Eduardo Salvio is the latest of an avalanche of names who have been linked with Manchester United since the transfer window slammed shut. According to reports in the Portuguese newspaper A Bola, a host of clubs, including United, are monitoring the Benfica winger.
If United want the winger however, they appear to have fallen behind in the race for his signature as it is understood that AC Milan are favourites to sign Salvio.
Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham have all held a previous interest in Salvio but have been put off by Benfica’s asking price of £34 million. This price tag seemingly hasn’t turned away United.
Salvio can play on the left or behind the striker, however the position you will see him play at his best is right wing. I suppose you could say he is something of a rarity, as his pace, quick feet and the ability to beat a man makes him what some would call on “old fashioned” winger.
He is the kind of player who will hug the touchline and can really stretch teams. But he does have other aspects of his game. He often makes intelligent and decisive runs into the box both on and off the ball which makes it difficult for defenders to mark the tricky winger.
Salvio has chipped in with two goals already this season; however some have been critical of his ability to provide a final ball. Considering his ability to beat a man, you would expect him to have laid on more assists for his teammates. At 24 though, he is still relatively young and will be confident improve those stats.
Salvio has undoubted ability, but it is interesting to see just how he would fit into Louis van Gaal’s team. The Dutchman’s preferred formation is 3-5-2. If he made the move you would expect Salvio to play in his favoured position of right wing.
However, playing as a winger in a 3-5-2 formation would require Salvio to track back and do a lot of defensive work. Salvio does have the energy to bomb up and down the right flank and the right attitude to do the defensive work.
However, the Argentine is very attacking minded and always eager to press forward. So while he may be happy to track back, it is questionable how switched on he would be defensively.
You could argue the same about Di Maria and that didn’t seem to bother van Gaal. Di Maria has been playing in a more central role however but that might have something to do with the injuries that have hit United early this season.
While he is a quality player, I believe the chances on United spending big again on a player who may not fulfil all that is asked from him is unlikely. Instead, I would expect money to be spent on central defenders, central midfielders or a more defence minded winger/wing back.
I wouldn’t rule out United making a move for a winger but it is far more likely to be a more defence minded winger/wing back. I would be surprised if the man they decide to bring in is Eduardo Salvio.