Manchester United are in a bit of a mess right now.
As Ole Gunnar Solskjær only made four signings during the summer, one of which was backup goalkeeper Tom Heaton, you would not expect any of the club’s current problems to be due to the chemistry in the squad or something similar.
Even with the injuries suffered by summer recruiter Raphael Varane, you would expect United’s two world-class signings to leave their mark – and that has certainly been true for Ronaldo. The Portuguese legend has had nine goals in 12 games since his return to Old Trafford, and if anything, it has carried the team this season.
But what about the 73 million-pound man that Solskjær has basically been begging for since he took over as United manager?
In fairness, United’s interest in Jadon Sancho precedes Solskjær’s position at the helm, where United previously tried to pick him up when he wanted to leave Manchester City. But United stuck with him in 2019, only for Sancho to reject their interest following United’s inability to qualify for the Champions League.
The saga from Sancho to United intensified in the summer of 2020. Borussia Dortmund’s “€ 120 million or nothing” will probably still trigger many United fans, with Solskjær ultimately deciding not to reject the conspicuous fee in the hope of securing a cut. price agreement the following summer.
The move paid off when United finally got their man for £ 73 million. But if the club and manager were so desperate to buy him, why has he barely played this season, let alone in his preferred position?
United, Solskjær and the fans saw Sancho as the answer to United’s long-standing right wing problems. Apart from Antonio Valencia, the club have not boasted of a natural right wing within their ranks since Ronaldo’s first Old Trafford stay, if not David Beckham, and it has been clear that they have needed a creative spark on the right wing, almost as much. much like the I needed a defensive midfielder.
And who better to have signed than Sancho?
When he came to United at the age of just 21, he had topped the Bundesliga season rankings twice with players dribbling past, goal-creating actions, input to the final third and into the penalty area. Not to mention all the other stats he was in the top-five for, such as goals, assists, breakthroughs and basically any positive attacking stats.
Throw his ridiculous highlight wheel of his time Dortmund into the mix along with the fact that he is an Englishman, a former City academy player and had led England’s U17 team to the World Cup along with the likes of Phil Foden, Conor Gallagher, Emile Smith Rowe, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Angel Gomes, and suddenly he sees the dream signing.
The foot may have won the Golden Ball at the aforementioned World Cup, but in my opinion Sancho was the best player in the tournament.
So we bought a player who tore up a European top league before he turned 21, and who was seen as one of England’s biggest hopes for the next generation – not to mention the fact that we could now laugh at City, because he let him go and inadvertently made our team better. – so why does he not play?
The quick answer is that no one knows.
We can not definitively say that Sancho is not playing because of X, Y or Z. Of course, part of the problem is that he is not being played in the position he was probably told he would play before he arrived at the club.
In his 13 appearances so far – or to put those numbers in perspective, corresponding to just over six full matches – 77% of his minutes have come to the left, 6% have come as strikers and 17% of his minutes have been played to the right . If you do not mind raining, he has played a total of only 91 minutes in the position he was bought to play in – a whole match.
It is absurd to expect a 21-year-old to be fine in a new club after getting the equivalent of just one match at the position he was bought to play in. Nevertheless, Solskjær has continued to either play Mason Greenwood on the right or play completely without wingers.
At first glance, it looks like Greenwood is justifying his place to the right of United’s front line – four goals and an assist is a solid return. But when you dive into his stats and see that three of those goals came before the introduction of Ronaldo when Greenwood played as a striker, things may not be as rosy as we think.
A goal and an assist from the right side in all tournaments in what amounts to almost nine full matches is not good enough to justify starting over a world-class talent like Sancho.
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Maybe Solskjær notices it? In the recent Manchester derby, United boss Sancho brought in the break to play right, and the young player certainly added some energy and creativity to the game.
United fans, however, have every reason to be worried after reports that Sancho has been trained to play as a right wing-back.
Sancho has the talent and potential to be one of the Premier League’s best wingers ever. With creativity equivalent to an excellent Eden Hazard at Chelsea combined with the goal threat from an excellent Alexis Sanchez at Arsenal, he could really carry this United team on his shoulders if he hits top form.
Solskjær has to start offering Sancho several minutes in the position he was bought to play in, because right now United’s three-year hunt for the English national team player makes no sense at all.
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