Date of Birth: 26/01/1991
Preferred Position: Left-back
Manchester United may be in desperate need of a central midfielder but there is a real need to strengthen at left-back too. Patrice Evra coasted through a few seasons without real competition and his form dipped because of it until Alexander Buttner’s arrival sparked a return to form but United are still weak in that area.
Many argue that Fabio or Buttner have not provided sufficient competition for Evra and David Moyes would seem to agree with his pursuit of Leighton Baines over the summer. However, he may have scouted a long term option when he was in Spain on Wednesday night – FC Porto’s left back Alex Sandro.
Sandro began his career at Atletico Paranaense but in strange circumstances joined Santos via third party ownership. At Santos, he began to shine. His performances during a two year spell saw him play a pivotal part in Santos’ Copa Libertadores success. where he played the first leg of the final and came on as a substitute in the second. Several eye catching performances led to a move to FC Porto.
At Porto, his traits have developed and come to the fore. His lightning pace is one thing that always stands out and he possesses an ability to make up ground so quickly that can often catch opposition by surprise, something similar to Patrice Evra in his pomp. Another attribute which has helped Sandro remain consistent is his mature tactical ability; for such a young player, his awareness to adhere to tactical responsibilities has been displayed very well.
His crossing ability and delivery into the box, as well as his penetrating runs, also makes him an asset in the attacking sense. This is usually key for any successful United team as the full backs under Moyes have been used to provide the width so far this season.
Although his positional sense is often suspect, he makes up for it with sheer pace. From a defensive point of view, he is never shy of a physical challenge and would relish the physicality and intensity of the Premier League. He can be extremely forceful in the tackle and although he can be accused of giving away too many fouls, his tackles are often the beginning of a counter-attack.
However, a weakness is his concentration. So many times he can be caught out of position due to poor concentration where he doesn’t pay attention to situations unfolding in front of him. Playing as a full-back gives him a wide lens view of the game being played which sometimes leads to mistakes being made due to lapses in concentration and that can be the difference between points gained or points dropped. He’d need to improve in that respect.
With Rafael having cemented the right-back spot, another Brazilian who plays in a similar style on the opposing flank could be an opportunity that United and Moyes cannot miss out upon.
If Moyes is to rebuild his squad, signing young players such as Sandro would help sustain future successes with a far more attractive playing style. The lack of pace in the current United team has been telling at times, so adding a player of Sandro’s speed would be a welcome move.
Time will tell whether Moyes sees Sandro as a potential successor to Evra but one thing is for sure, Sandro will definitely be a name we will be hearing of a lot in the very near future even if he doesn’t make a move to Old Trafford.