This article is part of Football FanCast’s Transfer Focus series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent transfer news…
According to Spanish publication ABC de Sevilla, Manchester United are interested in bringing Wissam Ben Yedder to Old Trafford this summer.
The report claims Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have been impressed with the striker’s performances in recent seasons and he is being lined up as a potential replacement for Romelu Lukaku, were the Belgian to leave for Inter.
With Lukaku netting a measly 15 goals in 45 appearances across all competitions last season, it has been little surprise to see the club look to ship him out.
A move for Ben Yedder – a proven goal-scorer over a number of seasons – could be exactly what United need this summer.
When Sevilla met Manchester United in the Champions League last 16 in March 2018, it was supposedly a foregone conclusion that the Red Devils would march on. Instead, the Spaniards had other ideas and in particular, Ben Yedder.
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The Frenchman netted twice at Old Trafford to send United crashing out in humiliating fashion and the big talking point of the game was this: having scored three times against Liverpool in the group stages, Ben Yedder took his tally against England’s top-six sides to five. Lukaku on the other hand had one, despite playing in the Premier League.
It was the 5ft 7in Ben Yedder who stood tall on that night, leaving the burly Lukaku feeling like the smaller man. The 28-year-old has carried that big-game mentality since and this season scored in impressive 3-0 and 2-0 wins over Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively.
Indeed, after another prolific campaign this year, France manager Didier Deschamps said when opting to select Ben Yedder over Arsenal forward Alexandre Lacazette: “He has scored 30 goals in all competitions this season. He scored in big games, he knows how to play in alone in attack.”
The big stick with which to beat Lukaku over virtually his entire career at Old Trafford has been that he fails to turn up for the big occasions. He looks isolated playing up front on his own, his touch often deserts him and his finishing is woeful at times. After a defeat to Arsenal in March, the Belgian had a frankly horrific record of just one goal in 17 games against the ‘big six’.
Ben Yedder might be tiny in a physical comparison to his striker counterpart, but time and time again, when the pressure’s on, he’s a giant amongst men.