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Man United could find Elanga upgrade in Jesper Karlsson

Manchester United appear to have developed a knack for producing promising young wingers in the recent past, with Argentine sensation Alejandro Garnacho the latest starlet to be earning the plaudits after breaking into the first team.

It was only a year ago, however, that Anthony Elanga was emerging as the new poster boy for interim boss Ralf Rangnick, with the dynamic Swede having been thrust into the action following the former Schalke man’s appointment.

In a period of doom and gloom for the Red Devils, the pacy wide man was a rare ray of sunshine for the club, having been a “breath of fresh air” with his electric presence down the flanks and willing work ethic, as per club legend Dennis Irwin.

The high point of the 20-year-old’s campaign undoubtedly came away to Atletico Madrid in the Champions League back in February, with the versatile winger – who has featured through the middle this season – slotting home past the imperious presence of Jan Oblak to spark jubilant scenes among the visiting support.

Fast forward 11 months, however, and it is a much different scenario for the nine-cap speedster, with rumours abound that he could be set to move out on loan after slipping down the pecking under Erik ten Hag.

While the Malmo native has featured 18 times in all competitions this season, only seven of those outings have come from the start, with the 5 foot 10 ace now appearing to be “suffering” as a result of his over-exposure in the senior ranks, according to journalist Muhammad Butt.

The forward’s woes are laid bare by the fact that he hasn’t scored since that standout night at the Wanda Metropolitano, with it hard to see just what the £5k-per-week dud is offering to the Old Trafford outfit at present.

With Ten Hag seemingly in need of an upgrade to add further firepower to an already depleted forward line, the 52-year-old could well find a solution in the form of Elanga’s international colleague, Jesper Karlsson.

According to The Sun, the 24-year-old is one of a number of Dutch-based talents that the former Ajax boss is keeping tabs on, having already raided the Eredivisie over the summer to secure the services of Tyrell Malacia, Lisandro Martinez and Antony.

The “unpredictable” and “inventive” playmaker – as described by transfer insider Dean Jones – has caught the eye as a result of his standout form for current side AZ Alkmaar, having already provided seven goal involvements in just 15 games across all fronts this term.

That follows what was a particularly productive 2021/22 campaign in which the former IF Elsborg dynamo netted a staggering haul of 21 goals and 16 assists in 51 games in all competitions.

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Clearly more of a threat in the final third than Elanga – who has just four goals and three assists to his name in 47 senior appearances for United – Karlsson is also something of a creative hub for his side as he has averaged 4.12 progressive passes per game over the past year, with that far beyond the average of the struggling Red Devils man (1.06).

With the Alkmaar sensation also unlikely to prove too costly for Ten Hag and co – having been valued at around 20m (£18m) – it should prove something of a no-brainer to make a move in the near future.