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Teenage Fulham defender on the radar for Manchester United this summer?

Ryan Sessegnon is a 17-year-old left-back who currently plays for Championship side Fulham. During the past season, he made 30 appearances in all competitions for the London club, scoring seven goals, which at that level shows the talent and ability the player has at such a young age. The left-back position is one which has brought forward problem after problem for Jose Mourinho and Manchester United during the past season, and before that. Luke Shaw, United’s main left-back, purchased from Southampton during Louis van Gaal’s debut season, has had problems with fitness and effort going back two years ago, also suffering a devastating double leg fracture in his second season, meaning his missed the majority of it, return at the start of the season which has now ended. A mixture of poor form, which resulted in criticism, and injury curtailed Shaw’s season again. For those reasons and the fact that Matteo Darmian, Ashley Young, and Daley Blind are much better in other areas on the pitch, Mourinho is tasked with strengthening his left-back area, which could spell some bad news for Shaw. United have been linked with Danny Rose and Benjamin Mendy already this summer, with Sessegnon being the newest player linked to the Theatre of Dreams.

What is being reported and by who?

The Mirror reported earlier on Thursday that both Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur were ready to ‘battle it out’ for the signature of 17-year-old Ryan Sessegnon this summer with Jose Mourinho reportedly keen on bringing the England U19 international to the Old Trafford club, which could suggest Luke Shaw’s future at the club still remains with the player making strides under Mourinho before another injury curtailed his season prematurely. The Sun have reported the same as the Mirror, adding that it could spell bad news for Shaw with Sessegnon likely to replace him, which does seem a bit reactionary, a bit like the Sun really. Liverpool have also been linked with Sessegnon but the report stated the player was likely to go to Tottenham Hotspur. There are other reports out there from similar newspapers, but the information remains the same, with a few minor details being changed.

What type of player is Ryan Sessegnon?

Ryan Sessegnon is a left-back, a pretty good one at that, despite his age. The saying, if they are good enough, they are old enough seems to be the case with the player who turned 17 just last month, already playing for the majority of the past season in the Championship, which will be valuable for his future development. Sessegnon could be available for a compensation payment, not yet signing a professional contract with Fulham, which could see United or even Spurs pay just £15 million for the player, which would be a valuable return for Fulham, but providing his development continues to see him become a better player, that fee could be peanuts to what he could be worth in the future. The player just needs a manager who trusts in youth to take him under his wings and give him the Premier League chances he deserves to continue his growth. It would be safe to say that could be one of the reasons Manchester City are not after him, despite needing full-backs this summer. Sessegnon can play as a left winger also, which shows how versatile the player is and what he can offer. This could also be a reason as to why United seem to be credited with an interest in the player. Jamie Redknapp recently said this about Sessegnon;

“Keep an eye out for Ryan Sessegnon, the 16-year-old who is making great strides at Fulham. I’ve watched the Wandsworth-born left back for a while and he has what it takes to be the next Ashley Cole.”

Likelihood of the transfer?

I’m not convinced of this transfer at this moment in time. Weeks ago it was suggested the player would go to Spurs, but now United have been reported with an interest in the player. It makes me wonder if this is the media playing games again. Thinking that a deal is likely to be struck between Spurs and Fulham for the player, adding United’s interest so they can report that the player chose Spurs over United when a prospective deal is concluded. This seems to happen a lot of the time with players not even on United’s radar being linked just before deals with other clubs have been completed. Sessegnon is a talented player, but I feel the likes of Cameron Borthwick-Jackson and even Demetri Mitchell should be given chances to succeed in the left-back role, rather than bringing in another talent, which could end up with talented players leaving United. Sessegnon would be eligible to play in the U18 and U23 leagues next season, but after 30 appearances in the Championship last season, would he want to be demoted at United, or fight for a first team place? To me, he would want to develop, not regress.

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