Ineos got a glimpse of the Manchester United they want when an era ended vs Newcastle

It was a night for farewells at Old Trafford. Just how many of these Manchester United players were saying goodbye will only become clear in the coming weeks, but it's safe to assume it wasn't just Raphael Varane waving to the Stretford End for the final time after the 3-2 win against Newcastle.

Despite an improved performance at the back, it is likely that Varane's former Real Madrid colleague Casemiro will also depart this summer. His contract isn't up but with no Champions League football and turning 33 next season, it is a burden for Ineos. His performances this season have suggested a decline that may prove irreversible.

Varane and Casemiro, with nine Champions League titles between them, are probably the last of the superstar signings at Old Trafford. At a combined £112million, it's safe to say Real have had the better of those deals. With Ineos now pulling the strings at United the era of glamour buys is over.

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Not only can they not afford fees and wages of that size anymore, it also doesn't fit the model that Sir Jim Ratcliffe wants. As he has already detailed this season, he wants his club to be buying the next superstar, not the superstar who might be standing on top of the mountain but knowing the descent is imminent.

So maybe it was fitting that the curtain came down on that era when young players who fit the bill for the new United stole the show. Kobbie Mainoo, 19, and 21-year-olds Amad and Rasmus Hojlund were the matchwinners against Newcastle to keep hopes of European qualification alive.

If the potential of Mainoo and Hojlund was already clear, the emergence of Amad this week has been a major positive and it only makes you wonder where he has been all season.

For a run of 10 Premier League games between February 4 and April 7 he was an unused substitute on eight occasions, was suspended for the draw at Brentford and got 10 minutes in a losing cause against Fulham. Maybe Ten Hag will point to training performances but in all likelihood, the answer to a season-long problem has been under his nose for three months. Or sat behind him, to be more accurate.

Amad would have expected his chances to have come earlier this season, having made a major breakthrough during last season's spell in the Championship with Sunderland. That pre-season injury was a blow but he was back in action for the final game of 2023.

It's been a slow burn since then. His impact off the bench against Liverpool in the game of the season could have been a turning point, but the red card for his celebration also meant he missed the next match and it was nearly a month until he featured again. Finally, Ten Hag handed him his first start since December 2021 on Sunday and his performances since have been a revelation.

A week ago he looked like a prime candidate to be sold to fund a transfer splurge this summer. Now he looks a potential answer on the left and it's worth remembering he played nine games as a striker for the Black Cats last season. He is an option to fulfil the kind of false nine role that Fernandes played against Newcastle.

His dribbling has been a strength in both games this week. It is neat and tidy and the ball is kept close to his feet, forcing defenders to either stand off or risk a mis-timed tackle. He has an eye for a goal as well and forced Martin Dubravka into a save from 25 yards in the first half.

His assist for Mainoo had a touch of good fortune about it, with the pass initially intended for Fernandes, but there was no luck involved with Amad's goal. His strike from a half-cleared corner was as crisp and clean as it gets, with the ball rocketing past Dubravka and crashing into the back of the bet.

As well as Amad's man-of-the-match display, it was a much better night for Mainoo, who took his goal well and was a calm presence in midfield. Making a 25th start in 26 games he looked fresher than he has done in recent weeks.

Hojlund was rested having looked short of form recently but will be buoyed by his goal off the bench. The right-footed strike was his 15th of the season and another sign of the potential that lies within a striker who is far from the finished article.

It was Varane and £50million man Anthony Martial who were last off after the lap of honour, but the future at United lies to players of a very different ilk.