With Jadon Sancho’s miserable spell at Manchester United seeming to edge nearer to its end, the Red Devils would be smart to be in the market for a winger this winter.
Sancho received plenty of interest from the Bundesliga ahead of the January transfer window, and a return to former club Borussia Dortmund now appears to on the horizon. It was with BVB where Sancho had developed into a £73m footballer and fully-fledged England international.
However, Sancho’s time at United has been entrenched with indifferent performances and a catastrophic falling out with Erik ten Hag means the 23-year-old hasn’t featured since August.
With alternative wide options – Alejandro Garnacho notwithstanding – struggling mightily this term, a fresh winger wouldn’t go amiss at Old Trafford for the second half of 2023/24 and beyond.
Here are four possible options for the Red Devils to look at.
United are easing into the Sir Jim Radcliffe era, and reports suggest the club wants to make Michael Olise the first blockbuster arrival of their potentially prosperous new dawn.
The Frenchman signed a new deal with Crystal Palace in August which is said to have increased the size of his release clause. Some have mentioned a figure in the region of £70m.
However, even a fee that large could prove to be a bargain given the form Olise has displayed since recovering from an ankle injury. A masterful playmaker from the right flank, he recorded five goal contributions in his final four Premier League games of 2023.
Olise is not a player who relies upon support in wide areas, and he’d potentially prove to be a monumental upgrade on the harmless Antony.
Adept of both flanks and still electric despite his injury woes, Pedro Neto is a talent with the ability to raise the roof at Old Trafford.
His initial burst at Wolves was majestic, but a devastating knee injury led to quiet recent campaigns before the 2023/24 rolled around. While Neto endured another injury setback, the Portuguese wide man returned to his most potent form at the start of the campaign.
Neto’s speed and directness are cheat codes in transition, and he was almost single-handedly responsible for Wolves’ 2-1 victory over Manchester City in September.
However, he is tied down to a long-term contract at Molineux, and United might have reservations paying a premium price for a player with Neto’s injury history.
Chiesa looked as if he was destined to dominate the European scene for a while after playing an instrumental role in Italy’s Euro 2020 triumph. While already a familiar name to many, the winger truly announced himself to the world at that tournament.
However, an ACL injury suffered just six months after the Azzurri’s success at Wembley means the Italian is yet to reach the heights of 2021. There have been glimpses, sure, but there’s no doubt that Chiesa has lost a hint of his once devastating explosivity.
Thus, the Juventus star has had to evolve and he remains an impressive performer for the Old Lady; one capable of performing multiple roles. However, his very best form came off the right flank, and perhaps a return to this role in new environment would help Chiesa return to his very best.
Another name gaining plenty of traction in the transfer rumour mill is Spain international Nico Williams. The younger brother of longtime Athletic Club star Inaki, Nico has emerged as a possible option for many top clubs in 2024 – Barcelona have also been linked.
A multi-faceted winger with his best years ahead of him, Williams is a dribbling phenom in wide areas. He can play off either flank, with the space he’s able to generate in one-v-one situations aiding his ability to create in the final third. He’s also deadly when attacking space.
The youngster is a handy contributor in front of goal without being prolific, and despite Athletic often forcing clubs to pay premium prices for their talents – as United have found out in the past – it’s believed that any deal for Williams wouldn’t be crippling financially.
Williams is a combination of Olise and Neto, but without the existing Premier League know-how.
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