Manchester United were “extremely close” to completing the signing of winger Ismaila Sarr from Watford during last summer’s transfer window, the Hornets’ former technical director Filippo Giraldi has claimed.
The Old Trafford club were heavily linked with a move for Sarr last summer, although now deal would materialise in the end, with the winger going on to play in important role in Watford’s push for promotion from the Championship so far this season.
Now however, it seems as though United were not far away at all, from completing a deal for the services of the 23-year-old.
Discussing the situation surrounding that interest in Sarr from Old Trafford last summer, Giraldi told the Here We Go podcast: “We were extremely close, I was personally negotiating with them.
“We weren’t able to reach an agreement. And I think Ismaila is very young, he will arrive for sure.”
Despite missing out on that switch to Old Trafford last summer, it seems Giraldi is still expecting big things from Sarr in the years to come, as he went on to add: “He missed probably an opportunity, but I think also for his football to stay here and get 10 goals and 10 assists, he’s deciding the league.
“I think for Watford in the condition they are at the moment it’s luck he stayed. I love Ismaila because he has the ability to affect the game every time he plays, and that’s quite rare.
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“You see fast wingers becoming more and more important in physical leagues like the Premier League. I remember last year against Manchester United and Liverpool, he was the one with Gerard Deulofeu on the other side affecting the game and deciding the game every time.”
So far this season, Sarr has scored nine goals and provided four assists in 33 league appearances for Watford, helping them to second in the Championship table, six points clear of the play-off places.
It is certainly interesting to consider what might have been for Sarr and United had he made that move.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have certainly shown plenty of progress this season, but have just fallen short when it has come to the overall battle for trophies this season.
As a result, you do wonder whether the pace and incisiveness of Sarr might have changed things for them, with the extra attacking outlet he would have offered them.
The fact that did not happen however, will obviously be a source of relief for those associated with Watford, given the hugely positive impact it has had on their own push for promotion to the Premier League during the current campaign.