In the summer, Manchester United will require at least one new striker.
When his contract expires, Edinson Cavani is expected to go on a free transfer, Anthony Martial might leave after spending half the season on loan with Sevilla, and Cristiano Ronaldo’s future at Old Trafford could hinge on the club’s ability to qualify for the Champions League this season.
Ralf Rangnick, according to MEN Sport, has misgivings about Ronaldo and believes he should not be leading the line for United next season. As a result, United will be on the lookout for a younger striker who fits into a shortlist of possible targets.
However, with three strikers potentially leaving and Marcus Rashford in poor form, United are left with a limited amount of choices up front, and even if they do acquire a new starting striker, depth beyond the first XI will remain a severe issue.
With United needing to reinforce in a number of positions, including right back and central midfield, the potential outlay for this transfer window might be significant, thus a cost-effective solution to Rangnick’s likely successor’s squad depth problem in attack may be required.
So why not bring back Danny Welbeck, one of Sir Alex Ferguson’s favorite players, to fill the role?
Now, pay attention to what I’m saying. Given the current status of the squad, bringing back someone who is already well-liked by the supporters to function as an emergency alternative wouldn’t be the most absurd idea.
For those who doubt this, consider that United signed Odion Ighalo specifically for this purpose, and given that the team’s Champions League hopes are far from secure given Arsenal and Tottenham’s form and games in hand, a player who can fill in for the dreaded prospect of Europa League games while the first-choice player is rested will be a necessity.
I know some of us haven’t forgiven him for attempting to chip Manuel Neuer in the first leg of the 2013/14 Champions League quarter-final, but what he does offer is an understanding of what it “means to be a United player,” which many fans have been clamoring for, given that he was brought up through Ferguson’s academy.
At United, he always gave his all and offered much-needed enthusiasm when the squad was sluggish, and this would, in theory at least, provide a positive example for young players like Charlie McNeill and Joe Hugill who are striving to break through from the academy.
In all of this, there’s also the classic Harry Kane conundrum to ponder. How can United offer promises to a second striker over their minutes if they sign a well-known clear No.1 name to lead their line? Because of Kane’s superior status above most players in the globe, Spurs have struggled to find a means to rotate him, and United would require a back-up alternative who is willing to accept that. If not, find someone with the versatility to play numerous spots.
Given his age and injury history, it may not seem like the most realistic choice, but with his contract expiring in the summer, it would be a low-risk option for United to explore, and even if he doesn’t score in double figures, he would be a safe enough alternative to rely on off the bench.