Solskjaer the lifeline for Timothy Fosu-Mensah?

Source: Sky Sports 

Manchester United have found their winning form after the appointed Ole Gunnar Solksjaer won 4 league games in a row, bringing attacking and attractive football back at the famous pitch of Old Trafford. With the January transfer window up and running, it will be interesting to see the clubs transfer activity with an interim coach appointed. But the club could benefit with one possible transfer activity.

Chelsea have kick started the winter window by securing the services of Dortmund’s Christian Pulisic for 57 million, who will subsequently join the Blue’s in June as he has been loaned back to the German side for the remainder of the season. Chelsea are also looking to trim their squad by offloading veteran English defender Gary Cahill who is a major target for Fulham who are looking to bolster their defence by adding some experience in a new looking Claudio Ranieri set up. Fulham on the other hand, are willing to part ways with full back Tim Fosu-Mensah to make space for Cahill. Fosu-Mensah had been loaned by Mourinho to give him valuable experience in the Premier League but the Netherlands youngster has been restricted to only 9 appearances this season followed by a string of loses for the newly promoted side. But if this deal goes through, it would be a blessing for Ole, the fans and the club should their academy graduate return.

United still have a fluctuating defence and more in the right back area. Valencia will still remain the club’s captain even though he is linked with a move to Inter Milan, who are willing to sign him on a free in the summer. Valencia, 33 is slowing down in pace and technicality and doesn’t provide the required output in the form of crosses inside the box and attacking runs. Dalot looks like a long-term successor and with the questions of his future and productivity in question, Fosu-Mensah would be a valuable asset to the squad.

Ole expressed his desire to give more minutes to youth and has already given first team debuts to two of the academy’s brightest talents, Tahith Chong and Angel Gomes, also including the likes of James Garner in the match day squad. He refused to loan out these talented players by giving them more first team exposure certainly is continuing the club’s age-old tradition of youth development.
Ole has adopted a fan favourite game play of high-octane attacking football in which the players fight for the ball, apply pressure on the opposition and creating many chances via wings. His game is highly dependant on the movement of Pogba and the attackers, allowing them to roam free through the middle and letting the full backs make forward runs and cut inside to supply crosses. The perfect game plan for the likes of Luke Shaw and Diogo Dalot who are strong, quick and brilliant crossers of the ball. We have also witnessed the likes of Lindelof and Jones turning into ball playing centre backs who push into the midfield and supply passes. Lindelof usually sets up passes in the middle of the park and initiates quick counters and scoring chances. But, the likes of Valencia and Young have seemed to have struggled in this kind of set-up, mainly pertaining to their age as both of them are over 33 and do not have the speed, stamina and crossing ability left in them and can’t compete against the better full backs in the modern game. It is no doubt that the likes of Dalot, Shaw and Fosu-Mensah are better solution.

Source: Fox Sports 

Fosu-Mensah is 21 and is still maturing. He showed immense potential when Louis Van Gaal handed him his senior debut 4 years back and since then has become out of favour for Mourinho and an unavailable option for Solksjaer due to his loan. Should his loan be terminated, he would welcome him with open arms. Tim is a versatile defender who has the body and technical ability to slot into midfield if needed. He is strong, fast and can make attacking runs by pushing his way through like a bulldozer. A strong and thunderous right back has been missing for a couple of seasons and Fosu-Mensah would flourish in Ole’s set-up as it is his natural game play. He also has a great defensive output and can make strong tackles but during his time at Fulham he conceded many fouls in crucial areas of the pitch which threatened his side defensively. Averaging over 67 touches per 90 and winning 46% of his tackles per game, Tim has a decent stat record for a player who hasn’t got enough chances to impress. His stand-out negative is his fouls. He averages 1.12 fouls per game and already has had 3 yellow cards in his 8 appearances for Fulham this year.

Given these stats, there is definitely room for improvement as he is still young and given, he is an academy graduate, problems at right back and Ole’s faith in the youth and academy, Fosu-Mensah has a great opportunity ahead of him should Gary Cahill switch to Fulham.

The perfect example for him are Trent Alexander-Arnold who regardless of his weak physique, consolidated the right back spot at Liverpool, becoming one their key players within a year and helping them reach the Champions League final. Also, Aaron Wan Bissaka who was promoted to the senior side at Crystal Palace and immediately made an impact. Consistent runs of games just made them better.

Given United’s current situation, giving Tim Fosu-Mensah a go in the second half of the season would ease the pressure off Valencia and provide healthy competition for Dalot and provide cover for other defensive areas of the defense or midfield, should the need arise as he is a rare gem possessing a versatile quality of playing in multiple areas of the pitch and is a very good ball player and dribbler of the ball. United could very well use his skill of bulldozing his way through the right flank and continue Ole’s new style of dynamic free flowing football.

Source: Telegraph

Fosu-Mensah however will not be a regular starting option for the squad given his lack of experience and it is most definite that United will be in the market for a highly rated right back in the summer as Matteo Darmian’s future looks uncertain and Valencia should be shown the exit door no matter who takes the reigns permanently.

Claudio Ranieri has stated that Fosu-Mensah can return to Manchester United if they want him, but nobody can deny that the real reason would be because of their own transfer agenda! The youngster is also highly rated in his homeland with many Dutch pundits like Van Gaal and Netherlands manager Ronald Koeman who highly regard him, with the latter saying that the player should get more opportunities to play to get into the national side, a new looking youthful side showing signs of the glory days with stars like Depay, De Jong, Van Dijk, Promes, De Ligt ect.

Fosu-Mensah really deserves chances in the top flight and with the right team and under an attacking manager, the club shouldn’t waste time and need to recall him to the place he rightfully belongs, home, Old Trafford!


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