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Manchester United head coach Erik ten Hag may well be ruing the club’s failure to sign Kieran Trippier after the Newcastle star was hailed by one of their former players. Trippier has been in superb form for his club this season, prompting a painful reminder for United fans of what could have been after the England international came close to making the switch to Old Trafford, with comparisons to crossing masters David Beckham and Leighton Baines.
Trippier has proved to be a bargain signing for Eddie Howe’s side after arriving for £12million from Atletico Madrid in January 2022. At the time, the Red Devils were keen on snapping up the versatile defender for a cut-price fee, but a move failed to materialise under interim boss Ralf Rangnick.
That has proved to be an error in judgement, as the 33-year-old has already supplied seven assists in 11 appearances this season for the Magpies, who are challenging for a top-four place again after qualifying for the Champions League last term. And Former United striker Louis Saha believes his old club missed a trick in declining the opportunity to sign Trippier.
“On current form, Kieran Trippier is the best right back in the league; there’s no one quite like him,” Saha said, speaking to Paddy Power. “He’s very committed and he leads this team. I like his style of play, and he learned a lot when he went to Spain.”
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READ MORE Newcastle star Kieran Trippier admits he nearly joined Man Utd before[INSIGHT]
Saha went as far as comparing Trippier’s crossing ability to United icon David Beckham, while the Frenchman also explained why he has some similarities with Everton stalwart Leighton Baines: “He always plays with a smile on his face, but a lot of sweat on his forehead because he works so hard for the team,” he added.
“His crossing is like David Beckham; he’s a dream for any attacking player. He reminds me a bit of Leighton Baines sometimes as he’s so accurate with his crossing. I love his style and how balanced he is. He’s so reliable and he’s exactly what Newcastle need in the squad. He’s experienced but he feels very young.”
Ten Hag has chosen to alternate between Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Diogo Dalot this season, but the 53-year-old appears to be unconvinced by either player with reports linking him with a swoop for Bayer Leverkusen’s Jeremie Frimpong.
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But the reality is that if Trippier had moved to Old Trafford 22 months ago, it would have solved a problem for Ten Hag. Instead, the defender opted to head for the North East and never looked back.
When asked if United were interested in him, Trippier told The Mirror in July 2022: “Yes they were. There were a couple of clubs.
“Me and the manager [Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone] had a chat at the start of the season and agreed if an opportunity came up I might go.
“At the start of the season I had a couple of family problems. To be fair they didn’t want to come back. It didn’t happen, so I carried on. I am not one to throw my toys out of the pram when it didn’t happen.”
He also added: “I wanted to come back to the north. So there is [Manchester] City and Liverpool. As a player you have to be realistic as well. The Newcastle deal happened really quickly. The manager [Eddie Howe] took over, who I knew well and it was a good decision.”
Instead of doing damage in United colours, Trippier has been enjoying his football with Newcastle and has even won his place back under Gareth Southgate in the England team.
Ten Hag, meanwhile, still has a problem to fix in the right-back area, leaving him with a tinge of regret that Rangnick and the club did not act more decisively to bring him in when they had the chance.
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