If there was one thing that you could deduce from Manchester United’s season, it is the fact that they lacked width in attack.
Against teams like Newcastle United, West Bromwich Albion, and Brighton & Hove Albion, it was quite visible that there was no attacking outlet through the right-hand side of the pitch and hence United’s style of play became too predictable.
As the transfer market has officially begun now, Jose Mourinho will be desperate to land up two new fullbacks.
The Portuguese manager has done a commendable job by moulding his makeshift fullbacks to become reliable defenders down the flanks. However, the time is high now that United look for someone more specialized in that position so that there could be some crosses coming into Romelu Lukaku inside the box.
Hence, it seems that United have generated their interest in Portuguese fullback Joao Cancelo. The defender is originally a player of Spanish club Valencia but spent a major portion of this season on loan at Inter Milan.
Joao Cancelo: A Traditional Option
Cancelo is a technically equipped player who can be a reliable option for the position. He reads the game well and positions himself almost accurately for any quick counter-attacks through his flank. Joao is quick, and that enables him to speed up and down the flank in order to maintain a good balance between defensive and attacking contributions.
He is strong on the tackle, intercepts well and transitions defence into attack seamlessly. Cancelo can be quite effective going to the other flank too, as he has a knack for delivering some key passes and crosses into the box. In 26 Serie A appearances, he has scored once and assisted thrice.
Cancelo has recorded a passing accuracy of 84% this season, and that is pretty good for a player who regularly gets into the attacking areas on the pitch. He has also won 44% of his defensive duels, something that makes up for a good strike between the offensive and defensive actions from the player’s perspective.
Should Manchester United make a move?
It is a tricky question, to be honest. Joao is a good player, but it remains to be seen if he has that extra bit of talent and ability to succeed in a club like United. He can fill in as a decent player, who contributes decently in all aspects of the game.
However, it seems to be the same case as it was when United signed up Matteo Darmian under the tutelage of Louis Van Gaal. Darmian fumbled horribly, and could never reach his potential at the club.
Joao would make up to be a good move if United sign a thoroughly attacking left-back (read Alex Sandro), as in that scenario, it would be wise to maintain a proper balance by boarding in a more reserved right-back. Joao does not look like someone who could rip apart the opposition’s backline with pinpoint crosses, and that is maybe what United need currently.