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Manchester United: Erik ten Hag can solve problem position with Saint-Maximin move

Erik ten Hag hasn’t had the start to life at Manchester United that he had hoped for when he took the reins at Old Trafford earlier this year.

If defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion in the club’s opening Premier League game wasn’t bad enough, the 4-0  thrashing at Brentford six days later saw United reach their lowest echelon in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson period, going bottom of the league table.

A 2-1 victory over Liverpool last Monday will hopefully be the catalyst for the Dutchman to turn things around at the club, and it will take time for his philosophies and playing style to pass on to the players.

While the signing of Casemiro from Real Madrid has bolstered a stale midfield, the focus will now surely turn to improving a stagnating attack.

One player with whom Ten Hag has been linked is Newcastle forward Allan Saint-Maximin, according to French outlet Media Foot. Magpies manager Eddie Howe reportedly looking to listen to offers for the Frenchman, with a fee of £50m being touted.

United need some rejuvenation in an attacking sense. Cristiano Ronaldo’s future looks increasingly likely to lie away from Old Trafford, and unless the likes of Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford can put in the performances to banish the criticism of recent months, goals could be hard to come by for the Red Devils.

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Saint-Maximin scored five goals and registered five assists in the league last season, posting more goal contributions than every United attacker apart from Ronaldo, and he could give Ten Hag’s side a different dimension across the frontline.

According to FBRef‘s similar player model, the Newcastle forward is comparable to AC Milan star Rafael Leao, and the two share parallel statistics in key areas from last season.

Should United sign Saint-Maximin?

No!

No!

Yes please!

Yes please!

The Portuguese ace registered just over double the number of goal contributions as Saint-Maximin (21 to ten) in 2021/22, with the two generating a similar average of shot-creating actions per 90 minutes over the course of the season (3.63 to 3.66).

Both are at their best from a wide position, delivering 69 crosses each, while from a defensive point of view, both won slightly under half of their aerial duels (45% to 38.8%).

Former Lazio player Marco Parolo once claimed that Leao could become “one of the strongest offensive wingers in the world”, while Saint-Maximin appears to have all the necessary attributes to make a difference to Ten Hag’s side.

Howe described the 25-year-old’s performance against Manchester City last Sunday as “electric”, and if the Red Devils wish to reach the top four of the Premier League, then a move for Saint-Maximin should be prioritised.

Article title: Manchester United: Erik ten Hag can solve problem position with Saint-Maximin move

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