Manchester United have ended their interest in Juventus’ Brazilian left back Alex Sandro, according to a report in the Manchester Evening News. It states that whilst the club haven’t completely given up on the idea of signing a right back in this transfer window should the right man become available later on in the summer, they will no longer pursue Sandro as a viable option. This is thought to be as a result of the news that the player is close to signing a new deal with the Bianconeri, and also due to the form of Ashley Young in the role.
This is something of a dangerous game for United manager Jose Mourinho to play, however. Young has certainly had his uses in the role in the last twelve months, and has turned his career at the club around from a useful squad option to the Portuguese’s de facto left back, but the England international, who flew out with Gareth Southgate’s first side for his first ever World Cup tournament this week, turns 33 in July. Having played 38 games in the last campaign, Mourinho must surely spread the workload around better than he has done in recent times to make sure that the former Aston Villa winger doesn’t burn himself out.
The options to replace Young are of little comfort, too; Matteo Darmian has frequently struggled in the role when called upon, whilst Marcos Rojo’s last taste of left back was a disastrous run during the end of Louis van Gaal’s second season in charge. Luke Shaw is arguably the club’s most capable option in the role, but issues of application, fitness and effort have dogged his career at Old Trafford to the point where it would be a genuine surprise to see the former Southampton defender become a mainstay at United.
As such, this shift in priorities from Mourinho could prove particularly damaging if United do not strengthen on the left of defence, so let’s hope the ‘right option’ makes themselves know in the next month or so.