Manchester United under Ed Woodward seem to be leaving incoming (and to a lesser extent outgoing) transfer deals until literally the 11th hour to complete. Fortunately United finally got the much-reported Alex Telles deal across the line along with 3 more incoming players.
Most United fans would much rather see signings completed with plenty of time left in the transfer window although the results of player signings under Ole seem to be pretty positive so far with the exception of the whole “will-he-won’t-he” Jaden Sancho affair this summer. Considering the success of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Harry Maguire, Bruno Fernandes and to a slightly lesser extent Odson Ighalo and Daniel James there has not been a real flop signing during Ole’s reign.
In the just closed summer 2020 transfer window, United completed only the deal for 23 year old Dutch central midfielder Donny van de Beek ahead of transfer deadline day leaving a manic final day. United were the busiest Premier League team on deadline day as they completed 4 incoming deals. They signed 2 more youngsters in 18 year old Uruguayan winger Facundo Pellistri from Penarol and 18 year old Ivory Coast winger Amad Diallo from Atalanta who will join up with the team in January once passport and work permit arrangements have been completed.
United also added 2 quality older signings in the vastly experienced 33 year old Uruguayan hitman Edinson Cavani who came to Old Trafford on a free transfer from PSG where across 7 seasons he scored 138 goals in 200 games for the French giants plus as we know they also secured Brazilian international left-back Alex Telles from FC Porto for a quite reasonable (at least in this day and age) fee of £13.5million.
We know what Cavani should be able to do in a United shirt and van de Beek appears a solid addition to the midfield depth chart who can compete with Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes. Pellistri should be in the 1st team squad in the weeks ahead pushing Daniel James and Mason Greenwood for game time so we should be able to see him in action soon enough but as mentioned it will be January 2021 before we can evaluate the Ivorian starlet Diallo.
United’s boss has been keen to sign another left-back for some time to provide cover and competition for Luke Shaw. After opting out of signing Real Madrid’s Spanish left-back Sergio Reguilón and letting Diogo Dalat leave on-loan to AC Milan, Alex Telles signed a 4 year contract at Old Trafford. Conveniently for United, Telles also has an Italian passport which made completing the signing much more straight-forward.
Brazilian left-backs have a lot to live up to given the unbelievable quality of Real Madrid’s Roberto Carlos who was followed by countryman Marcelo both at Real and for Brazil. Telles is very much an attacking full-back and at 27 years of age is in the prime of his career having had to wait patiently for his chance in the national side only winning 1 cap so far but that seems likely to change very soon now he is at United.
Telles bagged 6 goals across all competitions in 53 games for Porto in the 2018-19 season and then kicked on adding 13 goals for Porto in the 2019-20 season. In the 3 games the United new boy had played for Porto so far this year he had already scored 2 goals. Ole now seems to have the more offensive full-back he wanted to rival 25 year old Luke Shaw. The England man is no slouch going forward either but has just the 1 goal for United in his 99 games for the club and he never scored in the 60 games he played for Southampton.
Going back to new signing Telles and what can we expect from him? Well Telles can certainly strike the ball and it is understandable how he has such an impressive goal-scoring record over the past few seasons – watch him score with a peach of a shot in training:
Just Alex Telles whipping one into the bottom left 💫🇧🇷 pic.twitter.com/5T4jxZs4He
— utdreport (@utdreport) October 8, 2020
Remember Brazilian legend Roberto Carlos – one of the best left-backs to play the game – who scored this 35 yard “worldie” of a free-kick for Brazil in a 1-1 tie against France in the opening game of the 1997 Tournoi de France:
Many people regard Carlos’ free-kick as the best ever and watching how he strikes with the outside of his left foot and sends the ball off quite a distance outside the righthand post before bending it back inside the post and beating a disbelieving Fabien Barthez in the French goal.
Alex Telles may not be on a level with Roberto Carlos as yet but the new United man should certainly provide more creativity and goals in the seasons ahead for United. Ole seems to be keeping the board happy so far despite a poor start to the campaign and recent rumours of United feeling out Mauricio Pochettino for the manager’s job. Being a club man will likely serve Solksjaer well as he quietly builds a squad to contest the biggest trophies both domestically and in Europe for years to come.