Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp has blasted Louis van Gaal’s claim that Manchester United need a 20-goal-a-season striker.
Van Gaal made the comments prior to United’s 2-0 win over Sunderland on Saturday - a match in which Wayne Rooney, the third-highest goalscorer in the Red Devils’ history, netted a brace.
And Redknapp says Van Gaal’s latest comments are laughable with Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao all plying their trade at Old Trafford.
Redknapp on Van Gaal: 'Do me a favour!'
“When Louis van Gaal said he needed a 20-goal-a-season striker, I almost laughed,” the former Liverpool and England midfielder wrote in his latest Daily Mail column. “Manchester United have spent huge money and now he is saying Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie or Radamel Falcao can’t score 20 goals? Do me a favour.
“Rooney issued the perfect response on Saturday. I still don’t know why Van Gaal insists on playing him in midfield. In his career Rooney averages 18.8 goals a season. At United that figure is 20.6 goals. Still not good enough, Louis?”
Article continues below
Van Gaal's comments are bizarre
Van Gaal’s comments do seem rather bizarre when you look at the respective goalscoring records of the three strikers.
Rooney became the first player in Premier League history to hit double figures in 11 consecutive seasons at the weekend, and has scored 20 goals or more - in all competitions - in four of his 11 campaigns at Old Trafford.
Van Persie, meanwhile, has won the Premier League’s Golden Boot award on two occasions - a stat which make Van Gaal’s comments look even more absurd - and Falcao’s record outside of English football is extraordinary.
The Colombia international scored 72 goals in 87 appearances for FC Porto, and 70 in 91 for Atletico Madrid.
It’s quite clear that Manchester United have experienced goalscorers, although the performances of Falcao and Van Persie have been hugely disappointing this term.
Despite their respective struggles, Van Gaal has often stuck by the duo and opted to deploy Rooney in an unfamiliar central midfield role between December and February in order to accommodate his two No. 9s.
Rooney is United's best striker
The Manchester United and England captain was largely ineffective in his deeper role and has looked far more dangerous since being moved back up the pitch in recent matches.
The 29-year-old scored both goals against Sunderland on Saturday and also netted a penalty against Preston North End in the FA Cup 12 days earlier.
Rooney is expected to retain his place upfront against Newcastle United on Wednesday night following his match-winning display against the Black Cats, while Falcao could be benched, despite being handed a standing ovation from the United fans for winning a penalty on Saturday.
Playing Rooney upfront will almost certainly be Manchester United’s only hope of securing a top-four finish in the Premier League table this season.
He is patently a 20-goal-a-season-striker - but whether Van Persie and Falcao still are is looking increasingly doubtful.
Do you agree with Redknapp or Van Gaal? Let us know by leaving a comment in the box below!