Alex Telles: A New Dawn for the Brazilian?

The pressure was on for Manchester United in match day two of the Champions League, in a crucial match against Europa League winners Villarreal. After going a goal down, United managed to get back into the game through the medium of an unlikely hero in Brazilian left-back Alex Telles, who scored the equaliser and his first goal for United.

Telles met an unorthodox Bruno Fernandes free kick with a precise arrowing volley, managing to weave its way through a blockade of players into the corner of the net. The Brazilian has struggled for game time in his relatively short United career thus far, but a crucial goal in the Champions League feels like it could be the springboard for a new dawn in his career. 

This article will look at the Brazilian’s career so far and then analyse how it could be turned around in the coming season, while also assessing what he can contribute for United when at his best.

It was back in October 2020 that United paid a fee of around £13.6 million to Porto for the services of the left-back, in a deal that saw him sign a four-year contract with the option for an extension. At the time Telles was signed to provide genuine competition for up and down English left-back Luke Shaw, who had won United’s player of the year in 2019 (and recently in 2021) but had nobody of real experience to challenge him or cover for him in his absence aside from youngster Brandon Williams. 

Telles was seen as a good signing, with good reason too, the full back has scored 26 goals and provided more than 50 assists for Porto, known as much for his attacking prowess as his defending. Over his career Telles has been known to occasionally score a wonder goal from distance, alongside possessing an impressive crossing ability, so perhaps Telles’s most recent volley in the Champions League should come as no surprise to those who know him best. 

However, for the majority of United fans it was a bolt from the blue to see the Brazilian sliding on the Old Trafford turf after a sublime volley, before this Telles had failed to make any real significant impact since signing for United.

On the contrary, it could be argued that Telles has actually made a huge impact with his arrival. While not directly, there are no doubts the arrival of Telles has reignited a fire in Shaw who had a tremendous season in 20/21. While good for United, Telles will be disappointed that he’s barely had a look in over the last season, playing second fiddle to perhaps one of the best performing defenders in the world over the last year or so. 

Due to Shaw’s impressive form, Telles was restricted to just nine Premier League appearances across last season, which is hardly enough to make a meaningful impact on the team or gain a decent match rhythm. Despite this, Telles had a top-class debut performance for United, playing a pivotal role in United’s 2-1 win at Parc des Princes against Paris Saint-Germain in 2020

Many thought that this debut would spark a fierce rivalry with Shaw for the left-back position, however where Shaw managed to kick on, Telles faltered, seemingly not quite offering as much in attacking spaces or even being as defensively sound as the Englishman. 

While Shaw has subsequently won another player of the year award and scored in the final of the Euros, Telles had to deal with another injury setback back in July, picking up an ankle injury just weeks before the start of the season. The Brazilian seemed defiant in his quest to recover though, taking to social media to profess his desire to come back stronger, citing a big change in himself to come.

This determined attitude may have paid off for Telles, as he impressively took his opportunity to shine for United in the win over Villarreal. It was really a makeshift defence by United’s standards, Harry Maguire and Shaw both out recovering from minor injuries while Aaron Wan Bissaka was suspended. 

This led to the reappearance of Victor Lindelof, as well as full back Diogo Dalot who was on the opposite flank to Telles. United were shaky defensively, embodying the jumbled arrangement of personnel, however Telles stood out as one of the better performers. Solid going forward and having a relatively sound defensive game, Telles increased his stock amongst United supporters with his overall performance. 

It may have also stood out even more considering Dalot on the right hand side had a torrid game, tormented by the Villarreal forwards and generally making poor decisions all game. This perhaps highlights the gulf in experience between youngster Dalot and seasoned 28-year-old Telles, who has a habit of performing well in high pressure European games. 

Telles will now hope this impressive showing will allow him to improve his fortunes at United, hopeful that he will be afforded more game time over the coming season. Additionally, Shaw has appeared a little burnt out in recent weeks so therefore Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may be forced to rely on Telles more, who would hope he can replicate his impressive display. 

It’s clear that Telles possesses the ability to be a quality full back, he’s demonstrated it at Porto, so United will be hopeful that the arrival of his first goal for the club can shepherd in a newfound confidence for the Brazilian, allowing him to truly make his mark for the club in the coming season.

