As many of us know there was some controversy with the signing of Ashley Young. Questions like “Do we need yet another winger?” or “How will he fit in?” ran through many Manchester United fan’s minds when the news was broken.
I’ll start by being up front with my opinion, I think Young will overtake Nani’s position on the wing and prove to be a vital part of United’s attack for many seasons to come. Do not take my words the wrong way, I think Nani is a great player and has made great strides in improving and holding his position in the starting XI. Many people will read this article and think that I know nothing about football saying that Young will be better than Nani but I ask you to read it with an open mind and consider the points I present.
Nani was in great form last season with 32 appearances, 10 goals, and 20 assists in all competitions in the 2010/11 season, these stats couldn’t be a better indication that Nani had a superb campaign and will only improve. There is a downside to Nani though; if you have ever watched him (which if you’re reading this article that a 100% certainty you have) you will know that he can be a bit selfish at times and his set pieces are certainly below par. In terms of how successful Nani was as well last season, he only landed 27% of his shots on target the whole year, a testament to just how many of his shots are wayward on a regular basis.
This is where our new Ashley Young picks up where Nani leaves off. Young, with 70 assists in his career in the Premier League, is only topped by Cesc Fabregas. Second to that, Young landed an impressive 40% of his shots on target last season. The main attribute I am excited about is what Young will bring to United with his exceptional set piece record, as you know United have really lacked in the set piece area since we lost Ronaldo. From the 2007/08 season up until the end of the 2010/11 season, Young has averaged 7.5 deadball assists per year with a total of 30, whereas Nani’s best so far at United is 4.26. Imagine how Vidic and Hernandez would thrive on a consistent dead ball specialist, the goals would be falling out of our team.
If you ask anyone they would be quick to point out where Young’s faults are. He isn’t a great header of the ball by any means nor does he have a great physical presence in the strength category. If you watch Nani, he falls over more times than not and certainly lacks heading ability. With Young, we will finally have the threat of set pieces back and a very creative winger at our disposal. Not only does United benefit from signing Young but England will have a winger at the best club in the world who might not be skipped over next time around.
By Mike Fontana – Follow Mike on Twitter here @Fontana_MUFC