Anthony Elanga’s future between now and the end of the season could go either way and a decision is due to be made this month.
A report over the weekend from The Sun claims Elanga could be loaned out to the Championship, with United considering he would get regular first team football. Several clubs are likely to be interested, although none are specifically named in the report.
Before weighing up offers and signing off on a deal, there are reasons for United to consider keeping Elanga exactly where he is.
Anthony Martial likely to leave
The second of two obstacles in Anthony Elanga’s path appears set to leave United during the transfer window already.
With Dan James sold to Leeds earlier in the season, Anthony Martial is now looking to leave and will if a club come up with a suitable offer, loan or permanent.
Martial’s departure will move Elanga closer to the first team picture and leave him as the most natural left-sided back-up to Marcus Rashford if United revert to a 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3. Of course Jadon Sancho can also play there, but Elanga will be right in the mix.
He’s good enough to contribute
Elanga will likely be a big success in the Championship, but he does not really need to prove himself. He is already good enough to make an impact for United’s first team.
The youngster scored for United at the end of last season in the Premier League, and has had a terrific 2021, scoring seven goals in seven Sweden under-21 games.
Elanga’s pace, versatility and energy will help give United extra attacking threat in the second half of the season. And right now United need all the fresh ideas they can get.
The youngster has a fearless nature about him and may play with more freedom than a currently inhibited Marcus Rashford is managing.
Rangnick will give him opportunities
When Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was manager, a January loan for Elanga seemed essential, with the Swede unable to get onto the bench.
Ralf Rangnick has taken an immediate liking to Elanga, bringing him on as a substitute in his first game in charge and then starting him in the Champions League.
Elanga has remained part of the matchday squad since and has as many appearances under Rangnick (3) as he did under Solskjaer.
There is a chance Elanga is even seen tonight in the FA Cup, and if United can get past Aston Villa, a softer fourth round draw against Middlesbrough awaits later in January, where Elanga may stand a good chance of starting.
With United’s season not working out as planned, it makes sense for Rangnick to continue to mix up his team selection. Elanga should get a fair share of chances if he stays, and the quality of minutes over the quantity of football he could get on loan, may win the day.
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