Although the focus this summer has been on bringing players in to Manchester United, the club made a significant sale this week when Anthony Elanga joined Nottingham Forest for £15m. The Swede has signed a five-year deal at the City Ground and it has left Erik Ten Hag with one less attacking player to count on next season.
So far, United have brought in Mason Mount from Chelsea and also Andre Onana from Inter Milan. The focus now is on securing Rasmus Hojlund from Atalanta and perhaps also Sofyan Amrabat from Fiorentina. If those two players come in then Ten Hag will have four new additions in total, however, none of them would be like-for-like replacements for Elanga.
The reason for selling Elanga is that United needed to bring money in to be able to purchase their targets. Due to their debt repayments, and financial fair play implications, selling has been imperative and Elanga was the first on the chopping block. With Elanga gone, however, and no incoming wingers on the horizon, Ten Hag will be banking on other academy prospects to take his place in the United first-team squad next term.
With the new season fast approaching, let's take a look at the top contenders to replace Anthony Elanga in the first-team picture at Old Trafford.
Who will replace Elanga at Man Utd – Three options
On the face of it, the most likely player to take up Elanga's position in the Manchester United squad is Amad Diallo. The Ivory Coast winger signed for the club two years ago from Atalanta in Seria A when he was just 18 years old and made a handful of first-team appearances under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. He even popped up with a goal against AC Milan in the Europa League the season United made it all the way to the final.
Last season, Diallo was sent on loan to Sunderland in the Championship to get more accustomed to British football and he excelled with the Black Cats. He quickly established himself as one of the club's best players and he transformed them into legitimate promotion candidates. Like Elanga, Amad is a pacey winger who can operate on both wings so would be the ideal replacement for the Swede.
Good news for Man United and Amad Diallo as his injury is not serious ⚠️
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) July 23, 2023
Another player who could fill Elanga's boots is Facundo Pellistri. Like Amad, Pellistri joined the club in January 2021 and has also enjoyed a loan spell away from the club. Last season, Pellistri stayed with Manchester United but found opportunities few and far between which has sparked speculation that he could be on the move this summer.
However, with Elanga now out of the door, Pellistri may feel that he is a step closer to first-team football at Old Trafford. The Uruguayan, who already starts for his national team, did impress in the minutes he did get last season and could be a handy option off the bench for Ten Hag given his blistering pace.
A new signing
If Ten Hag decides to loan out Amad once again and feels that Pellistri isn't up to the job, then he could dip into the market for a new winger. Given he has Alejandro Garnacho, Antony, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford at his disposal he doesn't need another world star but rather someone who will be happy to play a bit-part role at Old Trafford.
Last season, the club utilised the loan window to bring in Wout Weghorst to play a similar role as a central striker and they may feel something similar is the right course of action this summer to replace Elanga. There is also the possibility that Mason Greenwood returns to Manchester United this season, although the club are yet to make a final decision on his future.