How will Manchester United cope without Marcus Rashford?
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When Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez left Manchester United last summer, fans questioned whether the club would have enough firepower going forward. Couple that with one paltry attacking signing in the shape of Daniel James, who was largely expected to be an impact sub, you can see why there was cause for concern...
The addition of 18-year-old Mason Greenwood to the first-team squad helped ease the pressure. Far from being one to just fill the numbers, Greenwood has managed nine goals and four assists in 28 appearances for the club, most of which were as a substitute. The trio of Greenwood, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial have racked up 40 goals across all competitions this season; not a bad tally when you consider the average age of that forward line is just 21.3 years old.
Rashford is having his best season since his breakthrough in 2016, scoring and assisting a combined total of 18 goals in the Premier League. That's why when word got out that the Mancunian-born striker had a double stress fracture in his back, that would likely keep him out for the next few months, it was a huge blow.
Sunday's 2-0 loss to Liverpool showcased that even further. The 22-year-old was sorely missed on the counter. His pace and clinical finishing that has been so valuable in games against the big six proved a costly loss for United. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has always maintained that he would only sign a player if they aligned with his long term vision of the team. However, considering the injuries that have depleted his squad, he did admit they may need to conclude a few short term deals.
Anthony has been out, Paul, Scott. It’s an unfortunate situation. We might look at some short term deals. Desperate for a striker? Not desperate, if the right one is there and it fits for us. I have players here who are chomping at the bit. Solskjaer is quoted as saying.
With Ole Gunnar Solskjaer considering his forward options in light of Marcus Rashford's injury, the Good Morning Transfer team discuss the possibility of Edinson Cavani moving to Old Trafford. #TransferTalk https://t.co/eqV12o6zh7
If the Baby Faced Assassin is looking for a short-term option that can make a big impact, then there's no better man than Edinson Cavani. The Uruguayan has six months left on his current deal, so a loan till the end of the season with an option to buy would fit United's fancy. On Monday morning Paris Saint-Germain Sporting Director Leonardo, revealed that Cavani has handed in a transfer request, making a January exit more probable than ever. Besides the transfer seeming relatively simple, Cavani would immediately offer a different dimension.
While Solskjaer is trying to build a fluid line of frontmen with no fixed positions, that has come at the expense of an out and out striker. When 'Plan A' hasn't worked, the United boss has been criticised for not having a back-up plan. The Reds' style is built on quick passing and incisive finishing, however, with the lack of quality in the midfield, that isn't always possible. Cavani would be able to hold the ball up, allowing the wide men to make runs into the box and the midfield to push further forward as a more cohesive unit.
Perhaps even more importantly, the 32-year-old would add an edge to United's set piece routines. None of the current crop bring an imposing presence in the opposition box. The Old Trafford outfit have scored just one goal from a corner all season. Cavani, having 48 headed goals throughout his career, would certainly add another weapon to the armoury.
United's Executive Vice-Chairman, Edward Woodward, has struggled to get signings over the line this January, with a deal for Bruno Fernandes stagnating. If the board have any ambitions of United still making the top four, one look at squads depleted line-up would surely propel them into action, with Cavani being the perfect fit.