Manchester United Close In On Championship Rising Star
Manchester United have a big summer ahead, and things are already kicking into gear. After reports yesterday that a deal for Benfica’s 19-year-old forward Joao Felix are progressing well, it looks as though Swansea winger Dan James will complete his switch to Old Trafford for £15million after agreeing terms with the club.
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After failing to make the Champions League last season, United have a huge rebuilding project ahead and they are backing managed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in his first full season in charge. The former striker wants to take the club back to his playing days, when under Sir Alex Ferguson, United would look to sign young, British players and develop them.
After a great season in the Championship with the Swans, having nearly joined Leeds in January, James certainly fits the bill in that regard. The 21-year-old Welsh winger has scored four and assisted seven goals in the last year, despite his side missing out on the playoffs.
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The days of signing expensive, big name players, such as Alexis Sanchez, Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku, look set to be over. West Ham midfielder Declan Rice, who made his England debut this season, Jadon Sancho of Borussia Dortmund, who has been dubbed the best young player in Europe for his performances last season, and even Newcastle midfielder Sean Longstaff have been linked, and it remains to be seen whether any of these players will be playing for the Red Devils next season.
An awful end to the season last term, with one point from the final two games against Huddersfield and Cardiff, the pressure is on to hit the ground running.
But this new approach will require time and patience; Solskjaer has a good relationship with fans who will back him, but there could be more tough years ahead, especially if the likes of Pogba, linked with a summer switch to Real Madrid, and David De Gea, who sees his contract run out in a year, leave the club.
Juan Mata looks set to stay with a new contract tabled, but the future doesn’t look so bright for Sanchez. Inter and Juventus are keen on taking him, and United will not stand in his way after a disappointing 18 month stint, having moved from Arsenal.