Latest Football News From Manchester: We ‘signed’ Benjamin Sesko for Manchester United and Ten Hag’s side improved

United have already dipped their toes into the transfer market this season with Ten Hag making two familiar Eredivisie signings in the forms of 45m centre-back Lisandro Martinez from Ajax and 13.5m left-back Tyrell Malacia from Feyenoord. The Reds have also signed Danish international Christian Eriksen on a free.

eko, who currently plays for Austrian club RB Salzburg, has already been compared to new Manchester City striker Erling Haaland by fans and teammates alike and has already made 13 appearances for Slovenia's national side, scoring twice. United are reportedly interested in the youngster, but Salzburg have put up a hefty wall in the form of a 55m price tag on their prized striker.

If United were to fulfil Salzburg's wish and pay the price needed to acquire Sesko's talents for themselves, how could he adjust to the Premier League? We simulated the 2022/23 season to find out.

To start, we used the in-game editor for Football Manager 2022 to allow the transfer of Sesko to United to actually happen at the start of the 2022 summer transfer window. We also updated United with the latest squad to keep things as realistic as possible.

Looking at his in-game attributes, the 19-year-old is an incredibly well-rounded player for his age – he has solid Finishing and Composure and his Off Ball movement is superb. His Physical attributes also stand out with his Acceleration, Pace and Balance allowing him to get past defenders easier. Finally, the combination of his Jumping Reach and Heading gives him another way to score goals easily as a United striker.

The striker netted nine goals and grabbed two assists in his debut season in 33 appearances in all competitions. His average rating of 6.95 marks him out as the third-best attacker at the club that season, behind Cristiano Ronaldo (7.25) and Marcus Rashford (7.21) and ahead of Anthony Martial (6.91), who also played more of a rotational role.

His three goals in the Europa League helped United make a deep run in the competition, with two of the three coming in their 4-0 aggregate win over Bayer Leverkusen in the Round of 16. Sesko scored in every competition, netting four of his nine in the Premier League.

At the end of the season, FM22 put out the Best XI for the United squad, pulling out player statistics, league data and other metrics to come to a conclusion.

Full United Best XI (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Dalot, Varane, Maguire, Shaw; Fred, Van de Beek; Rashford, Fernandes, Sancho; Ronaldo.

Sesko didn't make the Best XI as he was only a rotational player under Ten Hag, starting 13 games and making 21 substitute appearances for United. Ronaldo led the line with Rashford and Jadon Sancho on the flanks, Fred and Donny van de Beek occupied the midfield pivot, and neither Martinez nor Malacia made the best XI with Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw keeping their places

United's league campaign went much better than it had in the previous season – a third place finish guaranteed Champions League football for next year and a much-improved points tally of 83 as opposed to 58 in the 2021/22 season. United won 11 more games and scored nine more goals whilst conceding 22 fewer, really highlighting some of the defensive signings Ten Hag made.

Their domestic cup success wasn't as great, however. United exited the Carabao Cup in the fourth round after a 2-1 defeat to Aston Villa, and after a 2-2 draw in 120 minutes, Ten Hag's side were eliminated by Everton in the FA Cup quarter-finals on penalties.

United's continental campaign went a lot better though – after topping their Europa League Group E ahead of Napoli, Marseille and Galatasaray, they faced Bayer Leverkusen in the Round of 16. A 4-0 aggregate win sent them into the quarter-final to face Benfica where a Raphal Varane header sent them through after a 3-2 win.

Two Ronaldo goals against VFL Wolfsburg in the semi-final meant a 2-1 win and a place against FC Porto in the final. Unfortunately, United couldn't continue their good run in the competition and fell one game short of a trophy, losing 2-0 in the final to the Portuguese champions.

Overall, for a debut season, Sesko was certainly impressive for Ten Hag and proved to be a strong backup option for the likes of Ronaldo and Martial. It'd be unrealistic to expect much more from a 19-year-old adjusting to life in both England and the Premier League, and his nine goals definitely contributed to United's season.

Is Sesko worth the 55m price tag? Let us know in the comments below!

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