Manchester United need to focus on finding club's new number 9

Amid claim and counter-claim from Ralf Rangnick and Anthony Martial over his alleged refusal to be on the bench for United, neither manager or player come out of the situation particularly well.

It looks pretty certain Martial will not play for United again, whether he wants to or not.

From a fan perspective, it is past time to mourn Martial’s United career coming to a close. He has failed to develop into the player we all hoped he would be, and it is for the best he moves on and tried to re-establish himself elsewhere and earn a spot at World Cup 2022 with France.

Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

Time to look forward

Manchester United need a new striker this summer. This was already coming, with Edinson Cavani’s contract set to expire. Martial’s departure will highlight a forthcoming lack of depth in attack, and also free up the club’s number nine shirt.

This leaves Cristiano Ronaldo, who will be 37, and may not want to hang around and waste his time in the Europa League. Fair enough, if so.

Then there are Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood, who in their last 22 matches combined, have scored just one goal. Anthony Elanga has promise, but he’s not the number nine United need.

Charlie McNeill is a promising talent in the academy, again, he is not ready. United need to spend money to buy a new striker.

Do it properly this time

Manchester United need to learn from past mistakes, and this means looking back to 2019 when Romelu Lukaku was sold. It was the right decision to get rid of the Belgian. When it came to replacing him, it went wrong.

United chose not to spend, to put faith in Martial. This went well for one season, but he could not maintain it.

Cost cutting decisions were made to help the attack by loaning Odion Ighalo, and signing Edinson Cavani on a free transfer.

Even the move to sign Ronaldo was yet another short-term move, a sticking plaster solution. How about United actually do it properly this time?

The next generation of strikers

United need to make a decision over who to target, to look for a young striker with the ability to lead the line for the next five to 10 years.

The top choice on talent alone should be Erling Haaland. Jadon Sancho’s former teammate has scored 78 goals in 77 games for Dortmund and is an absolute powerhouse.

The matter is complicated by Haaland’s agent Mino Raiola, and just as pressingly, United being at serious risk of missing out on Champions League football next season.

Photo by Franco Romano/NurPhoto via Getty Images

It is prudent then to look at alternatives, and the next best option is Fiorentina’s Dusan Vlahovic, who has 19 goals in 23 games this season. The Mail report United have been scouting him.

Another option to consider is Napoli forward Victor Osimhen. The 23-year-old has scored nine times in 14 games this season and is a lethal finisher inside the box.

Alternatively turn to Lille and look at Jonathan David. The Canadian striker is just 22 and has 16 goals already this campaign, including three in the Champions League.

Or take the gamble and try to sign Argentine forward Julian Alvarez. The youngster finished as top scorer for River Plate last season with 24 goals in all competitions.

Any of these five strikers would make United a more exciting team for next season and add much needed life into the attack.

There are options in midfield too of course, which have to be solved, but Martial’s spat with Rangnick underlines that the striker position will need strengthening. Let’s find a new number 9 who really wants to be here.

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