Manchester United’s squad list for the Europa League final was announced on Monday night.
United were forced to leave Anthony Martial at home after he failed to recover in time from a knee injury sustained back in March.
This left United with a unique list of five forwards for the match with Villarreal, because between them, they did not cost a single penny in transfer fees.
The five forwards on United’s squad list are Edinson Cavani, Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood, Anthony Elanga and Shola Shoretire.
Four academy graduates and one free transfer
Edinson Cavani signed for United on a free transfer at the start of this season and has become a big fan favourite.
Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood have graduated through United’s academy, and both Elanga and Shoretire are emerging as potential stars of the future.
Rashford has struck 21 goals this season and Greenwood 12. Cavani has scored 16 times, while Elanga has netted once.
That is a combined 50 goals between the players, so while United’s forward list did not cost anything, they are still a danger to defences.
Investment still required
The forward line still needs investment. Elanga and Shoretire are among the 26 in the travelling party, but may not make the 23-man final squad for the match with Villarreal.
The success of the academy really is something for the club to be proud of. Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford have saved United millions in the transfer market.
But the forward positions still require investment. Greenwood’s rise gave United an excuse not to reinvest the Romelu Lukaku money in a striker.
Edinson Cavani is a high quality solution in attack, but just a short-term one. His contract renewal takes him to June 2022 and that’s it.
Whether it is Harry Kane or Erling Haaland, United should be looking for a long term fix. Danny Ings would be a medium-term solution at a lower investment.
It would make sense for United to add to the club’s options this summer, despite Cavani’s brilliance.
This has been an are of underinvestment for far too long. What Anthony Martial has to offer next season remains a mystery, but this campaign showed United cannot rely on him after a paltry return of just seven goals.
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