|Source: Sky Sports Italia|
Manchester United’s Premier League season has come to an end and the Red Devils have secured 2nd place, behind champions Manchester City. United have attained Champions League qualification for a 2ndyear running and have completed the season with the highest points tally after Sir Alex retired, with 81 points. As 2018 is a World Cup year, starting in June, the transfer window will officially open on 17th May in England, allowing clubs to complete transfers for the upcoming season.
Mourinho is ready to spend big once again and is also expected to do a mass clear-out to free space for new recruits and remove deadwood. Players like Darmian, Shaw, Martial, Blind, Fellaini and Smalling are all reportedly on the clear-out list. United need to strengthen their squad in many areas that lack quality and Jose is clearly wishing to do that. Jose expressed his desire to sign at least two central midfielders this season with Fellaini likely to leave and Carrick set to retire. United also require to improve their full-backs.
Young and Valencia have been the stand out players this season, showing consistent displays at an age of 32. Valencia, has been rather irreplaceable this season with great attacking runs and strength and intelligent defending at the back. Young too has been great whilst making attacking runs, but, hasn’t impressed that well during defending. Luke Shaw, who has suffered from immense criticism from the media, fans and the manager as well, has made a total of 19 appearances this season and has mainly played second fiddle to Young, despite being younger, faster but, only lagged behind due to inconsistent form and an unlucky injury record. It is clear that the left back position is more of a problem child for United. Both the full-backs are over 30 and former wingers converted into makeshift full-backs. In spite of having specialists in Darmian, Blind and Shaw, United still lack that quality required in a full-back. The specialists, may or may not be at Old Trafford next season, but, it is clear that Young and Valencia will remain beyond that. Hence, it will be a wise decision to sign one or two quality full-backs as given their age, we never know when both of them will start slowing down, in terms or pace and ability.
|Source: The Telegraph|
Reports suggest that United are willing to sign 24-year-old Napoli right back Elseid Hysaj who has a 44 million release clause in his contract. United should ideally secure the services of a left back, who is required more than a right back. Valencia is still in good form and Fosu-Mensah has returned from a successful loan spell at Crystal Palace. United certainly have options for right back and Young can also play in that position. But, a move for the Albanian international could be a good and cost-efficient option if Mourinho wants an experienced specialist. But, who is Elseid Hysaj?
Hysaj started his career with the Empoli in 2011, coming through the club’s youth set-up. He made his first team debut against Varese in the Serie B (second tier of Italian football). In his next season, he became an instant regular under manager Maurizio Sarri, who guided him and played a crucial part in his development. Hysaj helped Empoli gain promotion to Serie A in 2014. In the next season, Sarri left the club to manage Napoli and made Hysaj his first signings for 5 million. He became an instant first-teamer under Sarri. Hysaj made his international debut for Albania in 2013 at the age of 18 and was selected in the 27-man squad for Euro 2016.
Hysaj is a great technically gifted full-back with high attacking capability. Gifted with good pace Hysaj is know for his attacking runs and dribbling ability. Unlike classic full-backs who make wide attacking runs and eventually cross the ball, Hysaj isn’t like them, he’s unique. Hysaj tends to create majority of his team’s counter attacks and increases the dynamism of the game from his own half. He likes to dribble past the opposition centrally instead of through the wings and supply the attackers with a fine through ball.
He has a certain style of dribbling, which is also one of his main drawbacks and a useful strength. He has nutmegged many midfielders and likes to bridge between his opposition which is his main style of dribbling, and also his only. This is also a disadvantage as his movement is highly predictable. Any experienced defender or intelligent midfielder can catch him out if they understand his pattern. He also isn’t the best crosser around. His crossing accuracy isn’t great as many of his crosses have either been intercepted or in opposition defender’s feet. He has provided 52 crosses with a mere 15% cross accuracy. defensive he isn’t the greatest either. He isn’t the strongest of players and his tackling is average, but, he tends to gets the ball back through strong interceptions. He loves to intercept passing lanes and block forward passes. He has made 41 interceptions this season. Hysaj has made a total of 34 appearances in the Serie A this year.
Hysaj would be a good option for United, but, not the best. He might be excellent in attack, but defensively there is certainly room for improvement. Valencia still has couple of years left in him and looks to dominate the right-back spot for one or two seasons. Hysaj (24), still has time left in him and can develop him. If signed he should play second fiddle to Valencia and merely a back-up until he develops or Valencia calls it a day. Valencia might not have time left in him, but, an injection in pace and a player with good attacking capability. Fosu-Mensah could also get a chance but is versatile enough to change positions like he did at Palace. He would be a good signing, but, for the future. United should concentrate on signing a left back before going for a right back. Hysaj is a good option at a reasonable price, but, if United really want a first choice right back or a Valencia successor, there are better options than Hysaj in the current market, but, he is a good choice.