September 17, 2020
Manchester United are reportedly eyeing a move for Atalanta winger Amad Traore as their pursuit for Jadon Sancho seems to have stalled at the point whereby the club were told the price for the player, which is something the club would not be paying, seemingly using the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse for the deal not happening, this summer at least. The 18-year-old Ivorian is seen as a big prospect in Italy and was part of Atalanta’s UEFA Champions League quarter-final squad when they player Paris Saint-Germain at the end of last season.
On Wednesday, the Manchester Evening News reported that United had contacted the Italian club regarding Traore, as other clubs around Europa had become interested in the player this summer. The report suggested that the 18-year-old was not considered as the main alternative for Sancho this summer, but will been the list. He played 24 minutes in the Serie A last season and had a debut to be proud of, age 17 years and 109 days, scoring in the 7-1 victory over Udinese.
After making his debut, Traore played two more times for his club at senior level. In total, during the 2019/20 season, the 18-year-old made a total of 27 appearances, scoring eight goals and 11 assists, but only played three times for the first team, scoring one goal. It is suggested that Manchester City, Arsenal and Juventus hold interest in the player and for that reason, it might benefit United if they were to get in early and try to formulate a deal for the teenager. However, doing something early seems so alien to United right now. They will probably leave it United there is a battle for the player.
United really need proven quality in their squad this summer, which was why Sancho was such a good player to earmark for the club, however, it seems so like United to baulk at the asking price, which would have been known to them months ahead of the summer transfer window opening, even before the coronavirus pandemic hit. United have no excuses to continue plodding through the summer, trying to get their own way, when paying the £108 million requested for Sancho is the only way.
In the summer of 2003, United signed Cristiano Ronaldo from Sporting Clube de Portugal and at the time, the 18-year-old had raw talent. For years now, United have targeted world class players who have ben developed at other club who would sell for massive fees. United should be seeking to develop a world class player themselves, like they did with Ronaldo. Traore might not become a world star like Ronaldo, but he United signed him, gave him first team minutes and allowed him to develop, it might actually work for them. Too many people seem to want instant success.
United have always taken the past of allowing youth to develop, make the first team and prove themselves. I am not just talking about the Class of 1992 here as it goes back to the days of Sir Matt Busby. Granted, between Busby retiring and Sir Alex Ferguson managing the club, there was a period when the youth mantra was not so obvious but Ferguson brought that back to the club and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants to do the same. Traore could be a player that will not cost the world, but could be worth his weight in gold in a few years time, if allowed to develop around players who have hunger, desire and determination.
Written by John Walker