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Football News: Hidden Gem Players Manchester United Could Sign

Hidden Gem Players Manchester United Could Sign

Everyone knows we need to rebuild this Manchester United squad, yet we still have a few issues with the profit and sustainability rules (PSR) and we can't afford to spend £60-100 million on 5 or 6 players this summer. That means we will have buy smart signings rather than just the obvious names. We need to be the team that takes a chance on that highly talented player, playing in a less established league, rather than letting them sign for a decent side, have a breakout season and then have to pay 10x the amount to sign them a year or two later.

With that in mind I'm going to suggest a few 'hidden' gems, or at least players I think we could get for a lower price than the most linked and expensive option.

We have been linked strongly with Jean-Clair Todibo and depending on which reports he'll cost anything between £40-50 million, which to be fair given his talent and the current market is actually a fairly decent fee. Yet there are a couple of younger alternatives I think we could get for between £20-30 million maybe less who could in a year or twos time be at a similar level to Todibo.

The first is Eduardo Quaresma from Sporting. He's having a breakout season and would normally be more expensive, but he has one year left on his contract which means he's potentially a bit of a bargain. The other option is Zeno Debast, who is a 20 year old CB / RB playing for Anderlecht in the Belgium Pro league. He's a talented ball playing CB, great on the ball, good defensive instincts, a little weak in the air perhaps, but he's young enough to improve that. Coming from Anderlecht he might be available for between £15-25 million. He's the kind of player who'll move to a club in Ligue 1 or the Bundesliga, have a great season then become a £50-70 million player.

With Lisandro Martinez's on going injury issues we have been linked heavily with Jarrad Branthwaite as a LCB, even with Everton's financial issues it's clear Branthwaite will cost somewhere between £50-70 million. Which is a huge fee to pay for someone who isn't guaranteed to be first choice if Martinez is fit.

Murillo from Nottingham Forest is a player I'd have maybe suggested as an alternative had Forest gone down this summer (barring a 13 goal swing on the last day between them and Luton they will stay up). With Forest being an English Premier League (EPL) club next season, I doubt they would sell him for much less than £40-50 million which doesn't really make him a cheaper alternative.

Left-footed CB's are at a bit of a premium due to their rarity but I think I've found a potential bargain in Arthur Theate, who currently plays for Rennes in France and is a ball playing, aggressive, front foot defender very similar to Martinez in style, but is 6'1 and better in the air. He'd be a very good understudy / rotation option and could be available for £25-30 million, maybe less. Rennes like many French clubs have been hit pretty hard by the financial knock-on from the pandemic, and will need to sell to balance the books.

At LB we have been linked with Ait-Nouri from Wolverhampton Wanderers (Wolves) who has had a breakout season, yet buying from other EPL teams tends to be pricy, with a £40-50 million price target attached to the Wolves man. The tricky thing with this position is when fit, Shaw is good enough to be first choice, yet he's only fit 50% of the time. Spending a large fee on a player who'll expect to be first choice probably isn't the best use of funds this summer.

A honourable mention goes to Milos Kerkez from Bournemouth who's had a great season and looks like one for the future. The problem is that like with Ait-Nouri from Wolves, he's another EPL signing and that will come with an inflated price tag. So I'll suggest Melvin Bard from Nice, a player who we could probably get for £15-20 million, but who has the potential to become a top LB.

At CDM, we have been linked with Amadou Onana for between £50-70 million according to the press. I have two alternatives; the first is an EPL player, Joao Gomes from Wolves, who could be available for between £30-40 million. Still a little pricy, but being EPL proven does mean that even at £40 million he's still a bit of a bargain in the current market. In terms of his ability to win the ball he does so more than any other midfielder in the league.

The other player we could look at is Mats Wieffer from Feyenoord, great physicality and ball recovery numbers, really good on the ball and a playmaker, making him a far more rounded option. Reportedly available for between £30-40 million, a more rounded player than Gomes for sure, but not EPL proven. Likely to leave Feyenoord this summer with Arne Slot leaving.

We have also been heavily linked with £120 million man, Joao Neves from Benfica. I cannot see us spending anything close to that amount on any player this summer. We could look to get alternatives for a much lower fee. Andre from Fluminense FC is a great ball progressor, who works hard out of possession and wouldn't cost much more than £25-30 million. While we could look at Youssouf Fofana from Monaco for around £30-35 million (He'd be my choice as there's a good reason why he is first choice for the French national side), or someone like Quinten Timber from Feyenoord could be available for £25-30 million.

