What are Marcus Rashford's options if he does leave Manchester United?

Marcus Rashford
(Image credit: Getty)

Since February 25, 2016, it has been impossible to imagine Marcus Rashford playing football for anyone but Manchester United. 

On that chilly, floodlit evening, the then 18-year-old made his Red Devils debut, hitting a brace for Louis van Gaal's experimental side in the Europa League against FC Midtjylland. As a beaming Rashford kissed the United badge in front of a swaying Stratford end, it was clear to all that the youngster would end his career at the club he'd represented since the age of eight.

And, yet, now 24, Rashford is reportedly open to leaving this summer.

Unhappy with his playing time and, one assumes, the club's on-field decline over the past decade, the England international apparently wants out. 

For what it's worth, Rashford's made 25 first team appearances this season, scoring five goals. Eighteen of those appearances have come in the Premier League, at an average of 48 minutes per fixture. While the player only returned from a serious back injury in October, he wants to play more. But if that isn't for United, then where? We look at the options...

Barcelona or Real Madrid

The obvious destination, should Rashford get his alleged wish to leave, would be to one of the Spanish giants, Real Madrid or Barcelona

These clubs have the prestige, ambition and allure to attract the very best and Barcelona have even reportedly come close to tempting Rashford to Camp Nou in the past.

The Catalans would also have the necessity for a player like Rashford. The club is in a transitional phase, following the end of the Lionel Messi era, and would presumably jump at the chance to sign a young, versatile attacker with 93 United goals to his name. Real have a far stronger squad, but would surely also be interested. 

What neither club has, however, is the cash required to take Rashford from United this summer. Rashford's current deal expires in 2023 – with the option of a one-year extension held by the club – and it would presumably take more than £100m for Old Trafford bosses to countenance letting their poster boy leave, regardless of his recent form. 

Barcelona are barely keeping the taxman at bay as it is, while Real are plotting sensational moves for at least one of Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland in 2022. Rashford would hardly be a smart move for either right now. 

Likelihood: 4/10

PSG

Mauricio Pochettino

(Image credit: Getty)

If money's an issue then a club with deep pockets is required. Rashford doesn't seem the type that would destroy his own reputation by going to Man City, so that leaves PSG as the continent's likeliest destination. 

The French giants can guarantee riches, silverware and a calibre of team-mates few teams can rival. What's more, with Mbappe almost certain to depart this summer, Neymar's recent talk of joining the MLS in the not-too-distant future and Messi struggling for form in France, an overhaul of that front line may soon be required. The opportunity to spearhead a new era would be exciting for any player.

But for a Manchester boy, reared on the tradition and heritage of a club like Manchester United, would joining a nouveau riche petro-club seem a little too gaudy? Maybe not...

Likelihood: 6/10

Inter or Juventus

Joining one of the Italian giants could certainly have its advantages. The league is traditionally slower and less physically demanding, giving players with frequent injury issues a greater chance of game time. Romelu Lukaku's recent spell in Italy proves how rejuvenating a season or two can be to a player's reputation. 

The weather is stunning, the food is bellissimo and playing for either Inter or Juve more or less guarantees silverware. Both could be in need for new attackers if rumours linking Lautaro Martinez and Paulo Dybala away from their respective clubs are to be believed. Those deals could also generate the funds needed to bring in a player like Rashford. On paper, it could be a good fit for an intelligent young footballer to revitalise his career.

A major downside of Italian football is, of course, its issues with racism – an aspect that wouldn't be lost on Rashford. 

Likelihood: 5/10

Manchester United

Moving to another Premier League club seems highly unlikely. United wouldn't sell to any direct rivals and wealthy Newcastle would surely fail to convince Rashford to swap Old Trafford for St. James's Park at this stage in their evolution. 

A move to the MLS or China would spell the end for Rashford's England career and so, in all likelihood, his best bet will be to remain where he is. 

If Rashford's form improves, he's easily good enough to win back his place in the United first team and, when that happens, a long-term deal should be offered. 

Rashford doesn't seem the type to ruffle feathers unnecessarily, and his pleas for greater playing time should be taken seriously. Yet it remains unfathomable, at this point, that Rashford would see his career out anywhere else. 

Likelihood: 5/10

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Ed McCambridge
Staff Writer

Ed is a staff writer at FourFourTwo, working across the magazine and website. A German speaker, he’s been working as a football reporter in Berlin since 2015, predominantly covering the Bundesliga and Germany's national team. Favourite FFT features include an exclusive interview with Jude Bellingham following the youngster’s move to Borussia Dortmund in 2020, a history of the Berlin Derby since the fall of the Wall and a celebration of Kevin Keegan’s playing career.