Man United’s acquisition of Jadon Sancho now means that they are spoilt for versatile options up-front. The English starlet has been on Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s wishlist for a while now. As such, the Norwegian gaffer will certainly be relieved at having a specialist right-forward at his disposal at last.
However, that need not be the only role that Sancho could fulfil at Old Trafford. Here are just three ways in which the 21-year-old could function with United, all within the preferred 4-2-3-1 formation.
1. At Right Forward
This is the formation that brings the best out of the British forwards at Solskjær’s disposal.
Here, Marcus Rashford will continue to man the left-forward role, building on the excellent form he has sustained at the spot over the last two seasons. Sancho would slot into the expected right-forward role, bringing both creative and offensive threat to the United trident.
At the centre-forward spot, it will be Mason Greenwood who takes over the reins instead. Greenwood is a natural striker and will be looking to get more game time in this spot. As such, it makes plenty of sense for Edinson Cavani to slowly make way for the starlet such that all three Englishman pose a dynamic threat.
This is certainly the formation and player selection that United can eye over the long-term. Further still, with the likes of Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes providing creative inputs from lower in the shape, the Red Devils will be able to create goals more often and more consistently.
2. At Left Forward
This formation would see Sancho oust Rashford from his coveted left-wing spot. There is clear precedent for this as Sancho has been occasionally deployed here to great success for Borussia Dortmund.
As for the striker’s spot, Cavani would continue with his reliable presence there with Greenwood retaining his right-forward spot for the time being.
It is clear that any multiple-title success for Solskjær would require him economically using his options across the competitions, rather than sticking to the same lineup game in and game out. Thus, in order to ape the Pep Guardiola model, United can resort to this setup when they wish to give Rashford some rest or rely on his impact as a substitute instead.
At the same time, such a rotation would encourage healthy competition among the ranks, creating the perfect dynamic for a long overdue title challenge.
3. As a Number 10
This one may appear to be a controversial decision as it would see Sancho function as the direct replacement for Bruno Fernandes. However, if last season has taught United anything, it is that their Portuguese maestro is overworked beyond comprehension. As a result of the same, he often struggles to deliver in big games, as was seen on multiple occasions last campaign as well as during the Euros with Portugal.
Thus, during the vital instances when Fernandes is given a rest, Sancho can easily slot into this spot and provide creative inputs from it. Here too there is precedent for his versatility. Likewise, the trident would remain a traditional one with Rashford, Cavani, and Greenwood making up the bulk of the firepower for United.
This is also the setup that makes the most out of the individual talents of the forward while also reigning in the reality that at 21, Sancho will have to be groomed for a regular role. What better spot to do it from than the one that Fernandes made his triumphant mark last season?
Where do you thing Sancho ought to be deployed by Solskjær and how often?