Manchester United wanting Jadon Sancho is one of the worst kept secrets around, but despite this, it doesn’t look like they’re going to get their man anytime soon. With that in mind, we take a look at 3 alternatives United should be looking at instead.
We start off the latest young star to make his name at Ajax, Antony. The young Brazilian isn’t quite a household name yet but at just 20 years of age, could be set to make some serious headlines soon. Ajax signed him in February of this year from Sao Paulo in a deal worth around €16m that could rise to €21m. They were able to fight off competition from the likes of Borussia Dortmund and Chelsea to secure his signature and this just shows you how highly sought after he is even at such a young age.
Antony is a left footed winger and likes to operate on the right hand side. Although a rather lazy comparison to make, Antony’s playing style could easily be likened to Neymar’s at a young age as his close control and dribbling set him apart from many others of the same age. The Brazilian has extremely quick feet and is exceptionally good at coming out of tight areas with the ball still at his feet. He often seems to catch opposition keepers off guard with his tendency to shoot a fraction of a second earlier, a trait that really evidences his keen eye for goal as well as his creative ability. Antony possesses an abundance of pace too and is also capable of finding the right pass in the final third more often than not.
Of the three players featured here, Antony is probably the least likely to make an instant impact should Manchester United get his signature, however, he would be a very smart piece of business and bode well for United’s future.
Next up we have the wildcard of the three – Villareal’s Samuel Chukwueze. Another left footed, right winger, the Nigerian has been plying his trade over in Spain for a number of years now, earning many plaudits in the process. Villareal have had a number of young prospects earn big money moves recently and Chukwueze looks like he could be the next one to follow in the footsteps of Rodri and Eric Bailly.
Chukwueze is an extremely direct player and this really stands out as his first thought after his first touch is always to try and move forward with the ball. He loves to take players on and this directness and aggressive dribbling has caught the eye in his time at Villarreal so far. The numbers back this up too, with Chukwueze averaging 2.8 take ons per game. For reference, this compares to Rashford with 1.7 and just shy of Sancho’s 3.1, so it’s clear to see that Chukwueze can almost keep up with Sancho in this respect and he even boasts a higher take on success percentage than Sancho too. Owing to his direct style, Chukwueze is also very good at winning fouls and relieving pressure on his team with an average of 2.3 fouls won a game, an useful skill to have in your armoury when your team is under pressure.
Chukwueze might not be up to Sancho’s level just yet but he would be a hell of a lot more affordable and could definitely benefit from playing in a more attacking team at Old Trafford. United mustn’t wait too long though as other clubs are interested too, with Santi Cazorla even claiming that his former Arsenal teammates often ask about the young Nigerian winger.
Finally, we have perhaps the most unrealistic of the trio – Dejan Kulusevski. The young Swede has just spent the season on loan at Parma, however, his parent club is Juventus, therefore it may be very difficult to convince them to part ways with him as he is yet to make a first team appearance for the Old Lady.
Kulusevski is an incredibly exciting prospect who tends to find himself on the wing but is just as comfortable operating in a more central attacking midfield role. Kulusevski has bags of ability but also possesses the work rate to back it up and is considered one of the more hard working players in any team he plays in. His close control is excellent and he has a knack for showing defenders enough of the ball to tempt them in, whilst managing to maintain possession of it himself. His awareness in the final third is really impressive for someone of his age and this has led to him recording an excellent season of 10 goals and 9 assists, with him being awarded the best young player in Serie A award for the season just gone. His creative ability is demonstrated by the fact that he created 78 chances this campaign, that’s more than Jadon Sancho’s 69 and he also had a higher take on success percentage, whilst completing just one fewer than Sancho.
Kulusevski’s performances this season will mean he will surely be knocking on the door for a first team spot when he returns to Juventus next season but if they could somehow convince the Italian champions to part ways with the youngster, they would have a fantastic player on their hands, ready to deliver and make an instant impact.
The Jadon Sancho saga looks to be continuing into next season but here we have presented a few alternatives – one for the future in Ajax’s Antony, a wildcard suggestion in Villareal’s Samuel Chukwueze and a rather ambitious suggestion in Juve’s Dejan Kulusevski.
United fans who would you rather have at your club – let us know in the comments and don’t forget to follow us on twitter!