LA LIGA

Erik ten Hag wants a Sancho-Raphinha swap—Should Barcelona move ahead?

Manchester United are reportedly considering taking on Barcelona winger Raphinha in exchange for outcast Jadon Sancho during the January transfer window.

Jadon Sancho has been looking for a way out of Old Trafford for some time now. After falling out with manager Erik ten Hag and subsequently exiled earlier this season, the England international is thought to be surplus to requirements at the Mancunian club. And Ten Hag has now asked his employers to offload the 23-year-old winger in the upcoming transfer window.

According to Spanish news outlet SPORT, Manchester United have proposed to Barcelona a swap deal that will see both Jadon Sancho and Raphinha move in opposite directions. However, it will be important to know Deco’s opinion in this transfer operation due to his status as the club’s sporting director and Raphinha’s former agent, the report adds.

Raphinha has endured a mixed time at Barcelona since joining from Leeds United in the summer of 2022. He had a decent first season at Nou Camp, registering seven goals and seven assists in 36 appearances as Barcelona won the La Liga title. However, with the emergence of highly-rated Lamine Yamal, the Brazilian has had to fight for his spot in the crowded attacking ranks in Xavi Hernandez’s setup this season.

Man United want Sancho-Raphinha swap—Should Barcelona greenlight the deal?

Jadon Sancho has been sidelined from the Man United first team since September after publicly falling out with manager Erik ten Hag, and he is now seeking a change of environment to revive his career. He has been ordered to train away from the first-team squad and his future at Old Trafford while Ten Hag remains in charge practically seems to be over.

The English winger has been linked with a sensational swap deal with Barcelona’s Raphinha, who has started the 2023/24 season well, bagging two goals and three assists in 12 La Liga appearances. Raphinha has not lived up to the lofty expectations of the Camp Nou faithful since arriving in 2022, with the Brazilian winger failing to produce the excitement consistently that we saw during his time with Leeds United in the Premier League.

Yet, he is considered one of the key players in Xavi’s squad and the club must keep hold of him. By doing that, Barcelona must reject an opportunity to sign Sancho, who has struggled badly during his time at Old Trafford. The English winger has not been in competitive action for Man United since September and will need time to get match fit whenever he returns. So, he may not be able to make an instant impact at Camp Nou even if Xavi feels the 23-year-old can fit well in his system.

However, while Ten Hag and United may well have felt Raphinha represents an upgrade on Sancho, Barcelona must persist with Raphinha. Even if the Spanish champions are having an indifferent domestic season, Xavi should not panic and throw a player like Raphinha into the firing line. It is important that he shows a degree of patience and helps Raphinha get back to the form he showed during his time at Elland Road.

Rohan Sengupta

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