Losing Angel Gomes was undoubtedly a big disappointment to Manchester United. This was a player tipped for the very top since a young age and handed his debut at just 16.
United offered him a new deal, only to see him walk away as his contract expired on June 30.
So the question for United to answer as we look ahead, is ‘what now’?
Gomes was not a big part of the first team, but he did have the potential to become a top class player in the attacking midfield position.
United have several promising young players, like Tahith Chong, James Garner, and Hannibal Mejbri and Anthony Elanga.
But none are a ‘like for like’ replacement for Gomes, if United want a young player to challenge and provide an alternative to Bruno Fernandes.
Time to invest
With Jesse Lingard and Andreas Pereira failing in their attempts to hold down the position, and Juan Mata now 31, it is time for some freshness in the role.
Gomes had the potential, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer viewed him as not ready to make the step up. If he had stayed, he would have gone out on loan.
So this presents an opportunity for United to sign a young player who can contribute right away, and become an upgrade on Gomes.
Who might it be?
Young stars may fall into the Gomes trap, and be worried about a lack of game time. But if United drew up 10 targets, the chances are the club could convince one of their top choices.
There are various ways for United to approach it. The club could look to South America and sign Thiago Almada, the young Argentine linked with a move [TMW], who plays under Gabriel Heinze at Velez Sarsfield.
Another option closer to home is to take a chance on QPR’s Eberechi Eze, just 22, with 12 goals and eight assists for a mid-table Championship side. He has bags of talent, and more experience than Gomes.
United were this week linked to Ghanaian wonderkid Mohammed Kudus, who has 11 goals in the Danish top flight [EkstraBladet]. He would come cheap, and may be worth gambling on.
PSV Eindhoven’s Mohammed Ihattaren (pictured top) would be a little more costly. At just 18 though, he has 15 goal contributions this past season for the first team and looks to be a very special talent.
These are just suggestions, and United’s scouts will have their own ideas, potentially better suggestions. There’s a wide variety of ways the club could go, so long as they pick one.
It is right that United would want a Jack Grealish or Donny van de Beek who can replace Jesse Lingard.
There should also be a push for a young player in the 19 to 22 age range who can step in for Gomes and start pushing harder than the recently released youngster was able to.
It would be important too for United to show the club can attract young talent and not just lose it, having also lost Largie Ramazani and missed out on Jude Bellingham.
Bringing in a young talent who has the ability to go all the way to the top would be a great way to get over these disappointments.
With clubs across the world desperate to sell players to raise money, there is no better time for United to go shopping for talent.
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