Gary Neville suggested Manchester United sign Ismaila Sarr... three months ago 1 month ago

Gary Neville suggested Manchester United sign Ismaila Sarr... three months ago

Should Neville be United's Director of Football?

Manchester United have a new transfer target every five minutes. It's deadline day, they need a winger, and they need one sharpish.

Having failed to sign Jadon Sancho, the club are now reportedly in talks to sign Ousmane Dembélé on loan from Barcelona and are also looking at signing Ismaila Sarr from Watford.

Sarr was one of few positives for Watford last season, who were relegated to the Championship. He has since been linked with moves to Liverpool, Crystal Palace, and now Manchester United.

Gary Neville, Sky Sports pundit and former United captain, suggested United look at signing him... three months ago.

Speaking on Sky Sports’ The Gary Neville Podcast after Watford’s defeat to West Ham at the back end of last season, he said of Sarr: "Manchester United need a right winger. He’s a big, big talent, honestly he really is.

"We’ve seen his performances before but tonight he was a shining light, even in that first half there were periods where Watford did attack and it was through him. So yeah he’ll be sought after and Watford will, I’m sure, cash in if they get the right bid."


On what makes Sarr so good, Neville added: "I always think, particularly as a wide player, what would I have not wanted to have played against?

"The first thing is pace. And then you’ve got to think about, can he use his pace? Well yes he can, because he makes really good quality runs: the spin in behind, straight, but also the run inside in between full-back and centre-back – which I always think is the most difficult to mark.

"And then you think, well has he got quality on the ball? Could you just let him have it? Sometimes you’ve got quick players, let him have the ball.

"But when you let him have the ball, he can get it out of his feet and whip ridiculously good crosses in. So that’s when you’re thinking about the fact that you’ve got a real problem, as a full-back.

"I’ve been there, where you come off and you think, 'Oof, I’ve had a tough game there, but I’ve dug in'. And his manager will go over to him and say, 'Well done, you stuck at your task, you were playing against a really good player'."

It's hard to argue with any of that analysis of Sarr. This was three months ago. Why have United waited so long before identifying him as a target? Well, we know why. Their recruitment process is a shambles and their negotiators are spectacularly unqualified. But still, it beggars belief.

The club are in need of a director of football. On this evidence, they could do worse than Gary Neville.