Jason Sancho transfer could solve Manchester United’s biggest Europa League problem

  Jadon Sancho is one of the United's top transfer targets this summer Marcus Rashford has been struggling for Man Utd recently but Ole ...


Jadon Sancho is one of the United's top transfer targets this summer
Marcus Rashford has been struggling for Man Utd recently but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been too reliant on him in the previous two seasons.

It seems a strange thing to say in the wake of a defeat, but perhaps one of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's mistakes in Gdansk was picking Manchester United's strongest front three.

The absence of Fred from the starting XI meant shuffling Paul Pogba and while that allowed Solskjaer to get Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood in the same team, it also meant an absence of game-changing ability amongst the substitutes.

That partly explains why the 11 who started in Gdansk grimly held on to the 100th minute before Solskjaer finally made a change, bringing a not fully fit Fred on for Greenwood and restoring Pogba to the front three.

Solskjaer has had similar issues in attack all season. The injuries suffered by Anthony Martial, Greenwood's slow start to the campaign and the wait for Cavani to be fully fit have all left him short of numbers at times. That means the best players have been pressed into action all too often.

That is certainly the case for Rashford, who has been Solskjaer's Mr Dependable for two seasons but he was abject in the Europa League final and is clearly in need of a rest and a chance to refresh. Unfortunately, with England in action in the European Championship this summer, that will have to wait a little longer.

There's no doubt Rashford had a nightmare he won't want to relive in the final against Villarreal. It was a night when nothing he tried came off, except for the penalty he put away in the shoot-out, but it's also painstakingly obvious that he is a footballer at the very edge of mental exhaustion. He's jaded physically and mentally and given the workload he's been had to carry for the previous 12 months that's little surprise.

That's the case even dating back to when he made his blistering debut as an 18-year-old against Midtjylland. Since then Rashford has played 18,050 minutes of football for United. In five seasons as a regular first-team squad member, he's averaged 3,328 minutes and just over 50 games a season. That's before you add in England caps. For someone who is still yet to turn 24 that's a remarkable workload.

Three of Rashford's last four seasons at United have involved him playing more than 50 games. That's the same number of 50+ game campaigns Ryan Giggs had in 24 seasons. Rashford has been in 73 of United's 75 matchday squads in the last 12 months.

The truth is he is being badly handled at United and part of that is due to a lack of faith in alternatives from Solskjaer. That's why signing Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund might be so important this summer.

Solskjaer needs another winger he can rely on to take the pressure off Rashford, to give him a break. The best thing for his career might be missing the first few weeks of next season, but without reinforcements that simply isn't going to be allowed to happen.

While Rashford's form has fallen off a cliff this season, it is the second successive campaign he's passed 20 goals and 10 assists for United. He's clearly an exceptional player when at his best.

To keep him at his best for longer United have to provide him with more support. Sancho might nominally be a right-winger but he can play on the left as well, filling in for Rashford at times. That's something Martial will also be able to do when fit next season now that Cavani is staying for another year to lead the line.

Solskjaer said after defeat in Gdansk that he wanted "two or three" first-team signings this summer. Achieving the higher scale of that might be ambitious in a window that is again going to be affected by the pandemic, but placing Sancho second in the queue behind a central defender might be a sensible move, not only for what the 20-year-old himself will bring but for what he can do for others in the United squad.



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FotNetwork.com: Jason Sancho transfer could solve Manchester United’s biggest Europa League problem
Jason Sancho transfer could solve Manchester United’s biggest Europa League problem
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