Is David Brooks really a viable Sancho alternative or squad player?
David Brooks has recently come under the limelight and has been trending on Twitter as reports coming in from various sources stated that Manchester United have serious interest in him, making with different factions having different views on him. Some believe we’ve cooled off our interest in Sancho and hence, looking at Brooks as an alternative, some believe we should sign him for squad depth, while some think we don’t need to sign him. Let’s have a proper look at him then.
Brooks was a Citizen since the age of 7, before making a switch to the Sheffield United Academy in 2014. He made his first-team debut for the Blades in Aug’16 in a substitute appearance against Leicester City’s U-23’s in an EFL Trophy group stage match. Even though Brooks signed a contract extension with the Blades in Oct’17 until 2021, he made the switch to Bournemouth, then a Premier League Club, in the summer of 2018 for a fee of £11.5 million, signing a 4-yr long contract.
Possible link-up between the two Welsh wingers? Would certainly be handy having these two on the bench
The Rise of David Brooks
David Brooks was instantly introduced to The Cherries’ first-team, making his Premier League and Cherries’ debut in the opening fixture of the 2018-19 season, starting the 2-0 home win against Cardiff City. Brooks scored his first goal for the club, and his first goal in PL, in a 2-1 home win over Crystal Palace. He followed up with goals against Watford in a 0-4 away win and Fulham in a 0-3 away win, over the rest of the month. This impressive run of form saw Brooks awarded the Cherries’ Player of the Month award for October.
He continued his good run of form, scoring his first senior brace against Brighton in December. Manager Eddie Howe commented after the game that he was “pleasantly surprised” by the start Brooks had made to his Bournemouth career, commending his attitude and tactical understanding of Bournemouth’s style of play. His performances in December led to him winning his second Player of the Month award. Due to his performances over the course of the 18/19 season, Brooks was even nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Year award, alongside big names such as Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva, and Marcus Rashford.
"David has impressed everyone from the minute he stepped through the door, with his mature, creative performances on the pitch backed by a good attitude and professional lifestyle off it " - Eddie Howe comments on David Brooks after he signed a long-term contract in March’2019
Brooks impressive stats for a debut PL season [Stats Courtesy of Premier League]
David Brooks was flying since joining The Cherries, having won two Player of the Month awards in his first season at the Vitality, and with 12 goal involvements, Brooks had rapidly become one of the more important players in Eddie Howe’s camp. Unfortunately, in a pre-season friendly game against Brentford, Brooks suffered an ankle injury that was reportedly set to leave him side-lined until mid-October.
By December 2019 with Brooks yet to make an appearance for the Cherries in the 19/20 season, he underwent a second ankle operation, with the view of being side-lined until mid-March, causing his market value to fall from €30m in Jun’19 to €20m in Jul’20 [TransferMarkt]. On 11 March, Brooks returned to full training with the rest of the Bournemouth squad, after nearly eight months out due to injury. He scored the first and only goal of his season comprising of barely 9 appearances in a resolute hard-fought loss 2-1 loss against Man City.
“As soon as I sustained the injury, I knew straight away it wasn’t going to be a couple of weeks but [I] didn’t know it was going to be six months” He went on to add that the injury was “Just a bit of bad luck and I don’t think anybody could have predicted it. I have just had to get on with it and try to get back to fitness” - David Brooks comments on his injury in February 2020
Photo: Brooks suffered an ankle-injury against Brentford in a pre-season friendly sidelining him for most of the season
What Does David Brooks Offer?
Primarily a Right-Winger (RW), David Brooks can also play as an Attacking Midfielder or even a Second Striker. He has the pace, agility, and technicality to play in the RW role and can even provide the creative spark while deployed as a #10. Brooks could be deployed in the Bruno Fernandes role in case we would want to rest our talismanic Magnifico, and would certainly be a step-up from relying on the likes of Lingard and Pereira.
With a packed fixture list next season with UCL matches and cup ties in the mix as well, squad depth has become of prime importance to Manchester United, who’s evidently struggled with a massive drop-off in the quality when relying on the second team. Brooks has the ability to carve open defenses and link the midfield to attack, and he would be a decent backup to Bruno.
The majority of Brooks’ time at Bournemouth has been spent on the right-wing meaning he could be a viable alternative if United’s move for Jadon Sancho continues to stall though of course, that is a massive drop-off in terms of quality and acquiring game-changing. Brooks has the quality to play in an advanced role on the right but could also be deployed slightly deeper as RWB, meaning he has the work rate needed to help out in defense.
Brooks is a natural right-winger who can also play as a No.10 and even RWB [Courtesy of TransferMarkt]
A young player with lots of potential, David Brooks seems to be the kind of signing Ole would like to make. No doubt he would be a great addition to the squad, but I don’t see him as an alternative to Sancho nor do I think Ole would be accepting such a massive stepdown, again, no disrespect to David Brooks. He certainly would be a great squad player and someone we can rely on if we want to rest our stars like Bruno or Pogba or replace a player on the RW whenever necessary.
Bournemouth value David Brooks at £40m, but I don’t think we should be paying anything upwards of £20m for him, considering The Cherries just got relegated to The Championship, Man Utd present to him the chance of playing him at one of the world’s biggest stages, the UEFA Champions League, and surely the thought of playing for one of the biggest clubs in the world should be enough incentive for any young player to be wanting to play for us.
On top of that, Brooks is a childhood Manchester United fan. Reportedly, Leicester City has also shown interest in the player and are preparing to challenge Manchester United with a £30m move for the Bournemouth winger. Leicester usually harvests potential breakout players with a similar profile and turn around to sell them for twice or thrice their value. It might be some shrewd business to snatch the player now when his valuation has been depressed due to recent injury issues, especially as the club is struggling with cash flow issues in this time of COVID.
What are your thoughts on Brooks?
Leave your thoughts in the comments.
Hitanshu (@TheDevilsDen_92) is a writer at large, and one of the global contributors to the Daily Manc team. He is also the creator and chief editor of The Devil's Den.
All opinions and materials of contributor writers are solely their own and do not necessarily represent positions held by The Daily Manc.