Amad might need new Manchester United position to shine after Jadon Sancho arrival
Sancho's is almost assured to be United's first-choice right-winger, meaning Amad's long term role within Solskjaer's squad is uncertain.
There was a mixture of both excitement and relief when Manchester United finally announced the signing of Jadon Sancho last week.
The 21-year-old was a long time target for the club, and there was a real frustration that the club wasn’t able to agree on a deal for him last season, with Borussia Dortmund’s valuation proving beyond justification United in 2020.
An agreement was successfully reached this summer though, and it’s hoped that Sancho’s arrival can finally solve the long-standing right-wing problem within Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad.
United did, of course, recruit in this area last summer, bringing in exciting young teenager Amad from Atalanta in a deal worth an estimated £37million, including future add-ons.
Despite the fee paid, expectations were managed well by Solskjaer, who focused more on Amad's long-term prospects at the club rather than the immediate impact he could have had on what was a problem position for the team.
“Manchester United has such a proud history of developing young players and everything is in place to enable Amad to reach his potential here,” Solskjaer said when he signed the teenager.
“It will take time for him to adapt, but his speed, vision and fantastic dribbling ability will stand him in good stead to make the transition. He is a player with all of the raw attributes that are needed to be an important player for Manchester United in the years to come.”
Despite this, with no standout right-sided attacker at the club, the door was open for Amad to perform well and stake a claim to make the position his own. However, Sancho’s arrival does derail these ambitions somewhat.
It’s not an exaggeration to suggest that the England international is a player already firmly operating within the elite bracket, and the development he’s benefited from at Manchester City and then Dortmund means that he’s now at a stage where he’s capable of having a substantial impact on United's attack both next season and for many years to come.
Although this can be perceived as a negative for Amad who is already at a disadvantage as he’s set to miss most out on most of pre-season due to his participation in the Olympics with the Ivory Coast, a big positive is that his development won’t need to be rushed, with any pressure instead going on Sancho to be the player to start delivering attacking returns almost instantly.
Therefore in the immediate Solskjaer can continue to use Amad sparingly, steadily building upon his eight senior appearances as and when the time is right.
Long term though, it’ll be on the youngster to not only develop to a level at which he can compete with Sancho to start on the right of United’s attack — his favoured position — but also evolve his skill-set so that he can also play multiple positions, opening the door for more playing opportunities in the first-team.
He certainly has the potential to do this and would on occasions be played in different attacking positions such as the left-wing, in the No.10 and as a centre-forward within Atalanta’s senior and youth sides.
While used on the right most often, the teenager is actually left-footed and although not the tallest at 5ft8in, he is deceptively strong, thanks to both a low centre of gravity and steely determination.
He’s also technically well-rounded, and each of these components makes him well-suited to not only playing out wide but also operating in more central locations inside the final third.
Should he be able to build on these skills as he develops at United, then he could easily have the capacity to become more than just Sancho’s understudy in the years to come.