time winner. While he obviously does not boast the experience and know-how of Carrick, he certainly displays the temperament and commands the respect of his team-mates. Throw in the mobility which allows him to get into clever attacking positions as well as cover defensively and QPR have got themselves a bargain.
Key to this deal, though, is the buy-back clause. After allowing Pogba to leave for free in 2012, United quickly realised what a costly decision that was. The size of the transfer fee involved in bringing back the midfielder from Juventus taught the club’s board a harsh lesson and, after inserting a caveat in the papers granting Memphis Depay’s exit to Lyon earlier in January, they have now protected themselves in relation to Goss too.
In many ways it could be a win-win situation for United since loan deals can be notoriously difficult to control. Cameron Borthwick-Jackson’s travails at Wolves, where he has not played since Paul Lambert replaced Walter Zenga at the helm in November, underline the uncertainties involved in trying to develop an asset away from Carrington.
By allowing Goss to leave on a permanent deal, they are trusting in the player’s ability and in QPR’s vested interest to get the best out of him. United are backing Goss to be a success and, should that happen, they have the option to bring him back at a time when he is ready and able to step straight in to the first-team picture.
Gone are the days when every positive performance by a former United starlet comes as a crushing blow to fans. In the age of the buy-back clause, it is just as likely that every decent display brings the player closer to an Old Trafford return – and that will be the over-riding hope with Goss as he gets set to spread his wings at Loftus Road.