Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal believes that there's one major flaw that has prevented his side from mounting a genuine title challenge this season, the lack of a striker capable of scoring 20 goals.
Van Gaal has the most expensively assembled cast of forwards in the entire Premier League, with Robin van Persie, Radamel Falcao and Wayne Rooney trusted to fire United back into the Champions League at the very minimum.
None of that trio have got going though, with Van Persie top scorer with 10. Falcao's injuries and Rooney's move to an advanced midfield role could be used as an excuse for a lack of goals by some coaches, but not Van Gaal.
Brutal criticism is spot on
Van Gaal conceded that the major difference between United and title challengers Chelsea and Manchester City was the lack of a consistent striker netting every week, conceding: "At this moment, we don't have a striker who scores 20 goals."
"It is true. Robin van Persie cannot deny it, Falcao cannot deny it and Rooney is not playing there much anymore."
Expect a new striker to arrive this summer
The Dutchman refused to be drawn on whether he'd invest in a 20-goal marksman capable of matching Diego Costa and Sergio Aguero, but did concede he'd have to evaluate this summer and make the right decision if improvements are required.
"It doesn't tell you anything about next year," he said. "They could be having an unlucky year. I have to decide, with my staff, if it is this aspect or others.
You have to feel that United will chase the likes of Edinson Cavani or perhaps Paulo Dybala during the close season, because Falcao in particular has flattered to deceive during his season-long loan spell.
United would have to pay at least £43 million to make Falcao's loan move permanent this summer, while Van Persie will have just 12 months left on his contract at Old Trafford by the time the current campaign concludes.
In truth the Red Devils desperately need an injection of pace and purpose in the final third, a problem Van Gaal must address by spending big if required to have any chance of being back in the title mix next term.
United fans, who would be your dream striker signing this summer. Should Falcao, Van Persie or even both be allowed to move on before next season? Have your say on the debate by getting involved in the comment box below!
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