Why Harvey Barnes would be a stunning signing for Manchester United

According to The Sun, Manchester United are keeping close tabs on Leicester City winger Harvey Barnes as a potential alternative for Jadon Sancho. 

Sancho had been linked with a move to Old Trafford throughout the summer but negotiations with Borussia Dortmund eventually failed to reach a positive end after United’s chiefs refused to meet the German club’s valuation in excess of £100million. (h/t The Sun)

The Red Devils, though, are still on the lookout for new wide options and Barnes has emerged as a target ahead of the January window. However, the 22-year-old isn’t going to come cheap in the market, with Leicester valuing their talented academy graduate at £60million. (h/t The Sun

Profile

Born in Burnley, Harvey Barnes joined Leicester City’s youth system back in 2007 and signed his first professional contract in 2016 after featuring for the club’s U-18 and U-23 sides. He made his senior debut for the Foxes in the 2016-17 Champions League, coming off the bench as a second-half substitute in a 5-0 defeat to Porto.

Barnes spent time on loan at MK Dons in League One as well as West Brom and Barnsley in the EFL Championship to further his development with regular game time.

He was recalled by Leicester from his loan spell at West Brom in January 2019 and went on to establish himself as a regular starter for the club during the second half of the 2018-19 campaign.

Harvey Barnes

The Foxes graduate has gone from strength to strength following the appointment of Brendan Rodgers at the helm. Barnes bagged 7 goals and 9 assists in 42 appearances across all competitions in 2019-20 and has enjoyed an impressive start to the ongoing campaign, scoring 5 times from 15 outings so far.

Having represented England across various age-group levels earlier in his career, Barnes recently made his senior international debut for the Three Lions in a 3-0 win over Wales. 

Barnes would offer United more variety in attack

It doesn’t really take a rocket scientist to explain Man United’s pursuit of a new winger heading into the winter market. The Red Devils’ tally of 16 goals in 9 league fixtures so far make for some impressive readings on paper but the lack of goal contributions from the wide attackers remains a major cause of concern for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. 

Anthony Martial has suffered a drastic downturn in form after plundering 23 goals in all competitions last term, with the Frenchman scoring only twice in 10 appearances this season so far.

Mason Greenwood too has been far from his sparkling best in the ongoing campaign following a spectacular breakthrough season last time around that saw the teenager bag 17 goals.

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Leicester’s English midfielder Harvey Barnes celebrates after scoring a goal during the UEFA Europa League group G football match between Sporting Braga and Leicester City at the Braga municipal stadium in Braga on November 26, 2020. (Getty Images)

Meanwhile, Daniel James has failed to deliver on his potential after a promising start to his career at Old Trafford last season. Juan Mata has enjoyed more game time this term but the veteran is yet to find the net in the Premier League or Champions League so far. 

Putting things into context, Man United need more consistency from their other attackers to support the likes of Rashford, Cavani and Fernandes in the final third. A move for Harvey Barnes, to that end, would make sense. The Leicester graduate has shown significant improvement over the past 12 months, carving out a reputation for himself as one of the most exciting young wide attackers in the Premier League.

It is a no-brainer that the inclusion of Barnes would add that much-needed X-Factor and cutting-edge to United’s attacking playing in the final third. Noted for his searing pace and high work rate, the 22-year-old’s ability to score as well as create goals for his teammates should offer Solskjaer more depth and quality in his options up top. 

leicester city v fulham premier league scaled
LEICESTER, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 30: Ola Aina of Fulham and Bobby Reid of Fulham look on as Harvey Barnes of Leicester City controls the ball during the Premier League match between Leicester City and Fulham at The King Power Stadium on November 30, 2020, in Leicester, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Apart from that, Barnes’ versatility to operate in multiple positions across the forward line should make him a valuable asset to the Red Devils. 

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Verdict

Harvey Barnes might not be playing at the same level as Jadon Sancho but his talent and potential have been there for everyone to see. The 22-year-old still has his best years ahead of him and he certainly looks like a player who could thrive at a club of Man United’s stature. Having said that, the Red Devils shouldn’t hesitate to splash the cash on the Leicester attacker in January or next summer.

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