Ryan Giggs believes Liverpool’s style of play may have influenced Manchester United’s decision to sign Alex Telles.
Telles made his debut for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side in Tuesday’s Champions League win over Paris-Saint Germain, showcasing his attacking talents in a left wing-back role.
The 27-year-old Brazilian was snapped up on transfer deadline day after scoring 26 goals and posting 57 assists for Porto during his four years with the Portuguese club.
And United legend Giggs reckons his former club have been inspired by Liverpool’s use of full-backs, with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson playing a crucial role in the Reds’ attack.
Alexander-Arnold has recorded 36 assists in 140 games for Liverpool, while Robertson is not far behind on 32 from 134 matches.
Speaking after the Red Devils’ 2-1 win over PSG, Giggs said Telles would bring a similar quality to Jurgen Klopp’s assist kings.
“Telles, I think that’s something we’ve been missing,” the former wideman said on the Webby & O’Neill YouTube channel .
“You look at Liverpool, Trent and Robertson – the goals that they provide.
“Now, full-backs have to have that in their armour. If the wingers are coming in, the full-backs have to create the width and make goals.”
There is a worry over Telles, as ex-United midfielder Owen Hargreaves reckons he is “not great” defensively – a distinct disadvantage for a left-back.
The Red Devils played with a back three on Tuesday, with 22-year-old Axel Tuanzebe hugely impressive as he lined up alongside Victor Lindelof and Luke Shaw.
That meant Telles could be deployed in a more advanced wing-back position – and Hargreaves reckons Solskjaer has hit upon a formation which makes best use of his side’s strengths.
Describing Telles, Hargreaves told BT Sport : “He is a good player, a great attacking player.
“He gets assists, works up and down – he’s probably more suited to playing as a wing-back because defensively he’s not great.
“In terms of assists, his numbers are off the charts. He’s great on set pieces, he’s a good addition to United, a modern full-back.”
And while it appeared that Telles had been brought in to provide competition for Shaw, the Brazilian’s arrival might even benefit his new team-mate.
Hargreaves explains: “When Luke Shaw was at his best last season it was when he played left on a back three, which might suit all parties.”
United return to Premier League action at home to Chelsea on Saturday. With Eric Bailly definitely out and Harry Maguire facing a race to be fit, it will be interesting to see whether Solskjaer sticks with the same defensive set-up.
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