Will Moussa Dembele solve Manchester United's striker problems?
Background Image: Stacey MacNaught, CC BY 2.0.
There’s no doubt that Manchester United are in dire need of a new striker to push them higher up the league table. Marcus Rashford isn't delivering the goods as the main man up front while Anthony Martial is having injury struggles this term. Positively, Mason Greenwood is getting valuable first-team experience - but it’s still too early for the youngster to lead the line with regularity, particularly in key Premier League matches. The number one priority is to now strengthen the attack and find a striker who will score 20+ goals a season.
The shortlist includes a wealth of overseas and homegrown talent. One of whom is 23-year-old Lyon forward, Moussa Dembele. His return of 6 goals in 8 league games is creating unsurprising transfer speculation. The French star is valued at £52million in the current transfer market. The fee will not be a stumbling block for top-flight teams such as United.
His strengths include sublime physical qualities, link-up play and overall technique. Dembele's style of play is very similar to former United man Romelu Lukaku - though Dembele is more the complete forward who offers greater technical ability. The stance from the man himself is that he fancies the move either this season or the next one and the chance to play in the Premier League will further his opportunity at breaking into the senior national side. At this point, the Frenchman remains uncapped for his country though he has played at various youth levels. If he made the move to Old Trafford and started life upon Salford Quays brightly, Didier Deschamps' hand may be forced - just in time for EURO 2020 too...
Dembele would be receptive to a move to #MUFC and it is believed he would be open to moving in the January transfer window. [Duncan Castles]
It goes without saying that new attacking options are needed for United. Greenwood aside, the youth candidates available at Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's disposal have so far underwhelmed - hence why recruitment, specifically in the January transfer market, is seriously needed. Sure, Anthony Martial will return from injury against Liverpool this weekend, giving the Baby Faced Assassin another option. However, two players aren't enough in that department and both of them need increased competition to drive the pair forward. Increasing another high-quality forward would do exactly that.
Dembele isn’t the only forward that is apparently being targeted by the Red Devils in the winter transfer window. Mario Mandzuckic is on the verge of signing for a reported £9million from Juventus in January. The Croat would bring some much-needed experience to the position but Dembele would be viewed as the long-term solution. Not only does the Frenchman has massive potential to improve, he offers an aerial threat but brings pace and energy to his game; something that the target man Mandzukic doesn't have. Both players will likely fit into United's 4-2-3-1 formation that Solskjaer prefers to operate.
However, in a quest to improve results, the 4-3-3 system may be the way forward. If United land Dembele, their attack would be much stronger, not only in numbers but also ability. Marcus Rashford and Daniel James could be played as wingers, supporting the main centre forward - leaving Martial and Dembele to compete for the #9 position. Something else to factor in is whether there will be a managerial change at Old Trafford. This could affect the move as the potential new boss will likely have different transfer targets. Does this mean the board will be less likely to give the Norweigan money in the transfer market? Who knows, but the few months before then are looking likely to be a hard slog for the Red Devils.