A case for United considering Artem Dzyuba as Mandzukic alternative

It has been shown this season that Manchester United don’t have enough variety to change their attacking style and threat. Should Artem Dzyuba be the target man to change that?

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s young forward line have found goals hard to come by this season, and a move for Mario Mandzukic in January could be on the cards [Daily Mail].

The Croat hasn’t featured for Juventus this season, and with him out-of-favour under Maurizio Sarri, it is highly likely that he won’t get any game time until his time in Turin is brought to an end.

Perhaps instead, it is better Solskjaer considers signing a striker that is playing regular football and has started the season in scintillating form.

Step forward the big Russian Dzyuba, who is currently playing for Zenit St Petersburg. The Russian Premier League takes a three month break from mid-December until mid-March, but here is why Solskjaer should consider a January bid for the 31-year-old.

He is a handful

Photo by Oleg Nikishin/Getty Images

The 6ft 5 striker would give United a much-needed out ball, with the likes of Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford, Dan James and Anthony Martial reliant on their pace and technique to hurt teams, they lack a physical presence.

Dzyuba tormented Scotland’s defence during the international break with a centre-forward masterclass, he scored twice in the 4-0 rout against Steve Clarke’s side.

His first goal showcased the technical ability he possesses volleying in brilliantly from close range before bulldozing two Scot defenders off their feet, with his great strength, which led to his second goal.

The Russian isn’t just a towering giant, he has the touch, vision and interplay to create chances for his team mates.

Having James, Rashford and Martial playing off the big man, would give United’s attack a whole different threat and dimension. He certainly has the physical attributes and skill set to give Premier League defenders nightmares.

The departures of Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku, have left United short upfront, maybe Solskjaer should consider signing one of Mandzukic and Dzyuba in January.

Goalscoring pedigree

Photo by MB Media/Getty Images

Goals win football matches, it is as simple as that, United haven’t scored more than one goal since the opening weekend of the season, we are nearly in November. Something has to give.

Whether he is scoring or assisting, Dzyuba has a very impressive goal contribution return. So far this season for Zenit, in 16 matches in all competitions, Dzyuba has produced 9 goals and 8 assists.

In the 401 games he has played throughout his career at club level, the towering striker has scored 137 goals and made 83 assists. He is averaging a goal contribution every other game.

His record on the national stage shows what a pivotal part of the Russian side he has become, in 40 caps, Dzyuba has scored 24 times and set up 13 goals.

At last year’s World Cup run to the quarter-finals, Dzyuba scored 3 goals and made 2 assists in 5 games. He is a man for the big stage.

There have been too many occasions this season where United haven’t had anyone in the opposition penalty area, Dzyuba would provide a constant focal point and give the Red Devils the option of crossing the ball into the box.

Russia have qualified for the upcoming Euro 2020 championships and it was Dzyuba who spearheaded their charge. In eight qualifying games, Dzyuba has scored 9 times and conjured up 5 assists.

He is currently second in the qualifying goalscoring charts.

Dzyuba holds the record of a flat-track bully in Group I, seven of his goals have come against San Marino and Scotland.

It’s those prolific traits that United desperately need. Dzyuba is getting better with age, Solskjaer should take advantage and sign him up before another top European club does.

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Passionate Football fan that completed a NCTJ-accredited Diploma in Multimedia Sports Journalism in 2016.