Solving Manchester United’s Right Wing Problem6 min read
Manchester United’s record reads seven defeats in their last nine games. From the last time they found the back of the net, they have conceded nine goals. It is fair to say the Red Devils have reached yet another low point and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has one mighty task on his hands.
Not too many would assign the blame for United’s fortunes to the Norwegian, given the squad he inherited and the limited time of turning this team into his own. He might have had a successful few months while interim manager, but the realities became clear very quickly, this side is simply not good enough.
One area out of many that needs revamping this summer is right wing. Constantly having to play Juan Mata or Jesse Lingard, both more natural number 10s, out-wide suggests complete negligence when entering the transfer period.
Here are some options for Manchester United:
Option 1: Jadon Sancho
The most desired option is always going to be the most expensive. After breaking out onto the European stage with Borussia Dortmund, Jadon Sancho is a player in demand.
With his English heritage and involvement in the national team, it is no surprise as to why Man United will be wanting to fend off competitors for his signature.
His 12 goals and 18 assists in 39 appearances in all competitions suggests he is also ready to tear it up in England and build consistency over a long period of his career.
Enquiries made from #MUFC for Jadon Sancho. #1MUN
— Man United Source (@1ManUnitedNews) April 20, 2019
Sancho would dominate United’s right-hand side for more than a decade in theory, given he is only 19-years-old. The difficulty of pulling this off is offering a suitable fee for the Englishman, which Borussia Dortmund say is somewhere in the region of £150 million.
Given the gaps in the rest of their team and extended squad, it would come somewhat as a surprise to see United put that type of money into just one player. He is the perfect player for the club, but is likely to be considered as too expensive for now.
Option 2: Nicolas Pepe
Not as well-known as Sancho, but Nicolas Pepe has sprung onto the scene this season with his impressive performances with French club Lille.
The Ivory Coast international is being courted by a lot of European heavyweights, and it is easy to understand why. His 32 goal contributions in 36 matches in all competitions suggests what a threat he can be, occupying the right flank.
Not as technically-gifted as Sancho, perhaps, but Pepe’s bullishness shows he can deliver when it matters.
Lille president Gerard Lopez says 23-year-old Ivorian winger Nicolas Pepe, of interest to @ManUtd, will leave the French club in the summer. (Manchester Evening News)
— Barclays League News (@BarclaysLeague) April 14, 2019
At 23-years-old, Pepe has a long career ahead of him and will not cost an extortionate fee this summer. With his contract running until 2022, Lille are likely to ask for around £55 million for him, but it all depends on whether a bidding war ensues.
The Lille winger has the dribbling, vision and goal-scoring ability to make him a threat to any team in Europe. He is ready for the next step and Manchester United should be exploring options on how to get him at Old Trafford next season.
Option 3: Hirving Lozano
The final option, should the other two fail, should be Hirving Lozano. After a stellar World Cup for Mexico, the winger has illustrated that he can build upon that foundation for PSV Eindhoven.
With having played both left and right wing, Lozano offers a versatility that the other two do not, but the obvious disadvantage he has is that his unique performances have come in the Eredivisie – not considered one of the top five European leagues.
Lozano has the best numbers out of the three, having contributed 33 goals in 39 appearances, and looks like he can adapt his game to the aggressive nature of the Premier League.
Hirving Lozano wants to join Man Utd as joining them is as big as a move to Real or Barca to him. He has spoken to Chicharito about what it’s like to play in Manchester, and Javier could not be kinder about his former club and told Hirving to push hard.”
— Man Utd Channel (@ManUtdChannel) April 8, 2019
Although some consider him to be a left-sided player, Lozano is in fact right-footed and has featured on that side for the majority of the season. In his 24 appearances in all competitions on the right wing, Lozano has scored 15 goals and assisted 11 times, which are remarkable numbers.
Manchester United had success in the last Mexican they brought to Old Trafford in Javier Hernandez and should be in the market for ‘Chucky’. PSV Eindhoven will hold out for a sum that eclipses the club’s record £30 million they received from the Red Devils. In this day and age, that should not be a problem.