When Alex Telles was signed by FC Porto on the deadline day of the summer window, many thought it might have meant the end of Luke Shaw’s Manchester Shah career.
Although never disappointed in United Shirt, it is fair to argue that he did not fulfill the high reputation he built with Southampton.
Just one year after his relocation from the south coast, the England international suffered a terrible leg injury that saw him miss 11 months.
Since then, he has been a regular customer under several managers, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer approving a move for Telles seemed like that could become a thing of the past.
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However, after his performance in the Manchester derby, it is clear to see that Telles ’arrival has inspired the 25-year-old to achieve a new performance.
Solskjaer will desperately see this replicated on the other side of his defense, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka enduring the first break of his career at Old Trafford.
Never known for his attacking product, the £ 50 million signing has always been solid defensively, even with the struggles of many of his colleagues.
But in the defeat against RB Leipzig, defensive clearances led to goals, with Angelino enjoying several chances against the former Crystal Palace star.
With that in mind, United were linked with a January move for a right-back with a serious lack of options behind Solskjaer’s first pick.
Kieran Trippier and Lucas Vasquez were both highlighted as possible targets, with the former reportedly keen to play for his children’s club.
Diego Simeone may have something to say about that, however having played the former Tottenham man in every game of the season so far.
And with Solskjaer suggesting the January window might be quiet, he may need a more creative solution to his Wan-Bissaka puzzle.
Solskjaer has already shown he has no problems promoting youth and U23 club boss Neil Wood has expressed his support for exciting youngster Ethan Laird.
The 19-year-old was named by Solskjaer in his first press conference as interim boss in 2018, when he listed the talented players in the club’s development system.
He was true to his word, offering Laird regular first-team opportunities, including in his debut against Astana in the Europa League.
After that game, the United boss suggested Laird did himself a “good favor,” but injury limited his development with Brandon Williams instead in the picture above.
But with those problems behind him, Laird shows such attacking talent that has become so synonymous with United’s full backs over the years.
Speaking earlier this year, Wood highlighted the kind of qualities Laird could bring to Solskjaer’s first team.
“I wanted to see such traits of Manchester United – a really good possession with a quick attack, creating chances and scoring goals,” he said in August.
How many signatures does Man Utd need in January? Say it here.
“At the same time being defensively organized and strong and showing resilience and there’s a lot of character there.
“Brandon [Williams] especially and Ethan [Laird] they also like to defend but love to attack as well. If you can fly those two up and down, it’s a little noticeable to look at them. It’s exciting and we’ve created opportunities.
“It was good to watch but demanding for them and we demand that from them.”
Playing at right back, he played a key role in both United goals in the U23 derby with City at the weekend, recording an assist for the second.
In a window that promises to be harder for every major club in Europe, Solskjaer could have another star ready to push Wan-Bissaka.
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