Written by Sam Wilson

Manchester United sign Alex Telles from FC Porto; the second summer signing for the club

Manchester United have announced the signing of Brazilian left-back Alex Telles on a four-year contract with the option of a fifth year. It is reported that United will pay FC Porto €15 million (£13.6 million) and €3 million (£2.7 million) in add-ons as part of the deal to sign the 27-year-old, who was in the final year of his contract at the club. Telles had been linked to the Old Trafford club for a number of weeks with it being reported just over a fortnight ago that the Brazilian had agreed on a five-year contract at the club but it was soon downplayed by journalists as not being quote correct. After a period of waiting, everything has now been completed.

Last season at Porto, Telles made a total of 49 appearances, scoring 13 goals and 12 assists in all competitions, scoring two goals and two assists in three appearances this season. Luke Shaw has scored just two goals adding 11 assists in his time at the club. Telles started his career at Juventude and soon signed for Grêmio, where he made 39 appearances, scoring one goal and four assists. He also played for Galatasaray, make 60 appearances, scoring two goals and four assists being loaned out to Inter Milan for one season, making 22 appearances, getting one assist. In total, at Porto, Telles made 195 appearances, scoring 26 goals and 57 assists.

Speaking to the official Manchester United website about his move to the Old Trafford club, Telles said:

“To join a club with the prestige of Manchester United is a huge honour. You have to work hard to get to this moment your career and now I am coming to this club, I can promise that I will give everything in my heart to be a success here.

I won many trophies at FC Porto and I want to continue that at United. The manager has a clear plan and direction for this team and I can’t wait to pull on the famous shirt.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be pleased to get another signing across the line this summer, despite United leaving it late to get deals done, which in understandable considering the hierarchy of the club and the fact they are always slow at concluding deals. United will not play again until the 17 October when they are scheduled to face Newcastle United at St James’ Park in the Premier League in a match that is scheduled to kick off at 15:00 BST, but will be subject to change. After United’s 6-1 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford on Sunday, the manager will be seeking United to show everyone that they are made of, coming back from this defeat.

Speaking to the official Manchester United website about the signing of Telles, Solskjaer said:

“First and foremost I welcome Alex to [Telles] United. He is a player we have been tracking for some time and his performances over the past few years are exactly what we are looking for.

“He is a fighter and a winner and will add real determination and competition to the squad. Alex has the qualities, both as a player and a person, that we want here at Manchester United.”

United will have more depth in the fullback position now with both Telles and Shaw likely to go head to head for the starting left-back place and Brandon Williams, who can play at both right-back and left-back, likely to contend with Aaron Wan-Bissaka, perhaps Ethan Laird and maybe Tim Fosu-Mensah for a position at the club. With the number of matches United will be playing this season, it is likely that many of the players will get important minutes on the pitch but Shaw could be the main casualty with Telles now signing for the club. For many years now, Shaw has not lived to the expectations and his injury record and form has been poor.

Written by John Walker

Alex Telles could be signed for just £12 million with defender convinced deal will be reached

Manchester United are reportedly hoping to sign FC Porto’s Brazilian left-back Alex Telles in a cut price £12 million deal this summer with the player into his final year of his current contract at the Portuguese club. The Guardian has reported that the £18 million fee being asked for is not something that United would pay for the player, seeing the fee for the 27-year-old as too high with the Old Trafford club hoping to use the clubs financial difficulties to conclude the deal positively.

It is reported that Telles is eager to make the switch to the Old Trafford club and play in the Premier League this season but United will have just over a week to get the deal completed as the summer transfer window will close on the 5 October. Porto are said to be holding firm on their valuation of the player with United playing hardball to get the deal done. With the ongoing financial problems for the Portuguese club, they may need to accept United’s offer rather than risk losing the player for free.

From January, Telles, 27, will be able to sign a pre-contract agreement with a foreign club, signing for the club from the 1 July 2021. If that happens, there is no guarantee that United would wait to sign the player as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants to sign a left-back this summer to cover for Luke Shaw, who has an poor injury record and Brandon Williams, who needs to find more experience and could learn from a player like Telles. United are said to have one or two other left-backs on their list this summer.

Solskjaer’s side were linked with Ajax left-back Nicolas Tagliafico earlier this week, which may or may not be a player that the club are interested in signing if they do not manage to conclude a deal for Telles this summer. The Old Trafford club were also linked with Sergio Reguilon, who signed for Tottenham Hotspur after United would not agree to a buyback clause for the player, which would have turned the deal into a glorified loan spell for the player, which was something United were not interested in.

Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano, who is a well-respected journalist when it comes to transfers has suggested that the £12 million fee that United might be trying to pay could just be hearsay as he has stated that the fee could rise to £22 million with Porto seeking to get €25 million for Telles this summer as they want to invest in other areas of their squad. Romano stated the following on his Twitter account;

“Talks continue between Manchester United and Porto for Alex Telles. Player side still convinced that an agreement between Porto and #MUFC can be reached around €25m (£22m). Negotiations on. There’s also another option on the list as LB for Man Utd if Telles deal will collapse.”

Last season, Telles made a total of 49 appearances for Porto, scoring 13 goals and 12 assists in all competitions with Porto winning the Primeira Liga and the Taça de Portugal. So far this season, Telles has made just one appearance this season, scoring two goals and one assist in the 3-1 victory over Sporting Braga last weekend. Porto face Boavista in the Primeira Liga this weekend, the club that former United attacking midfielder Angel Gomes has been loaned to for the season. It will be interesting to see if Telles plays in this fixture, which could tell how close a deal actually is.

Written by John Walker

Alex Telles agrees five-year contract with Manchester United – reports

Manchester United have reportedly agreed a five-year contract with FC Porto left-back Alex Telles according to a report by French journalist Mohamed Bouhafsi, although David Ornstein suggests that neither Porto or the Brazilian have any agreement in place. The 27-year-old’s current contract at the Portuguese club will expire at the end of the season and the club would rather sell the player this summer, rather than see him leave the club as a free agent. He could wait until January to sign a pre-contract agreement with a club away from Portugal, leaving on a free.

United were interested in Real Madrid left-back Sergio Reguilon earlier this summer but the inclusion of a buyback clause on the contract was something that United opted to steer clear of, as they should, which would make the prospective transfer seem like a glorified loan spell. The player will be signing for Tottenham Hotspur instead this summer. United would need certainty that the player wanted to play for United, and the buyback clause would not have given that impression.

Telles, 27, was on United’s radar earlier in the summer and Chelsea were also understood to be interested in the Brazilian. Frank Lampard instead opted for Ben Chilwell from Leicester City, signing the player for around £50 million. United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wanted to sign a left-back to rival Luke Shaw, who has had an injury ridden career at the Old Trafford club, ending last season on the sidelines, which something that United would need to avert with Brandon Williams lacking experience.

United have utilised their fullbacks to attack in matches, which has not been ideal as both Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Shaw have both been under pressure at times defensively, which has cut their ability to break forward. It has not always been like that though. Last season at Porto, Telles made a total of 49 appearances for the club, scoring 13 goals and 12 assists, which is a 25 goal contribution for the club, which would be great to see something similar at United, if the club is successful in signing there player.

Providing United find agreement of Porto and Paris Saint-Germain, who have held interested in the player, so not make a move, United might end the summer strengthening the left-back position at the club, which will go a long way into making the squad much stronger. it might also see Shaw being given a battle to keep his position at the club, also giving Solskjaer a rotation option and a more experienced head for both Shaw and Williams to learn from.

United will be seeking to sign two more players this summer, according to some reports, of which Telles could be one of. Jadon Sancho has been linked to United all summer and despite missing the deadline that was given by Borussia Dortmund, United still seem to be interested in their number one target this summer. It may well be that United make the move for Sancho and given that the club has agreed personal terms and agent fees, it would suggest that something was happening at some point. Although it might not end with Sancho playing for United but here is hoping.

Written by John Walker

Brazilian left-back has asking price reduced to £18.5 million – reports

FC Porto have reported lowered their asking price for 27-year-old left back Alex Telles this summer with Portuguese news source A Bola suggesting that the club will accept £18.5 million for the player with is a £9.2 million reduction from the £27.7 million fee previously quoted for the player. United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been seeking to sign a left-back this summer with Real Madrid’s Sergio Reguilon linked to the club but reports suggest that the player does not want to move to United.

Telles, 27, has been on United’s radar once before and nothing ever materialised under the management of Jose Mourinho and it is possible that the same thing could happen here with many players being linked to United, many of whom do not seem to be wanted by the club – which is what happens every time the transfer window opens. Clubs do not tend to comment on transfer speculation – it would be great if clubs denied any interest in players as it would make the media look pathetic.