Michael Olise is the RW player we have been most heavily linked with, he has a reasonable buyout / release fee in his contract apparently for around £50 million, which would make him a bargain, or at least would if he didn't come with injury concerns. His lower fee actually makes it difficult to find cheaper alternatives. Johan Bakayoko at PSV has been phenomenal, but would likely cost £40-50 million, which means he's not really cheap enough to take the gamble on over EPL proven, Michael Olise.

Another player is Matias Soule who's had a real breakout season in Italy for Frosinone Calcio on loan from Juventus. The problem is Juventus are probably going to demand at least £35-45 million for him, which means again he isn't much cheaper than Olise. So the player I'll suggest is Roony Bardghji from Copenhagen. He's the youngest of the lot and still very raw, but has sky high potential and would be available for less than £25 million, maybe even closer to £15 million, which definitely makes him a bargain worth considering this summer.

Finally the toughest position is at centre forward as goal scorers always come at a premium, and we don't really need a first choice but a rotation option for Rasmus Hojlund. We've been linked with Ivan Toney for £40-50 million and that wouldn't be a bad deal or a bad signing. Yet, if we want to be able to focus the spending elsewhere then we should look at alternative, cheaper options at CF.

Serhou Guirassy is an obvious name with a £17 million release clause and on the back of a break out season. My concerns however, are that he's 28, this is the first time he's scored over 20 goals in a season and that he's managed that in a team that has been a surprise package in a league renown for inflating scoring numbers due to the tactical nature of the league. I think he's a player that will struggle to get 10 goals in the EPL, and at his age he doesn't have any room for development / improvement.

So the player I'll suggest is Kevin Denkey, a 23 year old Togolese striker, who has 27 goals in 36 appearances for his side Cercle Brugge across all competitions. He's a rough diamond with a really good profile, just under 6ft, quick and strong, he can be a target man, while still having enough pace to be a danger in the channels. At 23 he has time on his side and he could grow into a very good maybe even a top class striker. Yet because of the club and the league he is in, he will be much cheaper than a similar level player in one of Europe's top leagues. He is fairly similar to Santiago Gimenez at Feyenoord, a player who will likely cost £50-60 million. While Denkey will cost less than £20 million, maybe even as low as £12 million.

While I don't think we should only sign these rough diamonds or lesser established players, I think we should be considering signing 2 or 3 of them, especially for positions like LB or CF where we have an established first choice, but we need quality competition for them. That way we can focus spending the bulk of our money on those key positions where a clear first choice player is needed. While the use of the free transfer market should also be considered.

Personally I'd sign Todibo as I think he's good value and I'd also sign Olise, because while I have injury concerns over him, he is miles ahead of the other options who will cost a similar amount. Plus we have some great young players like Lacey who isn't much younger than Bardghji, so I'd rather give them a chance if we are to play someone so inexperienced.

I think Joao Neves will be one of the best midfielders in the world, but I can't see a scenario where we play two 19 year olds in the heart of midfield. I think in a few years time when Mainoo and Neves have developed and are ready to be a player to carry the midfield, they could play together. I just don't see how you give the game time to both now in the same team. Plus his fee is ridiculous, so I'd 100% sign Fofana instead.

I'd also look at someone like Bard and Denkey to provide competition at LB and ST. I really like Branthwaite and feel like he might be the exception due to him being English, yet Theate makes much more sense. Which leaves the CDM position with Onana, Gomes and Wieffer. I think this really depends on what the manager wants, personally I don't think Onana is worth the extra £20-30 million he'd cost over Joao Gomes, while Wieffer would be a more rounded option and a playmaker in the middle, but is perhaps a little less dynamic. He's a hard worker and he covers the ground, but he has less pace and is slightly less mobile than the other two. If you are going to play possession football you go for Wieffer, if you are looking to be more transitional you go for one of Onana or Gomes.

You could then maybe look at Tosin Adarabioyo on a free to add depth at CB, Danny Welbeck for experience at CF for a year as Hojlund is still young and Denkey is raw. If we signed one of Onana or Gomes then maybe a look at Rabiot as more technical midfield option for a few seasons maybe a 2 year deal with a 1 year option.

Written by Shappy May 12 2024 13:51:27


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