Elanga Man Utd Antony GFXGetty

Man Utd picked the wrong Ant(h)ony! Academy graduate Elanga making Erik ten Hag's decision to sell him look foolish as £86m signing struggles

The date is February 23, 2022, the city is Madrid and Manchester United fans have a new favourite player as well as a new favourite chant. Their teenage idol has silenced the usually deafening Atletico Madrid supporters at the Metropolitano and all that can be heard is a new version of a 1990s smash hit.

"Rhythm is a dancer, Anthony Elanga, come and stop him if you dare," sing the visiting fans. "Comes from Scandinavia, he's United's saviour, scoring goals from everywhere." Elanga has just equalised for United in the Spanish capital and, four days previously, he had scored in a 4-2 win against rivals Leeds.

It helps that he has been with the club since he was 12 and is a pacey winger with tricky feet, following in a fine tradition of United favourites from George Best to Ryan Giggs to Cristiano Ronaldo. There is a sense that he is saving United, too, not just from defeat to Atletico, but also from a gloomy season in which they have already sacked Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and suffered a series of humiliating defeats.

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Elanga is also an exciting new figure for United fans to believe in less than a month after that shocking audio of Mason Greenwood emerged, leading to his arrest and his banishment from the squad. The future looks bright for Elanga at Old Trafford.

But fast forward two years and Elanga has left the club, joining Nottingham Forest last summer for a paltry free of £15 million ($19m), having made just five Premier League starts under Erik ten Hag compared to 14 the previous campaign under Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick.

Meanwhile, Antony, the player who was signed for a whopping £85m ($107m) and took Elanga's place in the team, cannot even get in the starting line-up amid an injury crisis. As United head to Nottingham Forest in the fifth round of the FA Cup, the last chance to save their season, it is tempting to conclude that they put their faith in the wrong winger called Ant(h)ony...