Jamie Carragher has been looking forward to the new Premier League season and has predicted that Jadon Sancho will prove to be the signing of the summer for Manchester United in an exclusive interview with UMM.
Talented 21-year-old winger Sancho signed for a fee of £73 million from Borussia Dortmund. United have also enjoyed the arrival of another quality player in centre-back Raphael Varane from Real Madrid.
In the interview, the former Liverpool defender said: “I actually think the acquisition of Sancho is a really good signing. I think Varane has been brilliant for Real Madrid next to Ramos. But I actually think Sancho is a better signing for Man United long term.
Carragher is also excited to see what he thinks “has the potential to be the best centre back partnership in the Premier League” in new Liverpool signing Ibrahima Konate alongside Virgil Van Dijk.
For Carragher, Konate is a thrilling prospect to partner the “best centre back in the Premier League.”
“Konate looks an absolute beast… he looks like he’s got that presence, he’s certainly got that pace. He looks really spectacular.”
Asked about whether Cafu is just a ‘scouse Trent’, Carragher was full of praise for the Premier League and Champions League winning Liverpool full-back but highlighted that “to put him in the same bracket as Cafu yet is a little premature”.
“Cafu for me is one of the all-time greats. I think Trent could become one of the all-time greats, he’s one of the top full-backs in European football right now, he’s a playmaker from full-back. But hopefully we’ll be having this discussion again in 10 or 15 years time and we’ll be talking about another up and coming full-back and saying is he the next Trent!”
Staying on Merseyside and one of the most intriguing transfers of the summer is Rafa Benitez returning to Liverpool to become the Everton manager. Carragher is curious about how his former manager will fare on the blue half of Merseyside.
“Rafa is a Liverpool legend… I don’t think he’ll ever be loved by Everton supporters. I think he may be respected if he does a good job. I think the Merseyside derbies will be key. If he could beat Liverpool in a derby he may start getting loved by Everton supporters and vice versa… So it’s going to be a very interesting dynamic this season!”
It was Benitez who led Liverpool to a famous fifth European Cup sixteen years ago and Steven Gerrard’s performance on that night in Istanbul still lives long in the memory. For Carragher, Gerrard is the greatest Premier League midfielder ever.
“His performance in the second half of Istanbul – you’re not going to get a more inspirational performance from anyone in a game of that magnitude.
“This is a player who played central midfield in the first half and it hadn’t gone well for him. He then goes and plays in a different position, as an attacking midfield player in the second half. He then goes to right wing-back to stop AC Milan basically scoring the winning goal to make it 4-3.
“And that’s why when people talk about the greatest player I played with or one the greatest players to play in the Premier League in terms of midfielders I always say Steven Gerrard. These other midfield players he was put up against, whether it’s Lampard, whether it’s Scholes, Keane, Vieira, Petit – none of them could have done that in that second half.”
Like everyone else, Carragher is looking forward to seeing fans return to stadiums: “I can’t wait. I’ve missed it a lot. It’s not just Anfield, crowds in general just whip you up.”
But he is keen to point out a specific focus on Liverpool, Anfield and the famous Kop end. “There’s very few supporters who have the same effect on their team and their players the way Liverpool do and that’s why the Kop is famous and that’s why Anfield is famous. The players and the manager have really missed it more than most.”
Watch the brilliant interview in full below or over on the UMM YouTube page.