Man Utd’s next six Premier League fixtures
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With Manchester United failing to sign Cody Gakpo, and looking unlikely to sign a new forward at the current moment in time, Jadon Sancho could be given a lifeline at the club. The England international has recently returned to action after Erik ten Hag deemed him not physically or mentally capable of playing for the club. But, when he graces the field again, a starring role may beckon…
Manchester United expected big things from Sancho when they signed him back in the summer transfer window of 2021 after a four-year pursuit.
Jose Mourinho had eyed the forward when he was strutting his stuff for Manchester City, only to miss out in 2017 with the youngster choosing to move to Borussia Dortmund instead.
And after failed pursuits in 2019 and 2020, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer finally landed his man last year.
Since then, however, Sancho has struggled to live up to expectations at Old Trafford with the forward a shadow of his usual self.
Just about everybody in a red shirt was dire last term as the club endured a nightmare season under Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick.
But, goals against Liverpool and Leicester aside, Sancho has declined this term – much to the dismay of Ten Hag.
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Manchester United star Jadon Sancho isn’t currently involved at Old Trafford (Image: GETTY)
The England international was absent until recently as United look to overcome the Premier League fixture schedule amid their desire to return to the Champions League.
Yet when Sancho returns to the pitch, he could be set to be given a lifeline. Especially when you consider the current situation at Old Trafford.
United want a forward. Speaking after their 3-0 win over Nottingham Forest on Tuesday night, Ten Hag said: “We are looking for offensive players, we are looking for a striker.
“It would be good because of all the games coming, we are playing every third day and it is tough.
“I think we are always in the market, but it has to match the sporting criteria but also the financial criteria.
“We do what we can to bring in any player we can. For the progress of the team, we need to be more clinical.”
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Manchester United spent big on Jadon Sancho back in 2021 (Image: GETTY)
After Gakpo joined Liverpool, however, it’s emerged that United are now scouring the market and examining their options.
With the Glazers reluctant to part with their cash at a time where the club are on the market, however, it doesn’t bode well.
Atletico Madrid would demand fees to let either Joao Felix or Alvaro Morata go, while AC Milan and Benfica have no plans to jettison Rafael Leao or Goncalo Ramos this winter as well.
Therefore, it’s certainly feasible the transfer window will close with United having the same faces in the same spaces.
For Sancho, however, that could be a blessing in disguise.
When the United star returns, he’ll need to hit the ground running. And the arrival of another attacker would likely prevent him from getting the minutes he needs.
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Manchester United star Jadon Sancho looks set for a starring role when he returns (Image: GETTY)
There’s an opening, too. With Antony performing badly in recent times, Sancho may fancy his chances of taking the Brazilian’s spot on the right wing.
It must be stressed that United do not presently have any plans to offload Sancho, despite his issues and inconsistency over the last 18 months.
And when he’s eventually deemed ready enough to return to the fold, he’ll no doubt be out to show why United pursued him so aggressively in the first place.
Ten Hag, meanwhile, was coy when asked about Sancho earlier in the month.
“I have had several talks with Jadon,” said the 52-year-old, whose side will lock horns with Wolves on Saturday.
Manchester United’s failure to sign Cody Gakpo could work out for Jadon Sancho (Image: GETTY)
“He’s on a physical programme and our aim is to get him back as quickly as possible, but I can’t give a prognosis of when that will be.”
He also added: “When the league started he played some good games, but after we got a drop of levels.
“Sometimes you don’t know why or what is causing it. Most of the time it comes slowly. First you observe but the stats back it up.
“In the start of the season he had goals and assists but his key moments and key actions became less and less. It’s a combination of physical but also mental.
“We’re trying to research and get him back.”