Anthony Martial’s Manchester United is nearing its end. The Frenchman’s contract is due to expire in July, and he’s showing few signs of fight to ensure the club extend it. Erik ten Hag’s reported search for a striker to aid Rasmus Hojlund’s development is a damning indicator of the impact Martial is making – or lack of.
Express Sport looks at United’s four options to boost Ten Hag’s misfiring attack in 2024.
Stick to the veteran formula
Radamel Falcao. Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Odion Ighalo. Edinson Cavani. Cristiano Ronaldo. Wout Weghorst.
United have signed more experienced short-term strikers than those they plan to lead the line for years since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement. Hojlund’s arrival was a refreshing change in that sense.
But if Ten Hag wants a striker in January, he’s likely going to have to go down the same route until Martial leaves in the summer.
Mehdi Taremi and Wissam Ben Yedder, both in their thirties, are among the names leaked. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see a player in that age category arrive at Old Trafford this winter.
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Put faith in more youth
But it quickly became apparent that Tottenham Hotspur planned to play hardball, prompting United to look at Hojlund instead.
The Red Devils are reportedly interested in 20-year-old Santos striker Marcos Leonardo—an exciting prospect, sure, but with little experience.
Ten Hag is building a long-term project, though, and could favour an up-and-coming name over a short-term fix if he has the funds to do so.
Revert back to Rashford plan
In pre-season, reports emerged claiming United considered Hojlund a raw talent who wouldn’t be capable of starting every game to great effect.
He is starting every Premier League and Champions League game, but that inexperience is clear. United’s plan was claimed to be starting Marcus Rashford more centrally so Hojlund can be rotated.
Rashford hasn’t been producing the levels of performance on the left this season as he was down the middle last term, despite it being his favoured role. Ten Hag could be tempted to move him back there.
It would save money and allow Alejandro Garnacho to make the left-wing position his own rather than relying on cup games and substitute cameos.
U-turn on the Greenwood U-turn
Ten Hag reportedly expected to have Mason Greenwood at his disposal this season before mass backlash over the leaked plans for his reintegration caused Richard Arnold to make a U-turn.
Any whisper of Greenwood returning to Old Trafford after his loan at Getafe is bound to cause a similar negative reaction.
But by next summer, United are likely to be helmed by new leaders in the sporting department – Sir Jim Ratcliffe and INEOS.
They could take a different approach than Arnold, expected to leave under the new regime, and give Greenwood a chance to resume his career at Old Trafford.