Arsenal and Liverpool have already shown Man Utd how to strengthen their attack

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag (right) may have to follow Mikel Arteta’s lead. 


If Manchester United’s start to the season has taught us anything, it’s that Erik ten Hag’s side are desperately short of firepower.

Eleven league games in all competitions, Casemiro is the best marksman so far with four goals to his name. Summer signing Rasmus Hojlund is second on the list with three.

United entered this season, following a successful first season under Ten Hag, much of which was built on a strong and reliable defence, with an ambition to build on last season’s foundations.

They invested heavily in the squad over the summer, strengthening key positions with the signings of Andre Onana, Mason Mount and Hojlund, all brought in for large transfer fees.

To his credit, Hojlund has made a positive start to life in England, scoring three goals in his first eight games, all in the Champions League. Granted, it’s not an earth-shattering comeback, but it’s a respectable feat, especially on a team that has struggled to find form so far this season.

But what more could United have expected from a 20-year-old who is still on his way? It would have been unrealistic to think that signing Hojlund would automatically solve their goalscoring problems.

Even Harry Kane, who was originally Ten Hag’s main target to bolster United’s attack this summer, would have needed help from others.

So far this season, players such as Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes and Antony, all considered an integral part of Ten Hag’s strongest starting line-up, have failed to live up to expectations, scoring just three goals to date. those two.

Rashford has regressed, Fernandes still has no clarified position and Antony has yet to justify his £85.5million price tag.

Such is the quality or supposed quality of the aforementioned trio that they should do more to support Hojlund in the goalscoring department. He can’t be expected to do it alone.

Perhaps with this in mind, Ten Hag wanted to sign another striker besides Hojlund in the summer.

The Manchester Evening News reported in July that he wanted a player who could play anywhere in the front three. In this modern era, it has become somewhat fashionable for a striker to be multi-functional and able to spread his wings.

A quick look at the current Premier League goal charts shows more and more wingers are putting the ball in front of goal, with the likes of Bukayo Saka, Jarrod Bowen and Solly March regularly arriving from wide.

United, on the other hand, are not currently reaping the same benefits from their wide players.
Bukayo Saka is a goal threat from outside for Arsenal. 

United have already drawn up transfer plans for 2024, some of which may be aided by Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s impending investment in the club, and plan to recruit a new striker, who could presumably play anywhere up front. In the ever-changing world of football, this would be a step forward for the Reds.

For example, in recent seasons, when signing a striker, Arsenal and Liverpool refused to limit their search to signing a player who could play just one position.

Arsenal, for example, benefited from the signings of Leandro Trossard and Gabriel Jesus, who can play both wide and central.

Trossard, signed from Brighton in January this year, is a winger by trade, but has the ability to play centrally, as a number 10 or as a false nine.

This is a case study of the type of striker United should target.
Liverpool have also recently signed versatile attackers, with Darwin Nunez and Cody Gakpo also capable on the wing or in the middle.

You have the skills required to play both roles.
This is becoming an increasingly common problem in sport, particularly in the Premier League, where the number of world-class No.9 players continues to decline.

Manchester City’s Erling Haaland is now probably the only absolute world-class striker in the league after Kane’s move to FC Bayern Munich, this is how the profile of a modern striker develops.

With this in mind, United will need to think carefully about who they identify as the ideal candidate to strengthen their forward line next year.

They need to take a leaf out of Arsenal and Liverpool’s books and recruit a striker who isn’t limited to playing in just one position.

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