If Louis van Gaal is even thinking about mounting a meaningful title charge this season then he needs forwards at the club who will score goals on a regular basis.
History has shown that Premier League winners down the years have had in their ranks a striker who’s scored at least 20 league goals during the season, with recent examples including Robin van Persie in 2012/13 (26) and Diego Costa (20) last year.
So far Manchester United have relied on a Kyle Walker own goal and youngster Adnan Januzaj for league goals and, following the departures of Radamel Falcao and Van Persie, this article introduces the players who have to take on the responsibility of consistently finding the back of the net for the Red Devils in the 2015/16 campaign.
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With Van Gaal’s apparent reluctance to sign another striker in the current transfer window, a huge share of the goalscoring burden this season will fall onto the shoulders of Wayne Rooney.
At 29-years-of-age, the man who captains both his club and country should be inspired by the potential prospect of breaking both United’s all-time goalscoring record as well as England’s.
Throughout his career Rooney has shown his versatility and technical ability by appearing in various midfield roles on many occasions, but this season Van Gaal has stated that his skipper will be United’s main centre forward.
His movement, power, immense finishing and supreme vision have made him unplayable at times over the years, but he was noticeably below par at Villa Park on Friday night, uninvolved in much of United’s build up play and failing to hold up the ball on several occasions whilst battling with Villa captain Micah Richards.
With this being said, it’s still very early in the season and there’s no doubt that once United’s talismanic figure gets on a roll, he’ll be difficult to stop.
Chicharito spent last season on loan at Spanish giants Real Madrid, with the high point of that spell coming when he netted a late winner to knock their bitter rivals Atletico Madrid out of the Champions League.
Football fans shouldn’t have been too surprised because the Mexico international striker became renowned for scoring late goals when he initially burst onto the scene at Old Trafford. The 27-year-old is a natural goalscorer, a traditional poacher and a 'fox in the box' who is clinical when presented with a goalscoring opportunity.
People may have forgotten that Hernandez scored 20 goals in his first season at United. He also started in the 2011 Champions League final and has more than 50 United goals to his name.
The problem for Chicharito has been nailing down a regular starting position, but the club insist that he’s part of the first-team picture and he has been an unused substitute in both of United’s opening Premier League victories.
If the Mexican can rediscover his knack of finding the back of the net whenever he’s on the pitch then he could prove to be a priceless asset for Louis van Gaal’s men.
James Wilson made his United debut at just 18 but he didn’t disappoint, scoring twice at Old Trafford in a victory over Hull City. Since then he hasn’t looked back.
He’s only 19 now, but he does have a handful of Premier League goals to his name already and the Englishman possesses blistering pace, good strength and fantastic movement.
Despite being prolific at U21 level, one thing that he has lacked in his performances with the senior team is the ability to beat the goalkeeper when he’s through one-on-one and a general assuredness and composure in front of goal.
As Wilson continues to develop over time, that part of his game will improve and the talented youngster could find himself leading the line for United many times this season, and in future campaigns as well.
Attacking midfielder Juan Mata was beaten only by Rooney in terms of goals for United last season while Dutch attacker Memphis Depay finished his successful spell at PSV as the Eredivisie’s top scorer, with 22 goals in their title-winning 2014/15 campaign.
Van Gaal has toyed with the idea of using Januzaj as a striker, but the 20-year-old is unproven in the role. You would think that Ander Herrera is United’s most capable goalscorer from the centre of midfield, having chipped in with eight goals in his debut season at the club.
Morgan Schneiderlin, whilst capable of scoring goals, is a defence-minded player and at the ages of 31 and 34 respectively, midfield maestros Bastian Schweinsteiger and Michael Carrick aren’t exactly going to be busting a gut to get into the box.
Therefore the three recognised strikers at the club have to provide some firepower and prove their worth, starting with United’s next Premier League clash against Newcastle United, if the 20-time English champions are to have any real success this season.
United fans, does Van Gaal need to buy another striker? Can Rooney, Hernandez and Wilson lead the Red Devils to glory? Let us know in the comments box below.
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