Why Manchester United signing Dries Mertens would be a smart move
Back in October, The Express claimed that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was keen to sign two forwards in January as he aims to get Manchester United back on track.
United have struggled in their attack after they decided to let go of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez in the summer. Failing to land a replacement has already cost United a lot. Marcus Rashford seems to be in form, whereas Anthony Martial has been inconsistent.
In order to make their attack stronger, United are planning to launch a shock raid for Napoli star Dries Mertens, according to The Express. The report also suggests that the centre-forward has fallen out with the club’s chiefs and may leave for free at the end of the season.
This might be a chance for United to strike a deal with Mertens in January as a short-term replacement in their attack. Though Mason Greenwood has risen at the right occasion, he may not be able to fill the void at this stage of his career. And so, Mertens could be the ideal striker to lead them.
The diminutive striker has been in fine form for the Naples club ever since he moved to Italy in 2013. In 301 appearances for the Serie A giants, he has scored 118 goals. In the meantime, Mertens has achieved huge success with Belgium.
He is unmatchable by the current members of the United squad in terms of experience and that can be helpful to the team, which has a majority of young and homegrown talents.
Mertens has already scored 9 goals this season in Serie A and Champions League and the striker despite ageing doesn’t seem to slow down. He has been consistent in Napoli’s squad ever since Gonzalo Higuain left for Juventus.
The Belgium international’s evolution from a winger to a world-beater has been highly impressive in the past few years. His 2 years at PSV Eindhoven gained him attention and is still considered as one of Europe’s prolific strikers.
He is capable of playing either through the middle or on the wings, and his versatility would help United do well. He can also change positions with other forwards and can still be effective from anywhere.
According to Whoscored, Mertens has registered 2.9 shots, 1.9 key passes and 0.9 dribbles in Serie A this campaign. He is also known to be unselfish in the final third and can pick a pass easily. He has enjoyed a successful pass success rate at 82.3%.
With the speed he possesses, defenders have found it very hard to catch him on the break. His quality can be a threat to any team in the Premier League and as United are already looking good on the counter, Mertens can add flair to that.
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As United are lacking a quality player to strengthen their attack, Mertens would be a gamble if Solskjaer takes advantage of his situation at Napoli.