Manchester United have been linked with a move for Villarreal winger Samuel Chukwueze ahead of the upcoming transfer window.
What’s the story?
According to CaughtOffside, the Red Devils are among a number of Premier League clubs interested in acquiring the 22-year-old’s signature over the summer.
The report also reveals that Chukwueze has a release clause of £69 million and that Liverpool and Chelsea are among his potential suitors.
Woodward must avoid
Chukwueze has impressed since joining the Yellow Submarines back in 2017, making 119 appearances for the La Liga outfit during his time with the club.
The Nigeria international’s dazzling displays earned praise from fellow African footballing star Samuel Eto’o last year, who lauded the 22-year-old’s talent and potential before adding that an improvement to his end product is required.
“He is an incredible player who is growing in leaps and bounds,” claimed Eto’o.
“He is a quality player and he needs to score more goals, but he has the quality and ability to be more than just a goal-scoring forward. Once he gets all of that he will be top.”
However, in the 12 months since the former Barcelona and Inter striker outlined where Chukwueze needs to improve his game, there has been little evidence of progress.
In 2019/20, the £18 million rated attacker (as per Transfermarkt) bagged four goals and provided six assists in all competitions. In the recently concluded campaign, he boosted those numbers only marginally to five goals and eight assists.
While Chukwueze is certainly a talented player with plenty of room to grow, it’s questionable whether he’s at the level that United currently need in order to close the gap to newly-crowned Premier League champions Manchester City, his goal and assist tallies suggest that he isn’t.
The Old Trafford outfit finished 12 points behind Pep Guardiola’s men in 2020/21 and were dumped out of the Champions League in the group stages, indicating significant progress is still required until they’ll be able to challenge for football’s greatest honours.
With Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho reportedly available for £75m this summer – just £6m more than the Chukwueze’s release clause – Ed Woodward would be making a huge mistake in prioritising the Villarreal man’s signature ahead of Sancho’s.
It’s highly unlikely that United can afford both right-wingers, or that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can find room for both men in his first-team squad, and therefore, Sancho must be the focus rather than Chukwueze.
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