Manchester United announced the club’s annual published list of players on Friday afternoon.

There were a number of predictable names on the list, like Arnau Puigmal – who had already announced his departure on social media.

And there was a surprise that we would call a surprise, even if we can see the logic in it. Here’s a look at our run-through of the eight players United is looking to release …

Eight are published by United

Iestyn Hughes: The departure of the young right-back was already known. He signed with Leicester City. United is stacked in his position and this opens up additional opportunities for Marc Jurado.

Mark Helm: Helm started the season promisingly and played frequently for the U23s. He didn’t seem to have much hope of making it to first-team level for United, however, so his departure was understandable.

Arnau Puigmal and Mark Helm (Photo by Jan Kruger / Getty Images)

Aliou Traore: Once promising midfielder Aliou Traore said last summer he wanted to play in the first team. United gave him a loan at Caen in Ligue 2 where he struggled to impress.

Sergio Romero: It was inevitable that Romero would go. At the same time, it’s a sad day for a great servant of the club that won the Europa League in 2017. If any of Dean Henderson or David de Gea were likely to leave, it would have been wise to keep Romero, but he really deserves this opportunity to go somewhere and play as he’s good enough to be a number one.

Joel Pereira: If United could have fired Pereira last summer, the club would have done it. He just got a pointless loan from Huddersfield Town, where he played two games and conceded 11 goals throughout the season.

(Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA / Getty Images)

Jacob Carney: This one was the surprise as two other goalkeepers also left. Carney has just impressed on his third loan to the Northern Irish top flight. At just 20 years of age, he has potential and is quickly caught.

Max Taylor: United had already announced Taylor’s departure. The young center-back is looking for a new club and said he would consider moving abroad.

Arnau-Puigmal: The talented Spaniard was good enough to stay but has been linked to a return home since early 2021. He might one day regret United not giving him a first-team chance.

In negotiations with three

United had the opportunity to release three more players and decided to extend the discussions and take a little more time. That was the case with Angel Gomes last summer, and he left anyway.

FBL-ENG-PR-MAN UTD-LEICESTER(Photo by PETER POWELL / POOL / AFP via Getty Images)

Juan Mata: The ball is here in Mata’s place because United wants to agree with it. If he wants a new challenge where he plays more, United will let him go. But if he wants to stay, the club will grant him a one-year extension.

That feels too sentimental because it would get in the way of talented youngsters like Hannibal and Shola Shoretire. But it’s best not to overreact as Mata could head off in a new direction where he’ll play more.

Manchester United travels to Granada for the UEFA Europa League game(Photo by John Peters / Manchester United via Getty Images)

Lee Grant: With Tom Heaton walking in, it seems bizarre in order to potentially extend Grant’s deal.

The reason for this will be if one of Henderson’s or De Gea’s leaves. Heaton would move up to second and Lee Grant to third. This enables Nathan Bishop to go on loan. With other stoppers like Romero leaving, United don’t want to sign an additional replacement behind Heaton so Grant could stay for another year.

Paul Woolston: United are trying to do the right thing from Woolston. While he was likely heading for a discharge, he suffered a cruciate ligament rupture earlier this year. United could extend his contract to aid his recovery.

Manchester United U18 training sessionDermot Mee (Photo by Ash Donelon / Manchester United via Getty Images)

Extension exercised …

Dermot Mee: United have activated extra time for young goalkeeper Dermot Mee. The 18-year-old has played for the U18 several times this season and could get a chance to play for the U23 next year.

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