OPINION: Manchester United Must Regret Selling Gem For £0 Who’s “Similar To Iniesta”
Erik ten Hag could do with the star this season…. CONTINUE READING
Manchester United’s transfer strategy over the past decade has been rather concerning.
Overpaying for players while also letting players leave on the cheap has had an impact on the side’s performances.
Nonetheless, let’s take a look at one of United’s biggest transfer mistakes over the last few years.
As the godson of United icon Nani, Angel Gomes already had plenty of pressure on his shoulders before he even played a minute for the Red Devils’ first team.
The versatile midfielder made his debut for the club in 2017, when he replaced Wayne Rooney against Crystal Palace. The England star was just 16 years old at the time, which makes him the third-youngest player to play for the club.
The now-23-year-old played just ten times for United’s first team, despite scoring 29 goals for the youth teams.
Even though his boyhood club offered him a new contract to stay at the club, Gomes declined it and moved to Lille for £0 on a free transfer, later saying: “it made most sense for me to go there because I knew I was going to get more of an opportunity.”
The maestro is now worth £26m, according to CIES’ Football Observatory.
Gomes was the one that got away
Since moving to the French club, the midfielder has played 98 matches, showing his versatility to play as a defensive midfielder, a box-to-box ace, or even as a number ten, which is the exact profile Erik ten Hag could use in his squad right now.
Gomes also starred in the U21 European Championships in the summer for England, where he helped his nation claim the trophy over Spain. Throughout, he looked a class above and was “so good at keeping things ticking over”, as per BBC report Alex Howell.
The confidence gained from that triumph has carried over into the new Ligue 1 season.
The table below showing his 2023/24 Ligue 1 stats illustratess exactly what United have missed out on since his departure.
Stats (per 90)
Pass completion %
Stats via FBref
As you can see, Gomes is an extremely technical player who is a creative magician while also having the intelligence to slow the game down and retain the ball, which is why he’s “similar to Iniesta,” as per former United youth coach Paul McGuiness.
This style of player would have fit Ten Hag’s system like a glove, as he relies on players to be brave on the ball and progress the play while also having the decision-making ability to not be wasteful.
Gomes’ ability to create goal-scoring opportunities while ranking in the top 7% of the league for pass completion % is what makes his profile so unique.
There’s nobody like him in the United midfield at the moment bar Kobbie Mainoo, with Scott McTominay ranking in the bottom 88% in the league for passes completed, and Casemiro ranking in the bottom 77% for pass completion over the last year in Europe.
n truth, it’s clear that United should have never let go of their Carrington jewel…CONTINUE READING
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