Should Manchester United Actually Pursue Emil Forsberg

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Last Friday, Jose Mourinho was in Sweden, watching their national team host Italy in the first leg of the European play-off for the World Cup in Russia. Sweden won 1-0 on the night, creating an advantage before the return leg in Milan.

However, with Jose Mourinho being pictured in the stands watching the game, everyone started talking about whom he was watching. Was it Victor Lindelof of Sweden, looking at the progress he has been making? Or was it Matteo Darmian in an awkward left wing-back position being looked at?

The media did not let that end there. Many of them reported it was Emil Forsberg the Manchester United manager was watching. The attacking midfielder of Sweden and RB Leipzig did play that night, so could have it really been him?

We do not care about that part. We care about the part whether Emil Forsberg could be a Manchester United player on the evidence of his previous displays.

How Good Is Emil Forsberg?

His last season at RB Leipzig was, simply put, extraordinary! He was immense throughout the campaign in which Leipzig finished in second, just behind Bayern Munich. Just how good he was?

He played around 2350 minutes in Bundesliga, which is just roughly over 26 full 90-minute matches. During those 26 matches of effective time on the pitch, Forsberg made 21 assists. Yes, you have read that right. Twenty one assists. If you know, that he was also creating 3.6 key passes per 90 minutes (passes that ended up as shots towards the goal), you get a sense of how creative this guy is.

His technical part of the game was astonishing. He is good at seeing things ahead of others, making things happen for his team-mates. But, that is not even near all he does. Forsberg also scored seven goals, a decent turn-out when you add it those 21 assists, and when you know he is an attacking midfielder. He was also making 2.72 successful dribbles per 90 minutes, showing just how good he is at getting past opponents.

Manchester United should buy him, shouldn’t they?

Is He Worth It?

This is where things are getting tricky. First of all, Forsberg is not even close as good as he was last season. He had only two goals and two assists to his name in almost 950 minutes of the 2017-18. His shooting has been appalling with only 17.2 per cent of his shots going on target.

He has not been creating as much as last season and he is being dispossessed 3.26 times per 90 minutes. That is a seriously high number, which would put him among some of the worst players in that category. Of course, the season is still young and Forsberg could go back to his ways of last season.

However, this is Bundesliga we are talking about. Yes, it is a great league, but it is not Premier League. The football is more gung-ho than in England, as almost every team is more eager to play end-to-end matches rather than sit deep for 90 minutes. That is why his numbers can be so great sometimes – more space for him to exploit when creating chances and more space for him to get past opposing players.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan arrived from Bundesliga last summer and is still finding his feet. He has been on and off recently and it will take him time to reach his full potential. Should Forsberg really be Manchester United’s big solution?

In a word – no. He is not someone who will instantly make a big difference in this team and that is what Man United need. Would he improve the squad in general? Yes, he is better than some United’s midfielders. However, with Leipzig wanting a huge amount of money for him, the Reds should not waste too much time on him in January transfer window.

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