As Manchester United fall away from the top of the Premier League and into a race for top four rather than the title, they’re being lamented for not having a top striker among their ranks.
Edinson Cavani has done relatively well since joining the club in the summer on a free transfer but recently turned 34 years old, while Anthony Martial’s performance levels have dropped considerably from the career-high he had last year as the central striker.
This has led to several links with attacking players, including the top young striker in the world in Erling Haaland once again as well as the likes of Danny Ings and Andre Silva.
United also recently secured the long-term future of Mason Greenwood, with the young forward signing a new deal to keep him at Old Trafford until 2025. While he’s predominantly played on the right wing since coming up to the first-team, he made his name as a striker.
He scored a bucket load of goals for the youth teams and even hit an unprecedented 17 goals in his debut first-team season last year, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer describing him as the best finisher at the club. Whether it’s his left foot or right foot, inside or outside the box, Greenwood knows how to find the back of the net.
So with a talent that good that is only 19-years-old already at the club, why waste money on a stop-gap signing?
As bad as Martial has been this season, he has showed previously that he is good enough to be a 20+ goal striker and links up well with the rest of the team. Cavani has been good for the most part and showed the poaching instincts that has seen him score over 200 times for Paris Saint-Germain during his time there.
Signing someone like Ings or Silva, without being disrespectful to them, doesn’t improve Manchester United. It gets them a new name on the team sheet and means they can probably move one of the other two options on if they wanted to, but they’re unlikely to see the level of their performances raise because of it.
Someone like a Haaland, or any other top level striker would make that difference. But if the Reds aren’t willing to make the investment just now, which would be fair enough considering the current state of the world, then why would they waste their time with another name.
Greenwood is there and ready to explode. We saw players like Harry Kane get to the level they’re currently at from playing week in and week out, so signing someone that isn’t world class already is only going to hinder the team and the best young talent to come out of the academy in years.
If the investment isn’t plausible this summer, use Greenwood as a striker. He will get better and his ceiling is already so much higher than the current options, that you have nothing to lose. If he struggles, your current options are still there to help carry the load as they’ve done this year – nobody has scored more league goals than Manchester United this season.
Solskjaer and United need to make a decision. They have two options; sign a world class striker or make Mason Greenwood the first choice number nine. Nothing else makes sense.