Manchester United can be fairly pleased with their 2020-21 campaign. They managed to finish second in the Premier League and made it to the final of the Europa League. It was a shame they didn’t win silverware, but many would say this signifies progress for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. It feels as though the team is a couple of world-class players short of being title challengers, and it is easy to say that they need a top striker. But is this really the answer to all of United’s problems?
United Linked with Kane and Haaland
United have been linked with Erling Haaland and Harry Kane for some time now, as the world’s top clubs desperately scramble for the signatures of these prolific frontmen. The likes of Roy Keane and Gary Neville have urged United to go out and spend big on one of these players, believing that this is the key to elevating the club to the level they were at under Sir Alex Ferguson. At the moment, United don’t seem like they are close to Manchester City. Pep Guardiola’s side are odds-on favourites in the sports betting to retain the title, but Solskjaer’s side are at 900 at the time of writing.
The arguments of these top pundits certainly make sense. Ferguson had a habit of signing world-class strikers during his time at Old Trafford. The legendary Scottish manager was known to develop a vast amount of youth, but he always seemed to have a preference to sign readymade strikers. These included the likes of Eric Cantona, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Carlos Tevez, and Robin van Persie. On most of these occasions, bringing in these players made the difference as well and took the side to the next level.
A String of World Class Strikers
The problem is, though, that United had Romelu Lukaku on the books only three seasons ago. Few would disagree that the Belgian player is up there with the best strikers in the world, after having scored 47 goals in 72 league appearances for Inter Milan. If United hadn’t had this player before, pundits would be calling for the club to sign him this summer. It raises the question as to why the former Everton man didn’t live up to his potential in Manchester.
There have been other world-class forwards at the club in the years since Ferguson retired. Radamel Falcao and Alexis Sanchez were both major flops that failed to continue their incredible careers at Old Trafford. Memphis Depay was also a highly disappointing signing, but the Dutch forward has gone on to impress at Lyon and for his country. Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani both enthralled at United, but they weren’t progressive, sustainable additions for the club.
With United having signed plenty of world-class strikers in the decade since Ferguson left, why have none of these made the difference? It may be the case that the problems run deeper, and there are other issues behind the scenes that are having an effect on the team.
Signing Kane or Haaland could help elevate United to the next level. On paper, the signing of either seems like a no brainer. The main worry is that if one of these players joins and joins the list of other failed forwards at United.