The days of ‘rhythm is a dancer, Anthony Elanga’ being belted out from Manchester United away ends across the country feel like a distant memory of late, with the Swedish forward failing to make an impact under Erik ten Hag.
It’s been a rather swift fall away from the spotlight of the first-team for Elanga, who was admittedly thrust into it just as quickly when Ralf Rangnick took interim charge of United during the 2021-22 season and immediately earmarked him as one of his favourites.
Very much a diamond in the rough, Elanga was one of two beacons of hope in an endlessly miserable campaign. The only other beacon of hope for United fans? Knowing that the season would have to come to an end at some point.
But even in that truly dire campaign, Elanga shone. A brilliantly taken goal away to Atletico Madrid in the Champions League is testament to that.
Truthfully, though, he was never meant to be the top guy. Elanga’s come up wasn’t expected. And that hurts, because when he’s on it, the kid’s good.
Much like Kofi Kingston was only ever viewed as mid-card level in the WWE, Elanga wasn’t ever viewed as anything more than your standard youth player who might break through, before leaving without much of a trace.
United’s struggles to rejuvenate their attacking line continue, though, especially with their club’s ownership in the air and no money being in the bank for transfers as a result. Ten Hag needs a fresh face in attack, but perhaps one of the solutions has been there the whole time, hiding in plain sight.
Elanga sprints away from his defender and scores for Sweden against New Zealand. Nice cameo by Elanga. Think he has 2 goals in his last 2 games. Good for his transfer value, get interested from loan clubs if nothing else! #MUFC pic.twitter.com/rGva8DrDOw
— The Swedish Rumble 🔰 (@SwedishRumble) June 16, 2023
Putting the seal on what would finish a 4-1 thrashing of New Zealand, the 21-year-old demonstrated an array of key attributes to get on the scoresheet in injury time.
A one-two on the halfway line your gaffer would’ve been teary eyed over, an electric burst of pace to leave his defenders in the dust and a mightily composed finish at the end of it all, picking his spot and laser guiding the ball towards it, leaving the goalkeeper with no chance. Killer instinct.
Where’s that been for the past year?
In a season where United played a nauseating amount of football matches, Elanga clocking around 700 minutes across 26 appearances in all competitions seems rather wasteful of his raw talent.
And considering their financial restraint heading into the summer, it makes even less sense as to why it’s his name on the chopping block when talking about potential sales. Are we watching the same Anthony Elanga, Erik? Are we missing something? Because that lad there has got some serious X-factor.
He’s far from perfect – nobody’s suggesting otherwise – but when your pickings are slim and your only out-and-out forward for the second half of the season couldn’t hit a barn door (no prizes for guessing which rather large, Dutch forward we’re on about) then surely it makes sense to give Elanga a proper run in the side.
Kofimania happened; the fan favourite had his moment in the sun. But now it’s time for Ten Hag to introduce Elangamania to us. Scrub him off that transfer list, get an arm around him and mould him into the perfect rotation arm for a devastatingly quick and dynamic forward line. He’s got the parts, they just need putting together.
Besides, it would be a serious shame if Elanga was sold and United lost that absolutely superb chant as a result. Get him firing for the sake of that alone.