Man Utd may have two surprising options to replace absent duo Antony and Sancho
Man Utd have wasted well over £600m under Glazers as Jadon Sancho 'set to leave'
Manchester United’s separate issues concerning the absences of Jadon Sancho and Antony may force Erik ten Hag into a tactical reshuffle after being left short of options in attack. The Red Devils are having to continue without the £158million pair for the foreseeable future due to off-field situations, and Ten Hag may have to find a temporary solution to limit the impact of the duo’s absence.
Sancho has fallen out of favour with Ten Hag after responding in public to his manager’s criticism of his performance in training, while Antony has been granted a leave of absence by the club after allegations of assault were made against the Brazilian.
It means Ten Hag has the job of picking his starting XI for their upcoming fixture with Brighton on Saturday without two right-sided attackers, forcing the 53-year-old to consider moving players out of position to cover.
Speculation linking them with a shock move for free agent Anwar El Ghazi proved to be wide of the mark, but it reflects how there may be some panic to formulate a plan to fill the void left by the pair.
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One of the candidates could be Bruno Fernandes, who has been used on the right flank on a number of occasions by Ten Hag, especially in games of higher magnitude where United have required more steel in the centre of their midfield.
It is a role in which he has rarely looked comfortable with as he generally prefers taking a leading role as their playmaker in the No 10 position. That said, the captain may have little choice but to fill in, with United lacking options to choose from on the right.
Ten Hag does have 21-year-old Facundo Pellistri, who has impressed when coming on from the bench, but there may be some doubts to giving him an extended run in the side. Alejandro Garnacho can play there too, but the Argentinian teenager is far more effective when utilised as a left winger.
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Mason Mount has been ruled out for the last two matches with a hamstring injury, with the £60m signing enduring a difficult start to his Old Trafford career.
However, he is hoping to be back for Manchester United’s Champions League clash with Bayern Munich on September 20 in Munich, giving Ten Hag a boost in the coming months if Sancho and Antony continue to be sidelined.
The Dutchman will welcome Mount’s versatility across the midfield areas, as he has demonstrated he is adept in playing from either flank during his time at Chelsea and also with England.
With his tireless running and Fernandes’ importance through the middle, he may be a more suitable option to deploy on right.
And with a gap to fill alongside Casemiro, deadline-day signing Sofyan Amrabat can help lighten the defensive load for the Brazilian, freeing up Fernandes and Mount to attack at will.
But with the Moroccan still adapting to his new surroundings, Christian Eriksen could be asked to step in.
Either way, it is hardly ideal preparation for Ten Hag as he looks to get back to winning ways following their defeat to Arsenal, with only six points from four games so far. And he will be relying upon Fernandes and Mount to step up in the absence of Antony and Sancho during what is proving to be a difficult period for the club.
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