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Man United could seal their next Valencia with Gusto swoop

Manchester United have been replenishing the ranks since the managerial appointment of Erik ten Hag from AFC Ajax earlier this year. 

United’s Dutch boss spent around £211m last summer, as per Transfermarkt, with the forthcoming transfer expenditure showing little sign of slowing down, with a host of winter targets outlined.

And now, according to French outlet Media Foot, the Red Devils have been handed a major boost in their pursuit of a new right-back, with Olympique Lyonnais marauder Malo Gusto reportedly the centre of a looming transfer bid. 

Diogo Dalot is unquestionably United’s first-choice option down the defensive right-flank, but with Aaron Wan-Bissaka both the only alternative option and far from trusted to play a regular role in Ten Hag’s plans – his start in the Carabao Cup against Burnley last week was only his second showing of the season – a fresh face could soon be deployed into the fold. 

Valencia 2.0

With the report stating that Man United could clinch a deal for the prodigious 19-year-old for €30m (£26m), the deal could well blossom into fruition in the coming weeks.

Due to his youth, Gusto could slowly integrate into the senior set-up, learning from Dalot – who followed a similar path after playing a largely peripheral role since his £19m move from FC Porto in 2018 – and serving as an understudy, hoping to impress when gifted inclusion.

The signs for his career trajectory are certainly promising; as per FBref, the talent ranks within the top 5% for passes attempted, the top 17% for rate of assists and the top 19% for interceptions, when compared to positional peers across Europe’s top five leagues over the past year. 

Would you take Malo Gusto at Man United?

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And having made 14 appearances for Lyon in Ligue 1 this term, starting on each occasion, Gusto is already slotting the blocks into place, gaining valuable experience and nurturing his multi-faceted approach to his play.

Should Ten Hag get a deal over the line, he could gift the Theatre of Dreams with Antonio Valencia reborn, a new presence down the right with all the attributes necessary to flourish among eminent figures at one of football’s very greatest outfits. 

Valencia signed for United for £16m from Wigan Athletic in 2009, a versatile and pacy player that captivated fans with his dogged mentality and persistence as both a winger and a right-back over his lengthy stay at Old Trafford.

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Manchester-United-star-Marcus-Rashford

Who was Man United's top scorer across the entire 21/22 campaign?

Making 339 appearances for the Manchester side, the Ecuadorian scored 25 goals and made 62 more, winning a host of major honours such as two Premier League trophies, the FA Cup and the Europa League, and Gusto, who might just be something “special” – as praised by one statistical site – could emulate the feats of a past star at Man United.

Indeed, he is equally as creative and like the former Red Devil, possesses the tools to play as a right winger and further back in defence. It might not be the most eye-catching of deals but Valencia more than proved to be a reliable pair of hands. Gusto may well be the same.