Ralf Rangnick’s opening Manchester United match as manager was notable for the way he brought Anthony Elanga of the bench for his first Premier League match of the season.
Elanga has clearly made a good impression, because Rangnick’s first proper deal as manager looks set to be a contract extension for the young talent.
The Telegraph report Elanga ‘is close to signing a new long-term contract’ after making a strong early impression on Rangnick.
Locking down Elanga’s future
When Elanga began the 2020/21 season, there was a little nervousness over his contract which was due to expire at the end of the campaign. United were able to sign him to an extension in early March.
The club described the extension as ‘long term’, but there was never any mention of how long it would be for. It may just have been a deal until 2024, while the new deal on the table could lock his future down until 2026, in line with the likes of Scott McTominay, Amad, and Bruno Fernandes. Only Jadon Sancho has a contract for longer, with United having him under a deal until 2027.
Elanga has made strides since his previous contract, making his first team debut, scoring for the first team, and even scoring seven under-21 goals for Sweden. The new proposed deal likely includes a higher wage to reflect this progress on the pitch.
The new contract would be a sensible move and prevent Elanga being swayed by offers from other teams which could be more lucrative than what was offered to him in March.
It will also underline how highly Rangnick regards him, offering him some reassurance that he is still very much in favour despite not managing to score in his big chance at home to Young Boys.
The prototypical Rangnick star
It is not surprising at all that Rangnick is a fan of Elanga and wants him to be a big success at United. The young Swede is the type of talent he has build teams around in Salzburg and Leipzig.
Elanga has made great progress this calendar year, scoring 18 goals in the academy, for the first team, and for Sweden’s under-21s, plus a couple in pre-season for United too. And he missed three months at the start of the year with a collarbone injury.
Elanga can play in a variety of different roles across the attack, and crucially he is blessed with the one trait defenders absolutely hate, blistering pace.
There is still plenty of work to do, and a loan move cannot be ruled out just yet. But with Anthony Martial likely to leave, and the Covid situation a valuable reminder of the need for squad depth, Elanga could have an important part to play in 2022.
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