Manchester United abandoned a pursuit of Paulo Dybala in the summer. But with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side struggling to break down compact defences in the opening month of the season, is there a case to reconsider a move in January?
Having come close to leaving Juventus in the summer, Dybala faces a big season and an uncertain future.
Since the emphatic 4-0 win against Chelsea, United’s attacking performances have been subdued, lacking a creative spark and heavy reliant on wonder strikes from Daniel James.
Here are three reasons why United should look at reigniting interest in Dybala come January.
Juventus boss Maurizio Sarri has only given the playmaker 14 minutes of first team action this season; he is not considered a key part of the former Chelsea manager’s plans.
The former Palermo man may have to get use to playing second fiddle to Gonzalo Higuain, Douglas Costa and Cristiano Ronaldo, unless any of Sarri’s favoured attacking trio pick up an injury.
Dybala may have to accept a bit part role coming off the bench unless Sarri changes his stance. He was an unused substitute against Fiorentina on Sunday.
If the situation doesn’t improve by January, could Dybala finally consider ending his chapter in Turin?
Playing time would not be an issue for Dybala at United, he has the ability to play as a lone striker, in the number 10 role and wide right. If the left-footed Argentine were to arrive in January, Solskjaer could unleash a forward four of Dybala, James, Rashford and Martial.
Problems in United’s attack
With concerns growing regarding Jesse Lingard’s ability to produce match winning moments, Solskjaer may be forced to act in January if United’s ability to carve out goalscoring opportunities doesn’t drastically improve.
The departures of Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku have given the clubs’ youngsters the opportunity to impress, but they lack experience and Dybala can provide the spark which is missing.
Solskjaer’s ruthless summer in the transfer window has left United’s squad looking worryingly thin and with Anthony Martial already missing matches through injuries, Dybala’s versatility could be indispensable.
Having Dybala in the number 10 role would give United both a goal scoring threat and a creative maestro capable of unlocking defences in tight knit areas.
If Dybala was deployed behind the striker he would be picking up the ball in danger areas and opposition defences would face the dilemma of how to stop him. They could either sit back and give him the opportunity to showcase his long-range shooting ability or commit and allow Solskjaer’s young speedsters space to run into, and give Dybala the chance to find a defence splitting pass.
The signing of Dybala would also reunite the Argentine with close friend Paul Pogba, and the weight on the Frenchman’s shoulders to carry United’s creative torch would be significantly reduced with the addition of his former Juventus team mate.
Statement of intent
He didn’t have his greatest season last year, paying the price for the arrival of Ronaldo, but Dybala still managed 10 goals in all competitions.
Before Ronaldo arrived, Dybala was the main man and in the 2017/18 season he scored 26 goals in all competitions from 46 games, with a further seven assists. There is no denying, when Dybala is the focal point of the team, he delivers.
Solskjaer has made it clear that he only wants young, hungry players that take great pride in representing United, but if Dybala can be convinced of the Norwegian’s long-term project, he is a world class talent that would give United’s inexperienced attack a much needed lift and a new dimension.
United might need to bring in a superstar to take the team forward, and a change of heart over Dybala is possible. Bringing the Argentine in during the January transfer window would be a statement of intent and give United a lift at a key time.
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