By Andrew Embling
- United have linked with the likes of Muller, Bale, Benzema and Neymar
- Transfer window shuts at 5pm on September 1
Manchester United’s frustrating draw against Newcastle highlighted once again the need for United to reinforce their attacking options.
With just over a week left before the transfer window slams shut Louis Van Gaal has to act fast if United are going to compete on all fronts this season.
United have let the likes of Robin van Persie depart the club over the summer, but there have been no new additions to the striking role, leaving Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez and youngster James Wilson as the only recognised forwards at the club.
Van Gaal experimented during pre-season with Adnan Januzaj up front, whilst he could turn to the height and strength of Marouane Fellaini as an alternative, but what United need is an out and out finisher. Three clean sheets in the Premier League have failed to hide the problems at the other end, with only two goals and a handful of chances created in the three games so far.
Rooney has been played up front, but despite his disallowed strike in the game against Newcastle, he has so far failed to look the part as a number nine. The captain looked a man revitalised when he dropped into a role off the main striker after Hernandez was brought on against the Magpies and seemed far more comfortable in that position.
Perhaps part of the problem is United’s inability to create chances, with a slow build up and lack of penetration making it easy for opposition defences to contain United. Van Gaal likes to play a methodical possession game with a structure to his side, but United are missing someone who can get behind defences.
The final ball against Newcastle was once again ordinary and a seeming reluctance from midfield to make forward runs in advance of the striker has failed to pull defenders out of position to create space for Rooney and his fellow attackers.
United have been linked with an array of attacking talent in recent weeks, Neymar being added to the list as well as the likes of Gareth Bale, Thomas Muller and Karim Benzema. There is money in the coffers at Old Trafford and surely a late bid for a proven striker is a must for United.
Whilst Benzema and Bale seem to be part of new coach Rafa Benitez’s plans at Real Madrid, there have been plenty of rumours that Benzema could be the subject of an approach from Arsenal, whilst Bale seems once again to be the target of the Madrid boo boys during pre-season after a difficult campaign last time out.
With David de Gea rumoured to be on his way to Madrid, Van Gaal may feel that he could use his want-away goalkeeper as bait in a bid for either, with Madrid sure to be interested if the deal is right. Bale would certainly give United the speed they desperately need to get behind defences and Benitez is thought favour using the Welshman in a central striking role this season.
Van Gaal could also return to Munich to try and prise his number one target, Thomas Muller, from Bayern. Bayern do not want to part with their star man, but United are thought to be keen to bring the German World Cup winner to Old Trafford with a bid of around €100 million being talked of in the press.
Perhaps a better option for United would be Bayern’s Polish international, Robert Lewandowski, who would add height and strength to the United forward line, as well as his quality on the floor. Lewandowski would certainly be able to adapt to the speed and physicality of the Premier League and would add a different dimension to what seems currently to be a one dimensional front line at Old Trafford.
The German champions do not want to let any more players leave for Manchester, having seen Bastian Schweinsteiger make the move over to England, but could a bid of around £50 million for Lewandowski twist their arm into selling another one of their assets to United?
The Sun reported just yesterday that Neymar is the man United want, but Barcelona are highly unlikely to break up their front three of the Brazilian, Suarez and Messi as they prepare to start their campaign in La Liga.
Van Gaal and Ed Woodward have already missed out on Pedro from Barcelona, with Chelsea taking advantage of their hesitation to bring the Spanish international to Stamford Bridge, and the United hierarchy certainly have a big few days on their hands as they look to turn the club’s fortunes around in front of goal.