Wayne Rooney is not convinced Jadon Sancho is a signing Manchester United need to make and has instead encouraged his old club to put the £100million towards signing Harry Kane.
The Red Devils have spent most of the summer trying to prise Sancho away from Borussia Dortmund but have been unable to agree a deal, with the winger now set to remain in Germany for the upcoming season.
Far from being disappointed with the failure to land Sancho, Rooney feels United were pursuing the wrong target and says Tottenham forward Kane would be a better fit for the club’s existing attackers.
‘Jadon Sancho is a top player, but I find it odd that he has been Manchester United’s transfer priority,’ wrote Rooney in his column for The Times.
‘Why consider paying close to £100 million for someone similar to talent you’ve got already? United have Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial and where would Sancho’s arrival leave Mason Greenwood, who plays in the same position and is of similar age?
‘I’d rather put that £100 million towards trying to get Harry Kane. Yes, getting Kane out of Tottenham would be difficult, maybe impossible, but United are a club who should always make an effort to sign the very best players.
‘Kane is exactly what Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needs, as is Erling Haaland, who United missed out on last year — a genuine No 9.
‘There are not many who fit that profile and are of elite standard in football right now — yet the chances of United developing into a title-challenging team would be greater if they had such a player.
‘A Kane or Haaland or someone like Robert Lewandowski would give Rashford and Martial someone to play off and freedom to roam into different areas, pick the ball up and try to beat men — without the burden of always having to score.
‘I’ve played with both and believe that kind of freedom suits them best. Anthony has been at United for five years; we know his game by now — his strength is taking players on, running with the ball and getting a shot or cross off.
‘Marcus, with his pace, prefers the space of wider positions. Greenwood could end up as a No 9 eventually but he’s a few years away from that and for the next couple may be better coming in from wide. I think he’ll have a year where he’ll get opportunities, score goals but will also need to be taken out of the team at times and won’t be someone who starts every week until next season.
‘It would be better for him as well if United had a recognised No 9, because he could learn from them, just as I did from Ruud van Nistelrooy. I didn’t play No 9 regularly until my mid-twenties and it’s a specialist position. A lot of a No 9’s work is unselfish and demands patience — you spend time with your back to goal or waiting in the box — and younger players find it difficult.
‘Of course there are different ways to play the position and Liverpool make brilliant use of a false nine in Roberto Firmino. I wonder if a solution for Solskjaer could be a diamond midfield with Bruno Fernandes at the tip and Martial and Rashford as wide forwards, using their speed, similar to Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.’
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