Wanted in 2019, now a“joy” to watch: Man Utd blundered on “elegant” Benzema-esque dynamo

February 18, 2023

A key feature of Manchester United‘s recent resurgence under Erik ten Hag has been the club’s impressive recruitment of late, with the likes of Christian Eriksen, Lisandro Martinez and Casemiro in particular having all made an impact this season.

Such astute business has not always been the norm for the Red Devils in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era, though, with the club having routinely splashed the cash erratically in the recent past, as well as passing up potential opportunities to sign exciting talents.

One name which may well fall into the latter category is Lyon sensation Rayan Cherki, with the teenage starlet having gone on to blossom in recent times after previous links with the Old Trafford outfit.

Were Man United ever close to signing Cherki?

The promising Frenchman has routinely been tipped for a move to Manchester over the years, with The Telegraph’s Sam Wallace reporting back in 2019 that the Premier League side – along with La Liga giants Real Madrid – had been considering a move for the youngster.

The 5 foot 9 dynamo subsequently went on to sign his first professional contract with the Ligue 1 outfit later that year at the age of just 15, with Lyon chief Jean-Michel Aulas having since confirmed that both United and Madrid had been keen to secure Cherki’s signature.

That interest in the playmaker has clearly not gone away, with reports last summer having suggested that Ten Hag and co were again keeping tabs on his situation. The teenager only had a year to run on his deal the time, although he has since signed a 12-month extension.

How is Cherki performing for Lyon?

Since that uncertainty just over six months ago, the £39k-per-week wizard has gone on to truly blossom for Lyon so far this season, having scored four goals and provided four assists in 24 games in all competitions so far this season.

Still only 19, the precocious dynamo was particularly impressive in his club’s recent league outing at home to RC Lens, notably producing a stunning finish from an acute angle to fire his side to victory.