Jadon Sancho represents the dream signing for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Manchester United this summer.
A 19-year-old winger of supreme talent, Sancho is the player that the Norwegian could focus his longer-term resurgence at the club around.
United’s attack has improved exponentially with the January addition of Bruno Fernandes in attacking midfield.
But there is still a clear imbalance on the right-hand side of attack with Solskjaer still being forced to squeeze square pegs into round holes.
Whoever the United boss operates on the right-flank, whether it be Mason Greenwood or Juan Mata, is constantly drifting in and not adept to the right-wing position.
This means a large amount of the attacking work down the right-hand side is done by Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who still requires some improvement in the final third.
Sancho, meanwhile, is a natural right-winger who can offer pace, width and flair to an exciting front three including Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford.
He has netted 14 goals and contributed 15 assists for Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga this season, but is largely expected to leave Germany this summer to seek his next challenge.
United are seen as the obvious suitors for Sancho, but the club must plan for a scenario where they miss out on the England international.
We looked at three potential alternatives to Sancho that the Reds could target.
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Lemar is a player that has been linked with a move to Old Trafford over the past week or so. According to a report in ESPN, United have already held preliminary discussions with the Frenchman’s representatives over a possible summer transfer. The 24-year-old is destined to leave Atletico Madrid this summer where his career has stagnated over the past couple of seasons. Lemar was in electric form at Monaco before his big-money La Liga move, but is not suited to the style of football played by master tactician Diego Simeone.
A versatile forward who can operate anywhere across the front three, Lemar is a talented option that looks available for transfer this summer. But with three years still left on his current contract in Madrid, it would take a seriously big fee to sign a player who may not hit the ground running in the Premier League.
An absolute colossus and perhaps the most exciting winger to watch in Premier League football. Traore has the build of an NFL player rather than a footballer, but has combined his remarkable physical abilities with his talents on the ball for Wolves this season. Traore is a product of Barcelona’s famous ‘La Masia’ academy and is finally beginning to realise some of his potential at the age of 24. Traore has 4 goals and 7 assists for Nuno Espirito Sancho’s side this season, striking a fantastic partnership with Diogo Jota and Raul Jimenez in a lethal front three.
There have never been doubts over his ability to beat a player one-on-one, but his final delivery has also been impressive this season. Solskjaer is a manager who loves his players to capitalise on the counter-attack and Traore is the ultimate destructive runner who can cause nightmares for defenders. He has certainly been the centre of many of United’s problems against Wolves in the last few meetings.
However, with Wolves in a strong selling position, it would be extremely difficult for United to get this one over the line.
Perhaps a left-field option, particularly given his previous stint in the Premier League. Thauvin signed for Newcastle in 2015 and came with plenty of expectation. But after just 16 appearances, his disastrous spell in the North East came to an end and he joined Marseille on loan.
Mo Salah’s form over the last couple of seasons at Liverpool after a successful spell at Roma is proof that players can succeed given a second opportunity in England. Since leaving Newcastle, Thauvin has been exceptional, netting over 15 goals in three consecutive seasons from the right-wing. He was even part of the French squad that lifted the Word Cup in Russia in 2018.
But the 27-year-old has made just two Ligue 1 appearances this term after requiring surgery on his ankle. If United were willing to take a risk on Thauvin, they may be able to sign him for as little as £15m (Chronicle Live), with just one year remaining on his Marseille contract.
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