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Attacking Options: Manchester United need to find a right-winger to strengthen the attack

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has a big summer transfer window ahead of him, despite working as a pundit for Russia television during the FIFA World Cup this summer, also having to prepare for the pre-season tour of the United States of America with many of his senior players out of action, for some, most, or all of the tour because of their participation in the World Cup. Mourinho needs to strengthen his squad this summer, correctly, in order to make up the distance Manchester City have gained on them this season.

At the end of the season, Mourinho needed to strengthen his defence, the midfield, and the attack, in different areas, in order to give Pep Guardiola’s side a run for their money in the battle for the Premier League title next season. Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool, Chelsea, and Arsenal will also strengthen to ensure they are better placed next season, so for all, it will be a tough summer, even for Guardiola. The area up for discussion here is the attack…

When you look at the attacking players United have in their squad, it makes you wonder why they have not scored more goals over the past season. Romelu Lukaku, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Alexis Sanchez, Jesse Lingard, and Juan Mata are all considered players to score or even create goals. Lukaku scored 27 goals in his debut season for United and both Martial and Rashford failed to convince at times, at least consistently. Sanchez, despite performing all over the pitch, did not play too well for United.

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Martial has been a player who has been linked with a move away from United this summer, especially after not being picked by France for the FIFA World Cup in Russia, of which the blame has been attributed to Mourinho, not Martial. Leroy Sane did not make the Germany side but nobody has blamed Pep Guardiola for that. I guess it shows how pathetic Martial FC are. Martial needs to follow Mourinho’s instructions if he is to play more. When asked to drop back and up the numbers when a team attacked, Martial seldom got involved.

He only has himself to blame for his downfall. You either play to the manager’s instructions or you don’t play at all. Martial, when he has played recently, did not look all that bothered in getting involved. In the Emirates FA Cup final against Chelsea, he was very poor, yet some think he is the best footballer on the planet. I’m not sure how that works to be honest. Martial is a talented player but the attitude problem, which was first reared under Louis van Gaal and continued, at times, under Mourinho, is a major factor the player needs to resolve himself.

Mourinho has been linked with West Ham United’s Marko Arnautovic, but the London club expects £50 million for the player this summer, which puts his move to United, if there was real interest, at a permanent stop. Mario Mandzukic is another who has been linked to United. Over the past few weeks, there was a lot of speculation but that seems to have died down. The player is seeking an exit from Juventus for a new challenge in the Premier League, apparently, but nothing seems to be happening there, for now at least.

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Mourinho, at the start of the summer, was expected to sign a new right-back, a central defender, a left-back, two central midfielders and possibly an attacking player. The Independent on Thursday reported that Mourinho would not seek a new left-back in order to bring in some cover for Lukaku, as let’s face it, Martial is not helping himself by showing his ability, which in turn would put him back into the starting XI and Rashford, despite scoring twice against Liverpool in April, did not seem like a striker when Lukaku was injured at the end of the season.

Rashford is a talent and despite scoring a stunning goal for England against Costa Rica at Elland Road on Thursday evening, suggesting he’s ready to take the place of Lukaku, who offers a lot more than Rashford up front, is only something the anti-Mourinho so-called supporters will postulate, as that is what their minds think about all the time, discontent, discontent, discontent. Perhaps they should be given the reigns and left to show how great they would be as managers – that is pure sarcasm, playing FIFA is not experience when it comes to proper management.

One of the areas that United have been lacking is the right-wing position. Despite having Rashford, Mata, Lingard, Martial and even Sanchez playing in that position, none of them have performed which to me, suggests that none of these players should be utilised in this position. United needed a right-winger under Van Gaal and were seemingly after Pedro from Barcelona, but United did not move for the Spaniard and he signed for Chelsea. This is an important position and one that should be filled this summer.

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There are many players who could occupy the right-wing role. Andreas Pereira has returned to the club from his forced season-long loan spell with Valencia. Tahith Chong has been performing at U18 and U23 level and could be a shoe-in in this position, also Nishan Burkart is a player who could play in this position. Only Pereira has experience playing at first team level though, so perhaps the first opportunity could be given to him. Mourinho played him as a central midfielder during pre-season last summer, but he played as an attacking player at Valencia at times.

United have been linked to Benfica’s Anderson Talisca who has spent the past two seasons with Turkish side Besiktas. There is an agreement for the Turkish side to buy the player, which was mentioned in his loan contract, providing they pay a set fee. Reports coming from Portugal suggest that United have made a £35 million offer for Talisca, which had been reported last month, but since United have signed Diogo Dalot and reached an agreement for Fred, the talk of Talisca seems to be somewhat stagnant.

Talisca seems to be another Wesley Sneijder or a Nicolas Gaitan. Both players were linked with United summer after summer but neither player for United, ever. Gaitan was a Benfica player, so there is some similarity and it feels like this is that saga all over again. Benfica mentioning United to drum up interest in a player that they clearly do not want, aiming to reap as much cash as they can. You can almost hear them screaming in the marketplace, ‘Manchester United want Talisca, so if you move quickly, you can get a great player here’. It just doesn’t wash with me.

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Mourinho and Ed Woodward will know what is needed this summer. If an attacking player is brought in, I would figure that it would be a player who can play in a certain position. Mourinho has stated that Martial, if he remains at United, would play a more central role at times next season, which is what Martial FC want as they seem to deny that Martial played on the left-wing at Monaco and for France, seemingly stating that Mourinho changed his position, despite Louis van Gaal playing him in the same position some years before. He did play as a striker though, at times.

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