Ashley Young will flourish at Manchester United - Lawrenson

By Mark LawrensonBBC Sport football expert
Ashley Young
Young has arguably been England's best player in recent games

Manchester United's signing of Ashley Young is the perfect deal for both the club and the player.

We've all been waiting for Young to kick on and become the really outstanding player we think he can be and Manchester United is just ideal for him, he couldn't have a better stage.

He is playing for a manager in Sir Alex Ferguson who loves wide players and who loves to throw people forward, so he should be right at home.

Young had a great record of assists at Aston Villa and you can be sure he will have more, and score more goals, at United because he will have so much more of the ball.

United will be delighted with the business they have done to get Young. I think the fee of about £17m represents an absolute bargain, governed of course by the fact that his contract was running down and he was not going to stay at Villa Park.

Liverpool were obviously very interested and will be disappointed to miss out and I am surprised Chelsea were not more heavily involved because there is a real dearth of the sort of attackers who provide the sort of potent options Young offers. They are rarely available, especially at the price United have paid.

It is a great move for United because it allows Ferguson to put another Englishman in the dressing room after signing Phil Jones from Blackburn, and Young is a player who knows the Premier League, knows what it is all about and will have no worries about settling in to his new environment.

He will also give some real hurry-up to people like Nani and Antonio Valencia. They might just be wondering 'what have I done wrong?' and come back really flying and fired up for pre-season to prove to Ferguson that they should be in the starting line-up.

Ferguson has got some absolutely outstanding players in that squad now and the addition of Young means he can almost field two separate teams once he has completed a deal for a new goalkeeper after Edwin van der Sar's retirement.

Javier Hernandez (left) and Wayne Rooney
Young will improve by playing with strikers like Hernandez and Rooney

Young can play on both the left and right side and also off the centre forward and in England's last few games, when Fabio Capello has played him, you could arguably say he has been their best player.

Now he is at a club where he doesn't have to be the best player every week and it is a simple fact that if you are playing with a top team and top players you must improve.

If United can get an extra 20% out of Ashley Young they will have a top, top player and they will have done it at a very reasonable price in today's market place. He appears to represent real value for money.

Everyone has recognised for a long time that Young was a good player but everyone also said he would have to leave Aston Villa to become a better one. He is not yet at his peak, has the time and the platform to improve and his arrival will make United some proposition in attack.

Ferguson already has Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez, as well as Nani and Valencia, throw Young in and teams will not know who to pick up.

As I said, he will be playing for a manager who understands what makes this type of player tick and will play in a style that will allow him to flourish. It is also another clear sign that Ferguson is really serious about adding strength to his Old Trafford squad after winning that record 19th title but losing to Barcelona in the Champions League final.

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