Manchester United are facing the need to replace Anthony Martial, who appears to be approaching the end of his time at the club, with his contract set to expire in July and little indication of his willingness to extend it. Erik ten Hag’s search for a striker to support Rasmus Hojlund’s development underscores the shortcomings of Martial’s contributions to the team.
Express Sport explores four options for Manchester United to rejuvenate their struggling attack in 2024.
- Stick to the veteran formula: Manchester United has frequently signed experienced, short-term strikers in recent years. Players like Radamel Falcao, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Odion Ighalo, Edinson Cavani, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Wout Weghorst have been brought in. It’s likely that the club will continue down this path until Martial’s departure in the summer. Names like Mehdi Taremi and Wissam Ben Yedder, both in their thirties, have been mentioned as potential targets, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see a player in this age category arrive at Old Trafford in the winter.
- Put faith in more youth: While Ten Hag’s initial target in the summer was Harry Kane, who comes with a wealth of Premier League experience, it became apparent that Tottenham Hotspur was unwilling to let him go. Instead, United turned to Rasmus Hojlund, an exciting but relatively inexperienced prospect. If Ten Hag has the necessary funds, he may opt for a young, up-and-coming striker to build a long-term project rather than pursuing a short-term solution.
- Revert back to the Rashford plan: Reports in the preseason suggested that Manchester United viewed Hojlund as a raw talent who might not be ready to start every game effectively. The plan was to use Marcus Rashford more centrally, allowing Hojlund to be rotated. Rashford, who typically played down the middle last season, has not performed at the same level on the left this season. Ten Hag may be tempted to move him back to a central role, which could save money and give Alejandro Garnacho the opportunity to establish himself on the left-wing position.
- U-turn on the Greenwood U-turn: Mason Greenwood’s return to Old Trafford was expected this season, but backlash over leaked plans led to a reversal in decision by Richard Arnold. By next summer, new leaders, Sir Jim Ratcliffe and INEOS, are likely to be in charge of the sporting department. They may take a different approach and provide Greenwood with an opportunity to resume his career at Old Trafford.