While Louis Van Gaal may be steering Manchester United towards a successful return to Champions League football, there remains obvious deficiencies which could ultimately come back to haunt them come the end of the season. The Red Devils are firmly in contention for a top four finish as they continue to pick up points despite not being at their best, but the current team is a shadow of previous Manchester United sides who dominated the Premier League for a number of years.
Misfiring strikers are not something that is usually associated with a club who have won the league 20 times in their history, but while fans may also have serious concerns over the level of concentration, organisation and quality in defence, Van Gaal does not have a prolific goal-scorer at his disposal. Wayne Rooney could be excused due to being utilised in a midfield role to cover injuries, but Robin Van Persie has looked a shadow of the player who fired Manchester United to the title in 2013, while Radamel Falcao has simply flattered to deceive since arriving on loan from Monaco. Signing a striker in the summer has to be Van Gaal’s main priority, irrespective of whether the club succeed or fail in their quest to secure Champions League football next season, with a number of high-profile names already thrown forward as potential arrivals at Old Trafford.
It is often frustrating in football to see a player with undoubted ability fail to fulfil his potential, but Alexandre Lacazette has finally come of age at Lyon. The 23-year-old has more than made up for lost time with a wonderful season in front of goal, with the French international topping the Ligue 1 scoring charts with 21 goals as Lyon have stormed to the top of the table. Lacazette has developed into one of the most lethal strikers in European football, with wonderful pace and an eye for goal attracting the interest of a number of leading clubs who may be tempted to take a punt on a player who can only get even better. Scoring an incredible 13 goals in just 9 games illustrates the wonderful purple patch Lacazette finds himself in, with each stand-out performance and goal adding more to his growing reputation and price tag.
Many have been left surprised that Jackson Martinez is still plying his trade in the Portuguese top flight, with the 28-year-old striker showing no signs of relenting in his pursuit of goals. The Colombian hitman has netted a hugely impressive 63 goals in just 83 league appearances for Porto who have admitted that their prized asset could be lured away from the club during the summer. Martinez has also made a big impression the Champions League this season, but as Porto are likely to demand a huge price for their star striker, the big question is whether Martinez would have the same impact in a major European league. Manchester United may have to move quickly if they wish to sign the striker, as rivals Arsenal are believed to be in the process of agreeing a deal for Martinez which would see the 28-year old arrive at the Emirates in the summer.
It may take a considerable amount to prize Paulo Dybala away from Palermo, but there is no doubt that the 21-year-old has what it takes to become one of the best strikers around. Dybala boasts an impressive average of a goal every two games this season in Serie A, and with excellent ability, skill and predatory instincts at such a young age, it is unsurprising that a number of clubs are queuing up for his signature. Despite his slender frame, Dybala has the quality to be a real danger playing on the shoulder of defenders and bringing team-mates into play by holding the ball up intelligently. Investing in his considerable potential may be the best move for Manchester United who could hugely benefit from signing a young striker who leads them to future glory.