August 5, 2020
Manchester United and Chelsea are reported embroiled in a transfer race to sign FC Porto left-back Alex Telles this summer. This has been reported by The Sun and The Mirror. On closer investigation, the reports seem to come from Portugal with SportWitness giving the impression that the reports in Portugal were not that strong. It would seem that the English media have heavily inflated the rumour probably living off the hits to their sites, which is not really the kind of journalism expected.
However, it has become the norm for tabloid newspapers who hand few actual journalists and a team of sports writers who surf the internet looking for stories to put their own slant on them. You can normally tell the expertise of these writers based on the number if mistakes in articles, perhaps not this particular story but others have been dreadfully written with little knowledge or fact being checked. It should really be better than this. If newspapers checked facts or looked at the whole story, they might be able to inform rather than misinform.
Portuguese news source Correio da Manhã have reported something similar to the English media, possibly using those reports to suggest interest in the player. Whilst it would be good to see Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sign a left-back this summer, there could be so many better players out there. However, with Luke Shaw and Brandon Williams at the club, despite the latter coming through from the academy this season, he seems to be a good player to rotate Shaw with. Experience would be good to have in rotation though.
Telles will turn 28 on the 15 December 2020 and could be considered as being in the peak of his career however, it would be a relatively short-term option and not something that Solskjaer would be a fan off, seeing as he wants to promote youth at the club, whether they are from the clubs academy or coming from other clubs around Europe. Last week, United were linked with Sporting Club de Portugal left-back Nuno Mendes along with defender Eduardo Quaresma, which could be a much better deal, minus the experience, obviously.
With Shaw out of action for the remainder of the season, which is United’s participation in the UEFA Europa League, Solskjaer will have Williams and Tim Fosu-Mensah, who played as a left-back towards the end of the season possibly in rotation for the position. This summer though, the manager could opt to bring in a new face. Telles played a total of 49 times for Porto during the 2019/20 season, scoring 13 goals and 12 assists. He played as a left-back 48 times, playing as a left midfielder once.
Given that Solskjaer is currently relying on the fullbacks to provide width in the team and the fact that Shaw is not a great goalscorer, Telles would be a quality signing if United and Solskjaer were interested in him and that a deal could be done. I don’t think I have seen a left-back score many goals for United since Denis Irwin, who did not score as many as Telles did this season. There could be something in this but at this moment in time, a few reports from England and some from Portugal do not really suggest much. Perhaps the rumour will grow and more information can be obtained. Until then, I don’t see much here, personally.
Written by John Walker