|Source: Football Italiana|
With the commencement of the summer transfer window in England, all clubs will be looking to bolster their squad ahead of the 2018/19 season and hope that all business is done before the World Cup in Russia which is starting in less than a month. It generally becomes pretty difficult complete transfers during the World Cup season, as it is one of the biggest sporting events in the world and players have to be at the highest levels of concentration with their respective national sides and there is no room for mistakes. Player can’t be kept distracted with the ongoing negotiations or be thinking of a move away.
With the window now open, United will have start getting their desired targets and start strengthening where they used to lag behind. This season, United have been weak mainly in central midfield, with less chances being created. Mourinho needs a player who can dictate the tempo of the game and ignite attacks from the centre. United also have been weak in the left back slot. Ashley Young has by far been the standout performer for that position despite him being a winger, made to play as a left back. He may be great going forward and supplying crosses but, defensively lagging behind. Luke Shaw has had a decent run of games the past few matches, but we can’t compare his current performances to his inconsistent and injury ridden time at the club, where the manager cannot put complete faith in the man he once wanted at Chelsea. It is wise to say that his United career is hanging by a thread and future uncertain. Ashley Young (32), has started to slow down and we cannot rely on him to fill the left back spot for a long time. We require a specialist in that region who can defend as well as create chances whenever required.
Reports in England and Italy suggest that Juventus left back, Alex Sandro is on the verge of completing a 50 million switch to United in a ‘few days’. The club has agreed personal terms with the player, who is keen on the move, with just a transfer fee to be agreed. Sandro missed out on a place in the Brazilian national team for the World Cup this season in spite of having a good season In Turin. He lost his place to Filipe Luis and newcomer, Fagner in Tito’s 23-man squad. It may not be a good sign for the player but, for United it would be a great opportunity to sign him up early with now pressure of the World Cup. This would also mean that he would be available fresh in the pre-season tour in the United States right after the World Cup, starting off in July. If signed early, Sandro would get time to fit in an improve his link-up play with his potential new teammates and be ready for the new season. Eric Bailly, Alexis Sanchez and Chris Smalling till now haven’t been called up for international duty with Ivory Coast and Chile not qualified and Smalling missing out for England. To top that, a number of youngsters will be included in the tour.
|Source: Sky Sports|
Mourinho expressed his desire to have a Brazilian player in a squad and also stated that every team is ‘incomplete’ without a Brazilian. Jose could have given us a big hint suggesting that a certain Brazilian is on his way to Old Trafford in the summer. With Sandro so close, it looks the he is the one. Sandro is the perfect example of a classical Brazilian footballer, who possesses great skill, stamina, dribbling and technical ability. Sandro can be called as a modern attacking left back with an eye to create chances and attack with creativity and flair, followed by a good defensive ability. He is well built and gifted with pace. Young has started to slow down and eventually gets caught out by the opposition defenders when on the run. That would be a massive upgrade.
At 27, Sandro is at the peak of his abilities and is arguably one of the best left backs in Europe right now and certainly the best in the Serie A. Sandro has made a total of 25 appearances in the league with Juventus this season. Scoring 4 goals and assisting 6 in all competitions. Sandro has an eye to create chances and you will find him mainly on the wings during an attack. An excellent dribbler, Sandro loves to make attacking runs and dribble past opponents through the wings to create chances and cross the ball. Sandro has completed 49 dribbles this season, more than Marcelo (31), Alaba (12) and Young (29). He averages more than 87.42 touches per game, equally with Alaba. Only Marcelo has more touches than him at 92.62 per game.
As his distribution goes, Sandro averages over 27.05 forward passes every game, behind Marcelo at 36.24. He has an 86% pass completion rate with only Alaba having more with 89%. Young averages 79% rate. Sandro generates a healthy 60.09 passes per match. As mentioned that Alex loves to make forward runs, Sandro’s style of play is to run past the wing in an attacking position and eventually crossing the ball in the penalty area. His crossing his one of his best traits and is amongst the best in Italy. Sandro has made a total of 87 crosses this season with a high accuracy rate. Sandro favours to cross the ball early meaning he launches his cross before reaching the 18-yard line. His crosses are highly dependent on the position of his teammates but, he generally finds his man with his cross. Whenever he is inside the penalty area or wide in the attacking half, he tends to supply his teammates with a well-crafted grounded cross instead of launching it high in the air. Whenever he makes a forward run, attackers tend to pass the deliberately pass the ball to him from the centre and in return, receive a grounded cross from him, resulting in unpredictability.
|Source: Getty Images|
As his attacking capability goes, Sandro isn’t the best at scoring goals, but has still managed to score 4 goals this year. When he makes an attacking run, he also stays to support his teammates by roaming in the penalty box to receive crosses or even at the edge of the box occasionally. Being a full-back also means that he has to be good at defending. He is a fit player with a great physique, meaning that he is a strong well-built player and is able to take-on strong target forwards, all this resulting in a 71.43% take-on rate, better than Marcelo’s 53.06%, Alaba’s 35.29% and Young’s 61%. He is also good in the air and has won a decent 60% aerial duals this year. He likes to intercept the ball but, isn’t successful at it. Juventus’s wall-like centre half pairing of Chiellini, Benatia, results in him being more concentrative towards joining the attack but, has still managed to get 27 successful tackles, not good for a defender but, is good at it and certainly will get more depending on United’s style of play. His only weakness which hasn’t been much of an issue in Italy is his clumsiness. He tends to take risks and gives away many fouls, which has resulted in 8 yellow cards and 49 fouls committed, averaging up to 2 fouls a game. Coming in the Premier League, where the referees are much stricter, he will have to improve upon his tackle timing. He also has made 40 clearances this season, mainly in his own half.
As they say, “The stats don’t lie”, it is certain that based on the stats, Sandro will prove to be a great signing. Coming in from a slow-paced Serie A to a fast and energetic league like the Premier League will take time but, Sandro’s style of play and technical ability is made for England and something that is clearly missing at United. Jose stated that he hopes Ashley Young can make 50 appearances next season but, Sandro’s arrival would mean less game time or Young constantly shifting from the left to the right of the defensive wings. Sandro’s crossing ability will highly help the likes of Lukaku, Matic and Pogba and will also help in creativity, flair and pace which is lacking. United will also improve defensively and will ease the burden off the club’s veteran players.
What is Brazil’s loss, is certainly United’s gain during the transfer window. Mourinho should act fast and sign Sandro as soon as possible and getting a quality left back valued at 50 million, who is a 3-time Scudetto winner in this inflated market is an absolute bargain. It is also rumoured that Matteo Darmian will go the other way to Juventus for 10 million. It is stated that it will be two separate deals and won’t be a swap. Either way it is a win-win situation for both clubs.