The footballing elites seem to be obsessed with Jadon Sancho right now. The English winger’s bold move to reject a new Manchester City deal to instead don the number 7 jersey for Borussia Dortmund has paid off handsomely.
Not only has Sancho received more first-team minutes than he would have at Manchester City by the looks of it, the right-sided winger has become one of the most coveted attackers in Europe. Dortmund have reaped the rewards of their gamble on Sancho as well and there are reports circulating that they could now pocket nearly £100 million from Sancho’s sale, with all the big sharks circling the English international.
Manchester United have been branded as the favourites to land Sancho for a long time. But, Ed Woodward is holding any potential moves for the former Manchester City star off due to the potential financial hit of the temporary football suspension in the region.
We have, thus, presented three potential options from the Premier League itself that might be cost-effective for Manchester United while also serving the need of a right winger for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Emiliano Buendia – Norwich
The Canaries were the first team to be relegated this season but they did produce a good quality of football for the time they were in the Premier League. Along with enterprising football, Norwich also showed glimpse of a few players who could make their way into the Premier League this summer. Emiliano Buendia is one of them.
Emi Buendía in the 2019/2020 Premier League [competition rank]:
162 total tackles [5th]
135 shot-creating actions [6th]
102 successful take-ons [5th]
83 chances created [4th]
16 through balls [3rd]
All-rounder. 🇦🇷🇦🇷🇦🇷 pic.twitter.com/UsCgXWM4s4
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) July 28, 2020
The 23-year-old has been a standout performer, not just for Norwich but in the league as a whole. To have a debut season in the Premier League as good as Buendia had is a rarity. The Argentine was fourth in the league in terms of chances created (87), behind only to the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Kevin De Bruyne and Jack Grealish.
Buendia was also fourth among the midfielders to have the most tackles in the 2019-20 Premier League (162), with the trio above him – Wilfried Ndidi, Declan Rice and Joao Moutinho – being defensive midfielders. The 23-year-old completed more than 100 dribbles (102) in the Premier League and was also ranked fourth in that category.
Most successful dribbles in the Premier League 2019/20:
🇪🇸 Adama Traoré (184)
🇨🇮 Wilfried Zaha (163)
🇫🇷 Allan Saint-Maximin (121)
🇦🇷 Emi Buendía (102)
🏴 Nathan Redmond (79) pic.twitter.com/tVWtcZC922
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) July 27, 2020
These are insane numbers. But, to do this while playing for a club that finished bottom of the league with just 5 wins and 21 points in total is staggering. What is even more surprising is that there are hardly any rumours surrounding Buendia, all while Premier League clubs continue to be linked with wingers from other leagues.
The Argentine won’t be as expensive, given the fact that Norwich have been relegated and seems to be just hitting his stride in England. With the aforementioned stats, Buendia looks like a winger who can track back and attack proficiently, something that makes him hard working off the ball and dangerous on it.
Buendia is Ole material as much as Ole material can be defined. The only precursor could be his off-field attitude, which has sometimes been hinted as a detriment to him being capable of producing even greater performances.
Bought for just over a million pounds, Buendia is unlikely to cost more than £25 million, if at all. Considering the potential financial hit from the temporary suspension of football, this could be a signing that the Manchester United board look into if Dortmund don’t budge from their valuation for Sancho.
Gerard Deulofeu – Watford
Another player from a relegated team, people would expect Ismaila Sarr to be named when talking about a right-sided forward from Watford. But, we believe Gerard Deulofeu would be a better fit. Equipped with the flair of La Masia, Deulofeu has the ability to be flexible all across the attack, something that Solskjaer would like.
The 26-year-old would also be an asset as a potential substitute for Anthony Martial upfront, should the Frenchman suffer an injury or be in need of a rest. Comparing him to Sarr, Deulofeu has the same goals and assist contributions (9) as his club counterpart. But, whoscored places the Spaniard above in terms of rating (6.90 to 6.71) while also having more Man of the Match awards (3 to 2) to his name on the website.
Deulofeu is unlikely to be satiated with the prospect of playing Championship football and will definitely be one of the players destined to leave Watford. The Hornets are unlikely to ask for a steep price either which could price the former Barcelona star out of a potential move.
We could see Watford ask for something around £25 million for the 26-year-old, which would be a bargain if he can finally realize his potential that first saw him touted as the next big thing at Barcelona.
Allan Saint-Maximin – Newcastle United
An explosive winger with the ability to blaze past defenders while being equally impressive in dribbling, Allan Saint-Maximin might be an opportune target for Manchester United. Newcastle United are reportedly undergoing a takeover and could see a lot of signings, should it happen.
Saint-Maximin has proven his ability this season at Newcastle. Despite having a low count in terms of direct contributions (3 goals, 5 assists) in the Premier League, the Frenchman has caught everyone’s attention with his dribbling ability and tenacity out wide.
His contributions have also been significant, with one of his goals earning Newcastle all three points at Southampton. In total, his direct contributions have attributed to 9 points for Newcastle, without which Newcastle would be level on points with Aston Villa down near the relegation dog-fight.
No player has taken more shots after completing a take-on in the Premier League this season than Allan Saint-Maximin (22)
— Newcastle United Times (@Newcastle_Times) July 25, 2020
Granted, Saint-Maximin has been used mainly as a left midfielder by Steve Bruce this season. But, the Frenchman has earned the reputation of being a notorious customer out wide in any position and has proven before that he can do the job on the right as well.
Compared to the other two options featured above, Saint-Maximin will likely cost a lot of money. Still, the 23-year-old should come cheaper than Jadon Sancho, with Dortmund holding out for a near £100 million fee.
Considering the fact that Newcastle bought him for just over £15 million and Saint-Maximin has only seen his stock rise since, we could expect the Magpies to demand somewhere around £50 million for the Puma athlete.
Notable mention: We would ideally go for Adama Traore as an option. But, Wolves have reportedly slapped a £135 million price tag for the Spaniard, which is absurd but would make the prospect of a Manchester United bid unrealistic given the fact that they are hesitant to touch that mark for their primary target Jadon Sancho.
The Hard Tackle’s pick: Emiliano Buendia
It is a no-brainer. The Argentine has shown skills that warrant a move to the European bigwigs or in this case, at least to retain his top-flight football status. Buendia has a range of abilities but his work rate and big-game flair outweighs them all. A complete winger that can track back and dart forward when asked, Ole could do with a mercenary like the 23-year-old.