Before returning to play, United is unsure about what to do on the right.
Erik ten Hag undoubtedly wonders when the spinning of the plate will end.
As soon as one issue is resolved, another one crops up. The United manager knew going into the summer that he needed to upgrade his goalkeeper, center midfield, and primary striker. He made substantial additions to address all three before the start of the season.
After Luke Shaw joined Tyrell Malacia on the sidelines, the left back position became problematic. Raphael Varane’s injury and the withdrawal of Lisandro Martinez and Victor Lindelof from the match against Arsenal left United suddenly exposed at center back.
Sergio Reguilon was brought in as a bandage on the left, but suddenly the right wing is problematic. Jadon Sancho and Ten Hag have a very public falling out, and it’s unclear what the future holds for the England international. Antony is also out of the picture due to personal matters.
Ten Hag must now find a frontline answer with Brighton and Bayern Munich on the horizon. Bruno Fernandes may have switched roles from his major function, according to data from last season.
Given the impact the Portugal international has on the team, it’s not ideal, but Ten Hag used him there to shore up the team’s performance in pivotal games last season, notably the FA Cup final. It leaves a vacuum in the midfield, but United now have a wide range of options there, and Mason Mount could easily play further forward.
However, given that the England international has experience playing there for club and country, he might be the preferred option out wide. The former Chelsea player is recovering from an injury and, if healthy, might prove to be a key alternative for United, especially away in Munich where his hard ethic and game awareness will give them an advantage without the ball.
Facundo Pellistri is the front-runner among natural candidates for a right-side slot. He hasn’t started a league game and hasn’t played much under Ten Hag, but he seems to be the favorite of the fans.
He has established himself as a contender after playing in all of Uruguay’s international matches, winning the World Cup, and making a few notable appearances for the United team. The 21-year-old’s manager’s confidence in him to handle the obstacles Brighton and Bayern bring is likely the only roadblock. However, Pellistri should start in upcoming Premier League games against Burnley and Crystal Palace. If not now, when will it be?
The Ivory Coast international Amad Diallo may have a long-term impact on the right-side discussion, although he is currently injured. His status was elevated by a standout Championship campaign with Sunderland the previous year, and he was justly considered for the United first team.When completely fit, he will try to impose his ideas on others.
If Ten Hag decides to swap Alejandro Garnacho from his favoured side, the Argentine provides an alternative. However, the left has accounted for the vast bulk of his United minutes, so it seems doubtful that he will be shifted across before the other choices.
Ten Hag is now left with four choices for a single position, each with advantages and drawbacks. Make a choice now.