Manchester United are keen on signing Juventus right-back Joao Cancelo, according to tuttosport.com.
Juventus’ marauding right-back has been linked with a move to Manchester United for upwards of £50m after impressing in another title-winning campaign for the Old Lady.
It’s been reported from the same source in Italy that a whole host of players (Miralem Pjanic, Douglas Costa and Paulo Dybala) are potentially leaving Turin, and are certainly in demand, but it will depend on who is appointed the next manager of the Serie A champions.
The right-back position has been a problem for Man Utd ever since they sold Rafael to Lyon. Matteo Darmian, Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young have all had stints the position but none have managed to make the position their own.
United are in for a summer of overhaul, and Cancelo looks like an option who could realistically arrive at the club.
Jesse Lingard comes under regular criticism from fans, if not for his footballing abilities than for his character and demeanour off the pitch.
It’s all over-exaggerated. While he may not be the most gifted player in the United squad, he offers work ethic, tactical understanding and execution, and an eye for goal that other supposedly more clinical players lack themselves. He’s proven to be a favourite in the dressing room and loves playing for his club and country.
Of everyone in the squad, Lingard will be the one who benefits the most from any right-back of real quality arriving in the summer. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer have proven he’s a big fan of the Englishman, who typically plays on the right of a front three, but the academy graduate has always looked more comfortable when he’s driving inside, or at least receiving the ball in central areas, with licence to run in behind.
Gareth Southgate used Lingard successfuly in this way at the World Cup last summer, and Jose Mourinho often got the best out of him in a more central role as well.
However, for Lingard to have licence to move more centrally and make these runs, he has to be playing in front of a right-back who’s capable of covering the space vacated by the forward. Cancelo boasts great pace, energy and skill to be the attacking outlet on the right that United have lacked for years.
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The right-hand side of the pitch has been an issue for a long-time, including the position of the right-wing. It’s perhaps fair to say though that no player can make those inside runs and truly shine on the right wing if they don’t have a right-back capable of providing width and overlaps to maintain the width.
Young is not the attacking threat he once was, Darmian has never had the attributes to be an outlet for the side and Dalot is still a young player, therefore Cancelo’s arrival could be the best way to get the best out of Lingard. A true modern day full-back in the side will ensure the Englishman is allowed the freedom to make his runs away from the touchline and play closer to the striker as he’s looked more comfortable doing in recent years, rather than having to hold the width for his side.