When Alex Telles was signed from FC Porto on the summer window’s deadline, many thought it might be the end of Luke Shaw’s career at Manchester United.
Although he has never disappointed in a United shirt, it is fair to say that he has failed to live up to the high reputation he has built with Southampton.
Just one year after moving from the south coast, the England international suffered a horrible leg break, which saw him miss 11 months.
Since then, he has been regularly under several managers, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sanctioning a move for Telles seemed like it could become a thing of the past.
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However, after his performance in the Manchester derby, it is clear that the arrival of Telles inspired the 25-year-old to reach a new level of performance.
Solskjaer will be desperate to see this replicated by the other side of his defense, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka taking his first break of his career at Old Trafford.
Never known for his attacking result, the £ 50 million signing has always been solid on defense, even with the struggles of many colleagues.
But in the defeat against RB Leipzig, the defensive deficiencies led to goals, Angelino enjoyed several opportunities in front of the former Crystal Palace star.
Given this, United have been linked with a move since January for a right-back, with a serious lack of options behind Solskjaer’s first choice.
Kieran Trippier and Lucas Vasquez were both promoted as potential targets, the former being said to want to play for his childhood club.
Diego Simeone could have something to say about that, however, playing the former Tottenham man so far in every game of the season.
And with Solskjaer suggesting that the January window could be quiet, he may have to come up with a more creative solution to his Wan-Bissaka conundrum.
Solskjaer has already shown that he has no problems promoting young people, and the head of the U23 club, Neil Wood, was vocal in his support for the exciting young Ethan Laird.
The 19-year-old was checked by Solskjaer in his first press conference as interim boss in 2018, when he listed the talented players in the club’s development system.
He was true to his word, giving Laird regular first-team opportunities, including his Europa League debut against Astana.
Following that game, the head of United suggested that Laird had done a “good favor”, but the injury restricted his development, with Brandon Williams, instead, moving to the senior picture.
But with these problems behind him, Laird shows the kind of attacking talent that has become so synonymous with United’s full back over the years.
Speaking earlier this year, Wood emphasized the kind of qualities that Laird could bring to Solskjaer’s first team.
“I wanted to see the kind of features of Manchester United – a very good possession with quick attacks, creating chances and scoring goals,” he said in August.
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“At the same time, be organized defensively and be strong and show resilience and there is a lot of character there.
“Brandon [Williams] especially Ethan [Laird] they also like to defend, but they also like to attack. If you can make those two fly up and down, it’s a sight to behold. It’s interesting and we create chances.
“It was good to follow them, but demanding for them and we ask them that.”
Playing for the right-back, he played a key role in both United goals in the U23 derby with City at the weekend, recording an assist for the second.
In a window that promises to be more complicated for every major club in Europe, Solskjaer could have another star ready to lead Wan-Bissaka forward.
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