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Man Utd chief Ed Woodward missed an opportunity in the transfer market he may now regret

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In March 2018, Wissam Ben Yedder dumped Jose Mourinho’s side out of the Champions League at Old Trafford in the last 16, with two quick fire goals in the space of five minutes.

Earlier this summer, Spanish reports claimed that United had made contact with his entourage about the prospect of the deal. It turns out he was just another name to add to the staggering collection of players being lazily linked with the club.

From the outset of the speculation it was clear that he would not be the main man after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made Marcus Rashford his first choice forward.

After the sale of Romelu Lukaku to Inter Milan on deadline day, United were rolling the dice. Nobody can question their decision to sell the Belgian given his commitment to an exit, but failing to replace him was a major gamble.

While Mason Greenwood made a real impression in pre-season, it remains to be seen if he is ready to step up and be thrown in at the deep end as a starter. With Europa League commitments, he will get his fair share of minutes between now and May.

Manchester United looked at other options, Moussa Dembele being one. Negotiations for Paulo Dybala and Mario Mandzukic also broke down before the hierarchy decided to make do with what they have at their disposal until at least January.

They decided to pass by the opportunity of triggering Ben Yedder’s £37million release clause, which has since been activated by Monaco as the striker makes his return to Ligue 1.

Yet this could have been the perfect fit for United, a match made in heaven.

Ben Yedder is a fox in the box with predatory instincts that have seen him smash 70 goals in 138 appearances in Andalusia.

He can snuff out where the ball is going to drop, knows where to curve his runs, where to be at the right time. As Eric Bailly and Chris Smalling know, he is a nightmare to play against. A real pest.

If we’re being strictly honest, Manchester United are likely to have been put off by his age, they may have seen it as a gamble to invest a sizeable fee for somebody who has just turned 29.

But pound-for-pound, in a team who love to create chances and attack in numbers, Ben Yedder is one of the prolific, natural goal-scorers on the continent.

The former Toulouse man was believed to be holding out for a move to Old Trafford, hinting last month that he was waiting for the opportunity to crop up.

“I want to see how far I can go and it is the right time [to leave], as they say.

“I cannot be disrespectful to the club, whatever the final decision, I'll be fine, I'm not worried about my future.”

Solskjaer has handed Anthony Martial the No 9 shirt again, which is an indication of his intentions to move him back through the middle.

But if Rashford picks up an injury, it leaves them unnecessarily short of options in attack.

Alexis Sanchez could still leave the club too, with Roma reportedly keen on a loan if United are willing to pay some of his wages.

If United qualify for the Champions League this season, it will be seen as a success. That outcome or winning trophies, is the only way we’ll be able to say they were right to let Ben Yedder join Monaco. He could of made a big difference.

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