When Jesse Lingard continues to start games for Manchester United despite being in a horrific run of form lasting well over a year, you know things are bad.
The England international went from January to November last year without scoring for the club, and this season just has one to his name – and that came against FC Astana in the Europa League.
It’s therefore no surprise that the Red Devils have been linked with a number of attacking midfielders, particularly since the opening of the January transfer window. One man whose name sticks out in particular, is Kai Havertz.
According to The Athletic, the Bayer Leverkusen starlet has been discussed by the United hierarchy this month, but that they would rather wait until the summer due to his sizeable €100m (£85.1m) valuation and dip in form this campaign.
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The Germany international has just three goals in 21 games, but has proven his quality in recent seasons for the Bundesliga side. The 20-year-old struck 20 times in 42 matches across all competitions, and also provided a further seven assists too. United making a move for the young talent appears to be a no-brainer, but it would spell very bad news indeed for one of the Red Devils’ own starlets.
Angel Gomes has yet to receive a significant opportunity in the first-team this season, making just five senior appearances. The 19-year-old appears to be highly regarded by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer however, with the Norwegian even claiming back in the summer that he has “high hopes for him“.
If that really is the case, then United need to show their faith in their academy product by avoiding a big-money swoop for another talented youngster.
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It’s all well and good perhaps going for a more proven entity like Maddison, but Havertz’s age and his lack of experience in English football would make him a bizarre signing when you’ve already got Gomes on your books. The United prodigy has 28 academy goals in 64 total games – a fine record for someone who predominantly operates behind the striker.
Splashing the cash on Havertz would spell incredibly bad news for the long-term future of Gomes, and would make a mockery of what Solskjaer has had to say about the latter.