Anthony Martial’s injury comes at a tough time, but it could be a lot worse.
A far bleaker scenario would have been Martial going down injured on February 1, after a run of form which convinced United not to sign another striker in January.
It might have been heading that way, after the Martial made an immediate impact upon his return from injury in October.
Goals against Partizan Belgrade and Norwich City demonstrated he was threatening to go on a goalscoring run.
If he had done that, then United may have made an error and decided to stick with the players they have up front.
Martial’s form dipped, but there was always a chance he could start scoring again over December and convince Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ed Woodward that United do not need to sign a striker.
Now that is no more. United simply have to act.
United’s position should be absolutely clear right now. A striker needs to be signed in January.
Martial has now suffered two injuries this season, one kept him out for six weeks and this second one is also expected to see him miss multiple games.
Solskjaer told the club website Martial is set to be out for ‘a little while’ with this ankle injury.
This places undue pressure on Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood and United cannot carry on like this in the second half of the season. And even if the Frenchman made a quick recovery, the point has been proved that United can’t take chances.
Martial’s injury record makes it imperative that United sign a new striker in January.
Who that might be is still open to debate. Do United go for the expensive, young, elite option in Erling Haaland, or a cheap experienced stop gap like Mario Mandzukic.
United need to decide which path to take, but it should be absolute clear right now that a new striker has to be signed.
The Martial excuse to avoid spending has now been removed from the equation.
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