“He has the rare ability to affect the game every time he plays” – Man Utd were very close to signing £40million exciting winger last summer

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Watford’s former technical director Filippo Giraldi has revealed that Manchester United were very close to signing Ismaila Sarr last summer.

Manchester United turned attention to the winger after realising a deal for Jadon Sancho wasn’t going to materialise.

Watford reportedly demanded £40million for the winger but United were unwilling to match Watford’s asking price.

When quizzed on United’s interest in Sarr, Giraldi said on 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.

“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.

“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.

“This type of player are players you have to try to maximise and protect them as much as you can.”

The 23-year-old winger grabbed five goals and six assists last season in the Premier League with Watford and has nine goals and as many assists in 33 Championship games with Watford this season.