Fifteen points separate leaders Chelsea from sixth-placed Manchester United in the Premier League table, but the Red Devils’ poor form cannot be put down to a lack of quality in their forward line.
That’s because, on paper at least, the reigning Premier League champions possess the fiercest front four in England’s top division.
Never mind Arsenal’s front four of Mesut Ozil, Santi Cazorla, Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud; or Manchester City’s quartet featuring David Silva, Samir Nasri, Sergio Aguero and Alvaro Negredo; or even Eden Hazard, Oscar, Willian and Samuel Eto’o at Chelsea.
Manchester United’s fearsome front four comprised of Juan Mata, Adnan Januzaj, Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie is the best of the bunch.
The latter four are still gelling as a unit, following the arrival of £37.1m club-record signing Mata from Chelsea, who inexplicably strengthened their rivals by selling the Red Devils the diminutive playmaker last month.
However, when it finally clicks - which could, realistically, be as late as the start of next season - the goals will inevitably begin to flow.
What United boss David Moyes must do - and this is absolutely imperative - is strengthen the club’s dreadful midfield.
Tom Cleverley must be moved on - he’s not of sufficient quality; Moyes should also seriously consider phasing out the ageing Michael Carrick, who is in the early stages of decline, while Marouane Fellaini always looks more dangerous in a more advanced position on the pitch.
And with Anderson also set to leave Old Trafford on a permanent deal this summer, central midfield is the area Moyes is expected to strengthen with the acquisition of at least one high-profile name.
Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal, Bayern Munich’s Paul Scholes clone Toni Kroos and Borussia Dortmund’s injury-hit star Ilkay Gundogan have all been linked with a move to United in recent months - and any one of this trio, including Gundogan if it’s proven there are no long-term concerns with his back problem, would be an excellent addition to the side.
This is the calibre of midfielder than United must pursue, even if some claim that the Red Devils now lack the pulling power of Europe’s elite after a terrible debut season under Moyes.
But the United boss is spot on when he says that the world’s best players still want to join Manchester United, who remain - and always will be - one of the most prestigious names in football.
With a new-look midfield, a sufficient replacement for club captain Nemanja Vidic and, of course, that extraordinary front four - the Red Devils will be back to make a few people eat their words next season.
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