Man United MUST buy an elite centre forward to take the next step
IAN LADYMAN: Manchester United MUST buy an elite centre forward in order for Erik ten Hag to take the next step… Harry Kane would be PERFECT but with Tottenham ready to play hardball, it’s time for John Murtough to earn his money at Old Trafford
- Manchester United were hammered – but they had good chances in the first half
- They carry a greater threat under Erik ten Hag but need to buy an elite striker
- Harry Kane would be perfect but Tottenham would loathe selling to a rival
The post-match exchanges in the Sky studio that were all over social media by the time we got home from Anfield were a little peculiar.
Gary Neville facing off across what at times felt like a school playground with Jamie Carragher and our own Graeme Souness. Kelly Cates was the bemused teacher.
Neville did make a salient point, though, which was that for all Liverpool’s possession, Manchester United had the better chances in the first half. Bruno Fernandes missed one and Marcus Rashford the other.
United carry a threat these days.
For a while under Ralf Rangnick and before that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, United were a team that didn’t create chances, that would go huge swathes of time in games without a shot on goal. Erik ten Hag has changed that in a short space of time.
Marcus Rashford (left) and Antony (right) cut frustrated figures in attack away at Liverpool
Anthony Martial (right) continues to struggle with fitness and played no part at Anfield
They didn’t have goals in them on Sunday but until they fell apart in the second half they did carry a certain menace.
All of which makes you wonder what they will do at centre forward this summer. They will have to buy someone for sure.
Marcus Rashford played through the middle at Anfield. He can do it but it’s not his natural berth. He is happier and better coming off the flanks.
Anthony Martial is supposed to be a centre forward but after seven and a half years at the club it’s still hard to know what he is as well as, much of the time, where he is. He was absent injured once again at Anfield.
So where do United go? To the transfer market this summer, it seems.
Wout Weghorst was loaned from Burnley via Besiktas in January as a stop gap which was smart work. United needed a body and wanted to wait until the right one was available.
But who will that be? Harry Kane? He would be perfect. Close your eyes and imagine him in that team. The England captain would be a superb and natural fit. But the battle with Tottenham for their star player would be long, drawn out, ugly and probably fruitless.
Spurs chairman Daniel Levy has vowed to not sell to an English club and the problem for United is that he means it too.
United, then, will doubtless end up shopping in Europe.
Harry Kane (left) would be perfect for United but they may need to look at Memphis Depay
Ten Hag (left) needs a striker badly and it is incumbent on John Murtough (right) to deliver one
Ten Hag has a fondness for Memphis Depay but the club baulked at that one in January and would probably need some persuasion in the summer. The Atletico Madrid forward has, after all, failed once at Old Trafford already in his career.
Whatever the case, the right centre forward would enable United to take a huge step forward next season.
Much has been made recently of the improvement in United’s recruitment. Casemiro, Varane, Lisandro Martinez and Christian Eriksen are testimony to that.
The centre forward is the big one, though. It’s time for director of football John Murtough and his team to really earn their money.
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