Former Manchester United striker Andy Cole says the club must be careful not to hinder Mason Greenwood’s development if they sign a forward, amid talks with Jadon Sancho.
Greenwood was a revelation last season after boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer put his faith in the teenager by selling Romelu Lukaku and loaning Alexis Sanchez to Inter Milan last summer.
The 18-year-old has scored 17 goals in all competitions for the first team, becoming a pivotal part of United’s attack alongside Anthony Martial and fellow academy product Marcus Rashford.
However, following United’s exit from the Europa League there have been reports that Solskjaer is in the market for another forward.
Against Copenhagen and Sevilla, the Red Devils had 46 shots, 21 of which were on target, but scored just twice – both from the penalty spot. Meanwhile, the speculation regarding a move for Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho has been constant all summer.
Now, Cole says he is concerned that a big summer signing could block Greenwood’s progress.
“Mason is scary, absolutely scary,” Cole told the PA news agency. “If this kid lives up to his potential, United have one on their hands.
“It’s scary and long may it continue. He needs to keep doing what he’s doing, scoring goals and putting pressure on those up front, and as he matures and learns the game even more United have a player who could be anything.
“He can play as a nine and he can play out wide of a three, so it will be interesting to see where United think his best position is and what they see him as.
“For me, the best number nine in the world is Robert Lewandowski. But there aren’t many, if any, Lewandowskis about. And if they do bring in Sancho then you’ve got to be careful as you don’t want to block his (Greenwood’s) progress.
“United do need to bring in players as you must improve every season but it’s a fine balance. If you have a player like Mason Greenwood then you can’t afford to block their progress.”
‘MAN UTD BELIEVING THEIR HYPE’
Meanwhile, Liverpool legend John Barnes says United’s key issue is their players believing the hype that surrounds them.
United reached three semi-finals this season but lost out each time, with their Europa League exit to Sevilla completing the hat-trick of near misses.
Barnes says Solskjaer’s men need to apply more focus if they are to reach the finish line and clinch silverware.