The Sun has carried the reports from A Bola regarding the rumour of a reduced fee for Telles this summer, which could see United bring in an experienced left-back to rival Luke Shaw and also help Brandon Williams and Shaw develop in their roles at the club. The Brazilian will be out of contract at Porto next summer, so instead of losing the player as a free agent, they will earn some money from his sale instead, which seems to be good business from the Portuguese club, if the report is true.

During the 2019/20 season, Telles made a total of 49 appearances for Porto, scoring 13 goals and 12 assists, which is a great rate of goals from a fullback. If this form could be replicated at United in the Premier League, it would be a valuable deal for United, especially in that Shaw has not been the best player at the club of late with all of his injuries and the fact he ended another season on the sidelines, which was something that left United much weaker when playing in the UEFA Europa League.

Since arriving in Porto in the summer of 2016, Telles has made a total of 192 appearances, scoring 24 goals and 55 assists in the four seasons he has spent at the club. Before signing for Porto, Telles was playing for Galatasaray spending three seasons at the club, however, he was loaned to Inter Milan during his third, before being sold to Porto. For the Turkish side, he made a total of 60 appearances, scoring two goals and four assists and in his season at Inter, made 22 appearances, scoring no goals and one assist. Telles started out at Gremio in Brazil, making 39 appearances, scoring one goal and four assists.

It is suggested that United are the main interested party in the running to sign Telles this summer, although Chelsea, who has since signed Ben Chilwell from Leicester City, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Paris Saint-Germain are also said to be interested in the Brazilian this summer. Telles was a standout performer for Porto last season as the club won the Primeira Liga and Taça de Portugal double. United have just three weeks to complete their summer business and they have a lot to do to catch up with the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea.

Written by John Walker

Manchester United and Chelsea in transfer race to sign Alex Telles – reports

Manchester United and Chelsea are reported embroiled in a transfer race to sign FC Porto left-back Alex Telles this summer. This has been reported by The Sun and The Mirror. On closer investigation, the reports seem to come from Portugal with SportWitness giving the impression that the reports in Portugal were not that strong. It would seem that the English media have heavily inflated the rumour probably living off the hits to their sites, which is not really the kind of journalism expected.

However, it has become the norm for tabloid newspapers who hand few actual journalists and a team of sports writers who surf the internet looking for stories to put their own slant on them. You can normally tell the expertise of these writers based on the number if mistakes in articles, perhaps not this particular story but others have been dreadfully written with little knowledge or fact being checked. It should really be better than this. If newspapers checked facts or looked at the whole story, they might be able to inform rather than misinform.

Portuguese news source Correio da Manhã have reported something similar to the English media, possibly using those reports to suggest interest in the player. Whilst it would be good to see Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sign a left-back this summer, there could be so many better players out there. However, with Luke Shaw and Brandon Williams at the club, despite the latter coming through from the academy this season, he seems to be a good player to rotate Shaw with. Experience would be good to have in rotation though.

Telles will turn 28 on the 15 December 2020 and could be considered as being in the peak of his career however, it would be a relatively short-term option and not something that Solskjaer would be a fan off, seeing as he wants to promote youth at the club, whether they are from the clubs academy or coming from other clubs around Europe. Last week, United were linked with Sporting Club de Portugal left-back Nuno Mendes along with defender Eduardo Quaresma, which could be a much better deal, minus the experience, obviously.

With Shaw out of action for the remainder of the season, which is United’s participation in the UEFA Europa League, Solskjaer will have Williams and Tim Fosu-Mensah, who played as a left-back towards the end of the season possibly in rotation for the position. This summer though, the manager could opt to bring in a new face. Telles played a total of 49 times for Porto during the 2019/20 season, scoring 13 goals and 12 assists. He played as a left-back 48 times, playing as a left midfielder once.

Given that Solskjaer is currently relying on the fullbacks to provide width in the team and the fact that Shaw is not a great goalscorer, Telles would be a quality signing if United and Solskjaer were interested in him and that a deal could be done. I don’t think I have seen a left-back score many goals for United since Denis Irwin, who did not score as many as Telles did this season. There could be something in this but at this moment in time, a few reports from England and some from Portugal do not really suggest much. Perhaps the rumour will grow and more information can be obtained. Until then, I don’t see much here, personally.

Written by John Walker

copyright: JW