With Sancho Signing, Solskjaer Must Find the Right Blend in United Attack

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Jadon Sancho has finally agreed on the terms of his long-awaited move to Manchester United, where he is expected to bolster the Red Devils’ options in the final third.

Sancho had been a target of manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer since 2020, but United were unable to strike a deal with Borussia Dortmund for the sale of the English player last summer. However, now that they have landed the forward, they  truly now boast one of the most potent striking forces in all of the Premier League.

The addition of Sancho, alongside Marcus Rashford and Edinson Cavani, provides Solskjaer with a powerful battery of attackers in the final third that all have the capability of utilising pace, skill, and guile. The United manager can also call on Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood from the bench, along with youngster Amad Diallo. As a result, there should be no excuse for the Red Devils not to make a valid challenge for that Premier League crown which has eluded them for eight years.

That being said, United are backed in the Premier League betting odds at 8/1 to win the title, putting them behind Manchester City, Chelsea, and Liverpool in the minds of the bookmakers. Solskjaer now has the mighty task of making the pieces all work together. A manager might have all the talent in the world at his disposal, but if he cannot make them blend on the pitch, success will not be achieved. Leicester proved that a cohesive unit can trump expensive signings, working their way towards the Premier League crown in the 2015/16 season.

The Chelsea team of the following term was not the most talented in the league, but the combination of Eden Hazard and Diego Costa, in front of a resolute backline, was a winning formula concocted by Antonio Conte. Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp have both received healthy backings in the transfer market, but the results on the pitch have justified the expense.

United have not been able to match the accomplishments of their rivals since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson. Entering his fourth season in the dugout, pressure is gradually growing on Solskjaer to prove his worth. Criticism comes with the territory as manager of the Red Devils, but the notion of a project under the Norwegian has shielded him from the sack for now.

However, if he cannot work out a title-winning formula with the options he has at his call, the Old Trafford hierarchy will be left to wonder if another manager could succeed. Sancho was mesmeric with Dortmund, dazzling down the right and left flanks in support of Erling Haaland. He has the potential to be a thorn in the side of every Premier League team for years to come. Manchester City may rue the day that they allowed the England man to leave their ranks.

With Cavani and Rashford, there should be goals aplenty, with Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes supplying the ammunition, as well as notching strikes of their own. United have an abundance of firepower, but they must also find a balance between attack and defence. Without that balance, even teams of United’s calibre in the final third can be exposed at the back.

Here lies the issue at hand for Solskjaer: how does he keep all of his attacking options satisfied and in rhythm without compromising a solid rearguard? Guardiola and Klopp have done so to great effect. If Solskjaer wishes to join them as a Premier League winning manager, he must find the same formula.

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