Jadon Sancho’s move to Manchester United has been agreed, the club finally announced this past week.
One of the best aspects about Sancho’s arrival is his versatility.
The Borussia Dortmund winger has excelled in the Bundesliga playing on both the left wing and the right wing.
For England on Saturday he was on the right, the opposite flank to Luke Shaw. It won’t always be that way, they will get chances to link up.
This provides United with some flexibility, and it will come in especially useful with Marcus Rashford being overplayed in 2020/21 and having ongoing fitness concerns. There is a possibility the United man may require an operation.
Sancho’s availability on the left helps. Mason Greenwood can play on the right, and United still have a strong front three, with Edinson Cavani up front.
The problem with moving Sancho out to the left is that United’s attack is already too lop-sided.
Sancho signing is supposed to redress this, and make United a better balanced team, by him filling the right wing spot.
For instance, Luke Shaw created 71 chances last season compared to Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s 30. Yes, some of these came via set pieces, but the evidence shows United are more incisive from the left with efficient build-up play coming through Rashford and Shaw. Sancho can make this side even more dynamic.
Wan-Bissaka has made strides forward with his attacking play, and he needs a Sancho on his flank in order to improve further.
With Sancho and Shaw on one side, teams will have to load up on trying to stop them. Sancho made 98 key passes last season in the Bundesliga. Add that to Shaw’s quality on the left at United and opposition right-backs are going to have a nightmare.
So on those occasions where Rashford is rested, injured, or simply dropped, Sancho could end up becoming the outstanding option on the left. Together with Shaw they could be unstoppable – even though teams will try their best – and open up space for right sided attackers too in the process.
So what happens on the right?
With Sancho on the left, Mason Greenwood will be the de facto option on the right. This won’t be possible every game though.
Greenwood, 19, will need his share of rest, and will also be required up front when Edinson Cavani is not available or Anthony Martial.
United are blessed with options, and Amad could end up as the big winner in these circumstances, if Rashford is out and Greenwood plays up front or is rested.
Amad’s preferred position is right wing and his unpredictability will open up new options for United.
With teams committing resources to trying to stop Shaw and Sancho down United’s left, Amad could become a revelation on United’s right.
Dual threat on the right
For much of the time, Sancho will be starting on United’s right wing, and Amad will have to bide his time.
But consider what that looks like for a moment. Sancho causing problems for teams fo 75 minutes and then Amad coming off the bench to cause more chaos for the final 15. That is not a prospect teams will enjoy.
Another long season lies ahead, and the players will be tested to the limit. United’s options in attack are numerous, and lethal. Amad has only scratched the surface of his potential and Sancho’s versatility to play both sides means the Ivorian will not be hindered by the new arrival.
If anything, Sancho will help Amad, and the prospect of them swapping and interchanging wings mid-game has potential to terrify opponents. Next season will be a learning year for both, especially Amad, and there will be flashes. From 2022 onwards expect even bigger things.
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