It appears Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sees no need for the club to sign a conventional right-winger this summer.
Daniel James has already come out and said he feels more comfortable playing on the left-wing but speaking about his role heading into the new season, the Red Devils boss suggested he would play from the right as well:
“Yeah, Dan can play all across the frontline. Obviously more right and left-wing, but through the middle as well. Then again, it’s about finding a relationship that works, sometimes you want the full-back to join the attack and maybe you don’t want a winger hugging the touchline.”
“We’ll just have to find the balance between width and players in between, so I’m sure you’ll see him both right and left throughout the season.”
There is no doubt that Solskjaer does have a number of attacking options at his disposal. The likes of James, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Alexis Sanchez, and Juan Mata are all flexible in what role they play on the pitch.
However, not one of those five would say that their favoured position is playing from the right, and that presents the Norwegian with a problem.
If James is picked to play there regularly, you are asking a hell of a lot from a 21-year-old, who is playing in the Premier League for the first time. To take the pressure off him, it is surely more sensible to play him regularly from the left, in a role he already knows well.
With that being the case, the likelihood is that Jesse Lingard would invariably play from the right-hand side. While on the international stage, the 26-year-old has established himself as a consistent performer, his form for United has not been quite as impressive.
Five goals and four assists in 36 matches last season isn’t a great deal to write home about, and if Solskjaer wants to have a lethal threat on the counter-attack, surely he would want someone with a better scoring record playing regularly in the front three?
Tahith Chong and Mason Greenwood could also be options for the right flank, but it would be a big gamble to start either of them regularly from the beginning of the campaign unless they have extraordinary preseasons.
It’s clear that external solutions have been considered by the club. Jadon Sancho was a player that was heavily linked earlier in the summer, but that talk quickly died down. Gareth Bale is another player that has been a long-term target but after having just turned 30, he would not fit in with Solskjaer’s youth policy.
While James may well be seen as a solution by Solskjaer, it will leave many fans scratching their heads. Why gamble on playing a young player out of position rather than investing in an established star who would be more comfortable playing in the role? We may just have to trust the manager’s judgement that he has got things right.