Manchester United started the 2013/14 season, not just as the reigning Premier League champions, but with a strike force that consisted of two world class strikers in their prime in Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney, one young Englishman who was hoping to become a first-team regular by the end of the season and a Mexican, who was arguably the most lethal goal poacher in England.
Unfortunately for Manchester United, their top scorer from last season, Van Persie was injured for a large chunk of the season and Wayne Rooney, who was their top scorer this time around was too, and in the time he was fit, was forced to occupy various roles as well. Even though their regular strike partnership were injured, neither Danny Welbeck nor Javier Hernandez had regular game time, and on the occasions that they did, Welbeck was forced to play on the wing and Hernandez was left all on his own up front.
By the end of the season, doubts began emerging about the future of their front line. Although Rooney and Van Persie are definitely staying, one cannot say with the same certainty whether the other will be as well. Although the Mexican striker hasn’t made too much noise about wanting away, the truth is that, several top European clubs are ready to pounce if he is. And Welbeck has made it abundantly clear that he wants out of his boyhood club.
The case of Welbeck is a curious one. A Mancunian by birth and by blood, the fact that Welbeck wants to leave certainly shows how far David Moyes had lost the squad. The Scot never got on with the Englishman and forced him to play out of position and that frustration has lingered in his minds ever since.
Although Louis Van Gaal has said nothing about whether he wants to keep Welbeck or not, the truth is that, it wouldn’t be too surprising if Welbeck wanted out. Especially since Tottenham are very keen on the Englishman’s signature. So now the question remains, do United need another striker? They already have two world class strikers and arguably the best substitute striker in the League, so do they need another one?
While it is true that Van Gaal prefers a lone striker up front, the simple fact is that, apart from Van Persie the other two can’t/ don’t prefer to play that role. Rooney prefers to be the second striker and Chicharito is always more effective playing with another striker, with whom he can exchange passes and make full use of his pace and finishing prowess.
While it is also true that reinforcements are more vital in other areas, such as defense and midfield, the front line would be stretched should Welbeck leave. And if Van Persie or Rooney were to get injured, they wouldn’t have adequate replacements. And that is perhaps one reason why United should look at a young striker this summer.
A number nine is someone United have sorely lacked since the departure of Louis Saha and amidst the flurry of signings that look poised to happen this summer, Van Gaal should also look into signing a striker too. But, given the fact that incoming striker is unlikely to get major first-team action, it would be ideal if it isn’t a big name or is an up-and-coming young striker.
Hoffenheim’s 22-year-old Brazilian striker Roberto Firmino would be perfect for United. He has had a brilliant Bundesliga campaign and fit the bill as far as United are concerned.