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Does Marcos Rojo have a future at Manchester United?

During the summer of 2014, under the management of Louis van Gaal, Manchester United signed Argentinian defender Marcos Rojo for £16 million from Sporting Lisbon. As part of the deal, the player signed a five-year contract at the club and United winger, Nani headed back to Portugal on loan.

At the time, it was thought that the Argentinian could bolster United’s defence which was trying to recover from the departure of both Rio Ferdinand, who signed for Queens Park Rangers and Nemanja Vidic, who left for Inter Milan, although a pre-contract agreement was made during the January transfer window that year.

At the time, United had Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans as the experienced central defenders in the squad with both Michael Keane and Tom Thorpe impressing at academy level, however, Keane only played twice that season, Thorpe once. Rojo, who could play as a central defender or as a left-back gave United some experience at the back.

Rojo played for the club 26 times during his debut season, scoring one goal but suffered from three separate injuries that season, which stopped him featuring in 12 matches. The following season, the Argentinian played 28 times in all competitions, again suffering from a series of injuries, missing 28 matches this time. Suffering from injuries was going to be something which defined the defender’s career at United.

During the 2016/17 season, Rojo played his first full season, which incidentally was Jose Mourinho’s first season at the club. Rojo played a total of 41 times for United, again scoring one goal. However, in e UEFA Europa League match against Anderlecht at Old Trafford, United lost Rojo after he suffered a cruciate ligament rupture which kept him out for the remainder of the season and for three months of the 2017/18 season. Zlatan Ibrahimovic was injured in the same match, ending his season also.

Rojo played 12 times during the 2017/18 season but by that time, Mourinho has signed Eric Bailly during the summer of 2016 and Victor Lindelof who arrived during the summer of 2017. With both Jones and Smalling still at the club and the fact Daley Blind arrived during the summer of 2015, leaving last summer, Rojo found it tough to be selected for matches. Last season, under Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, he featured just six times during the course of the season.

Rojo was rewarded with a new contract in March 2018, keeping at the club until the summer of 2021, with the option of a further year to be added. This seemed strange at the time as he was seldom being selected and when he was playing, he was either rash or rusty and did not fortify United’s defence all that much, especially last season.

With the emergence of Axel Tuanzebe after his loan spell at Aston Villa and the fact that Tim Fosu-Mensah could also offer Solskjaer something this coming season, the likelihood of Rojo becoming a starter at the club seems pretty much impossible, even at left-back with Luke Shaw, Diogo Dalot and Ashley Young all able to play that and that is before you factor in the talented youth players emerging from within the academy.

Back in March, Rojo was training with former club Estudiantes in his native Argentina and in May, suggested that he would like to return to the club in the future, saying: “I have always said that I’m going to play in Estudiantes again and I hope so. Going back to my home, being with my family and playing for Estudiantes would be the icing on the cake for my career.” Whilst this does not mean he’s going to leave, it might be an option for him as his career at United is more than on the rocks.

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