When Man Utd ended their run of 404 minutes without scoring a goal in all competitions the relief around Old Trafford was clear to be seen. Against Crystal Palace last week Manchester United only managed one shot on target in the ninety minutes, this is a style that Manchester United fans are not used to and not happy about, having displaying their displeasure publicly. The Van Gaal style looks to be, keep the ball, keep the shape and do not lose the game, a style that has not appealed to everyone, and rightly so.
Watching Man Utd this season has been hard viewing at times, despite the team gaining valuable points. So where is the problems for the club? Well the main issue which is evident to see is the lack of pace down the flanks for Man Utd and through the middle, dependent on who is playing there. When Anthony Martial made his debut, the young Frenchman was unknown to most viewers in England, and what an impact he made, scoring on his debut against arch rivals Liverpool is a dream debut, however in the last month we have seen Martial operating down the left hand side. Rooney has taken the central striking role and this is the biggest issue that Man Utd have. There is options in the final third for Van Gaal but the wrong options are often being made. Juan Mata started the season very well, though has found himself on the subs bench recently, along with Memphis Depay who has not exactly justified his transfer fee yet. Van Gaal needs to let some of these attacking players of the lease however and let them hurt defenders instead of structuring these players with so much defensive duties. The team plays the same side to side football, slow and lethargic a lot of the times but they do just about enough at times to get the win. Van Gaal’s decision to include Jesse Lingaard recently adds pace but is he the answer for the club going forward? The decision to loan out Adnan Januzaj to Borussia Dortmund on loan for the season looks an even stranger decision now as it did at the time the deal happened. The club is short in areas and in the attacking third is just one of these areas. They need pace and direct players in that attack and possibly a dynamic finisher to partner the relentless Martial.
The 21 year old Italian is a player who is in high demand and rightly so. Played in the Sassuolo first team for the last 3 seasons , he has scored 44 goals during this period. His ability to play anywhere in the attack adds great versatility to a team and his ability in front of goal is very good especially for a player his age. Regarded as a future Italian star he could be a player that Man Utd could benefit a lot.
The Southampton forward is a player who Man Utd were linked with at the back end of the summer transfer window, and judging by his season so far they must wish they had got him. Great pace and good in front of goal Mane has been Southampton’s stand out player so far this season. Can play out wide or through the middle, a partnership with Martial and Mane would certainly be a bagful of pace, but also two players who love to hit the box and grab themselves a goal.
The Valencia poacher has been linked so far with a move to Chelsea, but with added interest in the Spanish international he is exactly the sort of player Man Utd would need in their team. Not known for having much of an impact outside the box, however he would possess Van Nistelrooy style instincts in front of goal. Alcacer has a fantastic record for Spain and Valencia in terms of goalscoring, but he also has fantastic movement in the final third. Man Utd need a natural goalscorer and a move for Alcacer could solve these problems.