A seventh-place Premier League finish would see David Moyes’ men secure another shot at European glory next year, albeit in the Conference League, and this could be crucial in their pursuit of players who want to showcase their skills on the continent.
Howeve, the Scot already has some excellent youngsters at the club and could save a fortune by developing and unleashing them next season to see if they are up to the demands of Premier League football.
One such player is left-back Emmanuel Longelo who has been performing well for the under-23s in Premier League 2 this season, contributing one goal and four assists in 17 appearances.
Roshane Thomas declared the 21-year-old as a player to ‘watch out for‘ in 2019, and his stellar performances this year have led many to believe that a stable first-team berth might not be far away.
In fact, he even made his full first-team debut against Dinamo Zagreb in the Europa League group stage, with his performance being lauded as “very impressive” by Jack Rosser, and this led to interest from Nottingham Forest during the January transfer window.
Nothing materialised on that front, though, and this could well please Moyes, who will surely be on the lookout for a long-term replacement for Aaron Cresswell, who will turn 33 before the year is out.
The manager won’t have far to look in Longelo, who appears to have the necessary skills and attributes which are required for success at the top level. With a European appearance in his back pocket already, a full pre-season amongst the first team would be a massive boost to his confidence, and he could be a capable and financially sensible solution to the post-Cresswell dilemma.