Anthony Elanga has now become the second Nottingham Forest signing of this summer’s transfer window after he joined from Manchester United.
The Reds fought off some fierce competition for his signature, with the 21-year-old turning a move down to Everton.
Elanga made 55 appearances for the senior ranks at Old Trafford, scoring four goals and claiming as many assists.
Last season proved a frustrating one for the player. He did feature 27 times for the Red Devils but starting berths came few and far between.
Elanga moves to the City Ground in a deal worth £15 million and he’s penned a five-year contract at the City Ground.
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We confess, however, that we don’t know much about him. Fear now, because United in Focus Editor and Manchester United nut Dan Coombs was on hand to give us the lowdown on our new addition.
NFN: What kind of forward is Elanga? Can you compare him to anyone else?
DC: Anthony Elanga is most reminiscent of Marcus Rashford from a positional sense. He can play up front but he is more natural on the left wing. He has a lot of potential, just don’t expect him to be a prolific goalscorer. He’s the type who could hit 10-15 in a full season, potentially, if he gets regular game time, and chip in with a few assists, rather than a 20-30 goal forward. His key attributes are his pace, which creates problems for any defender, and his work rate.
NFN: Why has he been allowed to leave Manchester United?
DC: Elanga is a raw diamond who really impressed Ralf Rangnick at the end of 2021/22, but a lack of goals saw initial excitement fade. He scored away at Wolves, Brentford and Leeds, but never managed it at Old Trafford. Memorably he netted away at Atletico Madrid too. Last season he performed well in his limited appearances, however, it was pretty clear early on that Erik ten Hag did not see him as a regular starter. He started only one game in 2023, which came back in January. He hasn’t scored a goal for us since February 2022. But that alone doesn’t tell the whole story, as he just hasn’t had meaningful game time.
NFN: Are you surprised he’s been allowed to exit Old Trafford?
DC: We should have sent Elanga out on loan in January, that was a missed opportunity. I’m not surprised at this point, considering how Ten Hag views him. It’s a shame that just 18 months ago he scored his big goal against Atletico, and just never kicked on. That’s partly circumstantial, we were a mess under Rangnick towards the end and then a new manager comes in, and things change. His confidence will have suffered due to a lack of game time, and he just needs a fresh start. He has netted twice for Sweden this year and has a good record for them. He just needs a chance to play regularly.
NFN: Finally, will he prove to be a good signing for Forest?
DC: I think he can be, providing there’s a little patience, taking into account this is still a 21-year-old kid who has not yet played a full season in senior football, just bits here and there. The raw talent is there, and I think there will be quite a few United fans intrigued to see how he fares.
Summary – Will Elanga be a hit for Forest?
In truth, we just don’t know. The beauty of football is that every transfer comes with a degree of risk but it’s fair to say that this does tick a lot of boxes.
Elanga is a signing that Steve Cooper has personally signed off and ultimately that can only be a good thing.
The player is a nice age to continue developing and perhaps more crucially he has some Premier League experience that could prove very useful at Forest.