Despite spending over £300m in the past two summer transfer windows, Manchester United squad still looks short of at least 3-4 world class players required to persistently challenge for the Premier League title and do well in Europe.
United, courtesy of the Premier League TV deals and £750m record breaking Adidas Kit sponsorship deal, boast a strong financial structure and experts believe the Red Devils will overtake Real Madrid to become the richest club in the world in the next 12 months.
It’s amazing that United are way ahead of their rivals in terms of raking profits despite their relatively poor on-pitch performances. It’s important for them to start winning trophies again.
So, United can afford to spend big again. What remains to be seen is can they sign the right profile of players?
The present squad needs a major reinforcement in several areas of the pitch – but where it needs an immediate surgery is the strike department. United have had struggled with their defence in the past, even under Sir Alex Ferguson, but never before the club fared so poorly in the attacking department than it is now.
The club that once used to score 70-90 goals per season, and used to be ruthless against weaker oppositions at Old Trafford, have only scored 32 goals so far after 25 games. United have scored fewer than all the other top six teams, and even lower mid-table teams like Newcastle and Norwich have scored more than them at home.
So, where lies the problem? Louis van Gaal’s system and the playing style implemented is partially responsible. The attacking flair has been abandoned, while cautious approach is now the order of the day. Wayne Rooney is the club’s only leading striker, but he was badly out of form for more than half of the season. There is no other world class striker in the team who can win matches singlehandedly. Anthony Martial may turn into a great player in the future but at the moment he is very young and inexperienced and putting too much pressure on him will only hamper his burgeoning development.
Therefore, United must sign a striker, and buy someone who has a proven track record of scoring 20-25 goals in a season. We bring here the list of five strikers who United must target in the summer.
The Uruguayan star is undoubtedly a world class striker in his own right. Cavani is currently unhappy at PSG. The reason being he is constantly used in wide roles and doesn’t get enough opportunity to play in his favourite #9 position. But such is his goal scoring ability, he has still managed 25 goals and over in the past two seasons, and has scored 14 goals already so far from an unfamiliar position.
His days at PSG could be over soon. He is 28 and is approaching the peak stage of his career. United must not miss this opportunity to sign the €40m rated striker, although they are expected to face strong competition for several heavyweights European clubs, including Chelsea and Manchester City.
He may not be as versatile as Cavani, but Higuain is exceptionally brilliant at one thing: scoring goals and loads of it. His record at Napoli – 24 goals in his first season, 29 in his second season and so far has scored 26 goals in 28 games. Throughout his career, he has scored over 215 goals. All the major European clubs are expected to make offers for him in the summer – why should United lag behind?
United had reportedly tried to sign the Argentine striker during the January transfer window, but Inter Milan refused to sell him. The Red Devils are looking to improve the offer for the young striker in the summer. Icardi hasn’t had a great campaign with Inter this season, and the Nerazzurri could sell him, should they receive a good offer for their skipper.
What Vardy has achieved this season is simply phenomenal. The Leicester City striker will be in demand next summer, and plenty of big clubs would try to out-bid each other for his signature. However, there is also a risk factor attached with his potential move. Vardy has never scored over 20 goals in his career, and considering his age and relative inexperience in playing at the top level, he might struggle in handling the pressure that comes with playing for a big club.
The Polish striker is one of the most natural finishers in the world at the moment. He has been in terrific form this season having scored 24 goals for Bayern already in all competitions. Manchester United may fancy their chances in signing him, but the Red Devils can expect a strong competition from other top European clubs.