Fulham full-back and winger Ryan Sessegnon has been linked with Manchester United, Tottenham and Juventus since the window opened – but what would the 19-year-old provide?
United are the only club to have contacted Fulham so far, after the youngster was pivotal in the Cottagers’ successful promotion last season under former boss Slavisa Jokanovic, but struggled to hit form in the top flight this term.
Sessegnon lost his starting place following a groin strain in late December during Claudio Ranieri’s brief stint at the helm, but reclaimed a regular berth when Scott Parker was appointed interim manager in February.
But with only one year remaining on his contract, the club could look to cash in and avoid potentially losing him for nothing next summer.
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Speaking after Fulham’s relegation was confirmed, Sessegnon told Sky Sports News: “I’m still a Fulham player, contracted until 2020… that’s all I can say at the moment.”
Sessegnon made his club debut at the age of just 16 years and 81 days, and has represented England at every level from the U16s to U21s – frequently being touted as a potential member of Gareth Southgate’s senior squad.
But what would he offer the big clubs circling for his signature?
The graphic below reveals how Sessegnon failed to maintain his form in the Premier League, hitting his peak between November and February during 2017/18 – topped with a winning hat-trick in a 5-4 thriller against Sheffield United.
The underlying numbers reveal a two-fold dip across numerous key stats since stepping up divisions. In addition, he scored only two goals in the top flight – compared with 16 in his previous campaign.
Sessegnon’s purple patch in front of goal resulted from starting as a winger – instead of full-back – but this versatility saw him play in every conceivable position down both flanks this season – primarily down his favoured left side.
The England U21 international certainly ticks all the boxes for the new mould of Manchester United target under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – racking up more minutes than any other teenager this season.
But comparing Sessegnon against current United players is difficult, due to the various positions he has played in, but he has created goals at the exact same as rate as Marcus Rashford this season.
It seems likely Sessegnon will leave Craven Cottage due to the club’s relegation and his expiring contract, with both factors culminating in a potentially good deal for a highly-sought English prospect.
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Indeed, his physical exertions could provide a dose of what United need, ranking among the Premier League’s elite in the running metrics this season – an area United ranked poorly, particularly under Jose Mourinho.
Man Utd, running stats, PL, 2018/19 Total PL rank Km covered 4,099 km 18th Sprints 4,041 11th
Sessegnon was the 15th fastest player in the top flight this campaign, hitting 34.91 km/h against Manchester City in September – faster than any other Manchester United player, while only Rashford averaged more sprints per game.
Ryan Sessegnon running stats, PL 2018/19 Total PL rank (min. 500 mins for per 90) Top speed 34.91 km/h 15th Sprints per 90 17.60 19th Km per 90 10.83 km 57th
But if interested parties miss out on Sessegnon, Football Whispers data provides a range of alternative players with skillsets strikingly similar to the Fulham star and all surpassed his overall performance this season.
Wolves forward Diogo Jota tops the pack, joined by a raft of familiar names, including Kingsley Coman, David Brooks, Sofiane Boufal, Goncalo Guedes, Nathan Redmond and Samu Castillejo.
Other, lesser-known youngsters of a similar ilk include Allan Saint-Maximin, Lucas Ocampos, Nicolò Zaniolo, Linton Maina, Gabriel Barbosa and Toni Villa.