On Friday, Sky Sports reported that Manchester United made a formal approach to begin talks with Fulham’s Ryan Sessegnon about a possible summer transfer.
Although Tottenham Hotspur have been heavily linked with the teenage left winger, the report claims that United are the first club to approach the Whites.
Although Sessegnon, who turns 19 today, is an excellent English youth prospect, United would be foolish to sign him this summer as the Fulham man is not ready for Premier League football.
He burst onto the scene as a 16-year-old at Craven Cottage, starting as an adventurous left-back before being turned into an out-and-out left winger.
In the Championship, the Englishman stood out for his exceptional footballing intelligence and awareness in the penalty box. Sessegnon always seemed to be in the right place at the right time, popping up for many a poacher’s finish en route to picking up the Championship Player of the Year award in 2017/18.
But with promotion came a massive step up and one that Sessegnon failed to make. His statistics this year are not terrible — two goals and six assists — but he was unable to live up to expectations that were ultimately unreasonably high.
Few players his age can immediately adapt to the rigours of the top flight. A constant feature of his season was anonymous performances, with the winger stuck on the peripheries of games, too timid and short of confidence to make a difference.
Of course, Sessegnon is still developing as a player and can blossom into a world-class left-sided footballer. But United’s gamble on the teenager would be misguided, as a move to Old Trafford would drastically limit his playing time, heap loads of pressure on the youngster, and stunt his development at a crucial stage.
Despite the hype surrounding Sessegnon, United should decide against splashing the cash on the Fulham man and wait until he is a more polished product that is ready for the Premier League.