Heading into the transfer window the strong expectation was that Manchester United would sign a striker.
After the pursuit of Erling Haaland was either botched or abandoned, United don’t seem to have a plan here.
The priority is smartly to focus on a midfielder, with United’s options ravaged by injury.
Solskjaer seems happy with his options, understandably. Marcus Rashford has netted 19 goals, Anthony Martial 11 and Mason Greenwood nine.
“We always believed Anthony and Marcus were going to score goals but Mason has filled a big void, he’s chipped in with goals, so I’m not worried about goals from centre-forwards, he told The Telegraph.
They have earned Solskjaer’s trust, but if he wants to protect them and help out the young forward line, a veteran presence might have been a useful short term option.
Linked star Mario Mandzukic was passed on, signing with Qatari side Al-Duhail. Suggestions the club could move for other forwards like Edin Dzeko [ESPN] look like a red herring.
What about summer?
So it appears United’s plans to sign a striker are on hold until later in 2020.
It would be remiss of United to abandon the need to replace Romelu Lukaku altogether.
The ideal striker option would be somebody like Timo Werner who like Marcus Rashford, can play wide in a front three, giving United greater flexibility with team selection.
Haaland interest showed United want a young striker, a long term option, and ignoring Mandzukic’s availability backs that up.
Back in September, Solskjaer was quoted by Talksport: “When we let Alexis and Romelu go, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see that it’s forwards that next time we’re going to recruit.”
Well you don’t have to be a rocket scientist now to see that United’s priorities have changed.
That doesn’t mean United have forgotten the need for an extra goalscorer, just that one will be targeted in the summer instead.
The pursuit of Haaland showed United are open to signing a new striker if the right player becomes available.
The frustrating aspect with this, and the need for a midfielder, was that this is unfinished business from last summer.
Mason Greenwood’s development has been great, but he shouldn’t stop United adding extra firepower, once a midfielder or two have been added.
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