Man Utd Transfer News: Red Devils miss out on potential €17m Antony upgrade Malick Fofana

Tom Weber
Tom Weber

  • Updated: 10 Jan 2024 20:21 GMT
  • 4 min read
Erik ten Hag speaks out in the defence of Antony
© ProShots

Lyon have snapped up one of Europe’s most promising youngsters in Malick Fofana, a player who could have been an upgrade on Antony at Manchester United.

The Red Devils have a right-wing problem. Jadon Sancho’s six-month loan to Borussia Dortmund is a done deal and it leaves Man Utd with Amad Diallo, who has been injured all season, and Antony, who has been playing like he’s been injured all season, as options on the right flank.

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Antony has not recorded a single goal contribution this term. In fact, he’s not scored a competitive goal since April 2023. Diallo, meanwhile, could be sent out on loan to get up to speed and full fitness again. This leaves Man Utd with an obvious right-wing hole to fill.

However, the problem with any potential Red Devils business this month is the simple fact that Financial Fair Play constraints make big-money deals difficult at best and impossible at worst. Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s fresh funds will only be available to Erik ten Hag in the summer, so the Manchester giants will be bargain-hunting this window and focused on outgoings.

However, there a still affordable players out there in Europe who could offer solutions to Ten Hag’s problems. Prolific Bundesliga striker Serhou Guirassy at €17.5 million is one of them. As for the right-wing position, the Red Devils just had to watch on as one of the continent’s biggest wonderkids was snapped up for just €17m.

Antony upgrade

Ligue 1 side Olympique Lyon have announced the signing of Belgian starlet Malick Fofana from KAA Gent, reportedly paying just €17m upfront, with the deal potentially rising to €22m.

At 18 years of age, Fofana has already played 65 senior games, notching five goals and ten assists. So far this season, he has racked up four goals and six assists. Data experts SciSports rate him as one of the most promising right-wingers in the game today.

According to SciSports’ player evaluation algorithm, Fofana clocks in at sixth in terms of potential among right-sided wide players, only bettered by illustrious names such as Lamine Yamal, Roony Bardghji and Yohan Bakayoko.

In terms of ability, the youngster is, of course, still a long way off the level expected of a player playing for an elite Premier League club. After all, he is only 18. That said, his potential is higher than Antony’s current ability level.

It is difficult to imagine any player, even someone as young as Fofana, being worse than Antony has been so far this season. If nurtured properly, Fofana could have quickly established himself as a better – and much, much cheaper – alternative to the Brazilian at Old Trafford.

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