Man United had a mare on Joao Cancelo

Manchester United are currently enjoying an improved run of form under new boss Erik ten Hag with five wins from their last six games in all competitions, although one issue that remains is that of right-back, with the Dutchman lacking real quality in that department.

While Diogo Dalot has been much improved so far this term – with two assists already to his name – the jury is still out on whether he can be a long-term fit in that role, while teammate Aaron Wan-Bissaka has looked surplus to requirements of late having been tipped for an exit over the summer.

A move for a new recruit had been mooted in the recent window although no such deal came to fruition, with the Red Devils potentially having to make do with what they have got until January, at least.

The former Ajax boss could well have had a perfect fit at full-back had the Old Trafford outfit not fluffed the chance to land a certain Joao Cancelo in the past, with the Portugal international having since left the United hierarchy to rue their decision not to pursue a deal.

According to club legend Gary Neville, the Englishman had suggested the defender to his former club having worked with him during his brief managerial stint at Valencia back in 2016, dubbing the 6 foot menace an “exceptional talent.”

As it proved, those at the Theatre of Dreams – likely former chief executive Ed Woodward – failed to act on that recommendation, with the Premier League side left with Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young as makeshift fits at right-back for a number of seasons.

Reports in 2018 then suggested that the club were ‘considering’ a £30m offer to sign the 36-cap gem from the La Liga outfit, with the player having impressed during a season-long loan stint at Inter Milan.

Did Man United make a mistake on Cancelo?





As it proved, that interest was never made concrete as Cancelo was subsequently snapped up by rivals Manchester City on a £60m deal a year later, going on to thrive under the tutelage of Pep Guardiola, while United forked out a hefty £50m to land the aforementioned Wan-Bissaka that same summer.

After a slow start to life at the Etihad – where he made just 13 top-flight starts in his debut campaign – the “underrated” ace, as dubbed by pundit Nigel de Jong, has since become a vital figure for the Cityzens, showcasing his talent to feature on either side of the defence.

A seemingly unique, creative asset from his defensive berth, the £58.5m-rated man notably recorded three goals and an impressive ten assists in all competitions last term, while has also begun the new campaign in fine fashion with one goal and three assists to date.

The £80k-per-week genius only recently showcased his undoubted quality in City’s Champions League triumph over Borussia Dortmund, teeing up summer signing Erling Haaland with an outrageous outside of the boot cross.

Such a talent would well have thrived in Ten Hag’s progressive, Guardiola-influenced style, with the 52-year-old likely cursing the now-departed Woodward for not getting a deal done all those years ago.