Manchester United fans, players, and management alike are in deep misery after their Champions League elimination following a 3-2 loss to Bundesliga’s Wolfsburg. While it is a great probability that the Red Devils will enter the knock-out stages of the Europa League by qualifying as one of the best four third-placed teams in the CL, it is inevitable to note that Louis van Gaal and his players failed tremendously at such a prestigious tournament. With this failure, one can only question how long it will take for the club to flourish after Sir Alex Ferguson’s historic tenure. Under van Gaal this season, the team made important signings in the midfield like that of Bastian Schweinsteiger, Memphis Depay as an offensive winger, or the youngster Anthony Martial as the team’s striker. While the team is in a close fight for the top of the Premier League, offensively they have suffered greatly.
In the CL the main reason for their demise was that the offense was never sufficiently efficient, scoring only 7 goals in six matches. But 7 goals isn’t too bad, is it? Manchester United is one of the most prestigious clubs in the world, and if we consider the stats from other top-prestigious clubs in the CL, then we realize Manchester United’s terrible offense. Real Madrid scored 19 goals, PSG 12, Manchester City 12, Barcelona has scored 14, Bayern Munich 17, and even Chelsea is at 11. Comparing Manchester United’s offense to that of the other greats, then it is evident that changes must be made in order to improve their scoring.
The most realistic, and short-term answer will be to realize an important forward signing during the Winter transfer window. The three most important offensive players in the squad (Wayne Rooney, Anthony Martial, and Memphis Depay) have merely combined for a total of 18 goals throughout all competitions. As an embittering example, Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez has scored a total of 13 goals in just 17 games for Bundesliga’s Bayer Leverkusen. The ex-Red Devil has demonstrated that when given the opportunity to play, he can be a lethal player. Chicharito is a player with a lot of experience, and with a unique mental fortitude rarely seen among ‘bench’ players. Therefore, did van Gaal make a terrible mistake by selling him?
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Maybe, or maybe not. Maybe Chicharito’s time was done at Old Trafford, or maybe van Gaal’s tactics would not translate into Chicharito scoring 13 goals so early into the campaign. However, one can use Chicharito as an example from the type of striker which van Gaal needs to pursue in the next transfer window. While Rooney is greatly experienced, he is not a true ‘9’ forward. Meanhwhile, Martial and Memphis are too young and inexperienced to lead the historic Manchester United back into greatness.
Manchester United must identify a striker with the experience and poacher ability similar to that of Chicharito’s. The Red Devils are in urgent need of a pure ‘9’ type of striker, and they need to fill that whole before it is too late.