Louis Saha: Manchester United need a new striker

There are many holes that seem to be in need of plugging for Louis van Gaal this summer. He needs to look to purchase at least one new Centre Back and the same for central midfield. These two positions seem to have taken priority (along with the seemingly inevitable need for a new Goalkeeper) but there is a problem that seems to have been overlooked until more recently, and Louis Saha is someone that has noticed.

The Frenchman and former Manchester United striker has not only spoken out about the need for a World Class striker, but identified a target for the Dutchman in Lyons’ Alexandre Lacazette. Speaking to the Manchester Evening News, Saha expressed his uncertainty at signing a big name to fill the role and that someone who is not normally considered part of the frey could be the way to go.

“So yes, I would say that a big name [like Falcao] is not something that is always good for a manager’s experience. Maybe a bit more speed than before, to put the defenders on their toes a bit more and to get behind defenders.

“Could Lacazette thrive at United? I think so, it’s obvious he’s done really well in France, he’s scored many, many goals because he can threaten behind, he can score from far, he’s a very clever player.”

It’s clear that Saha believes the think United were lacking last season was penetration, the speed to get in behind defences regularly. And he is right, that was lacking. Radamel Falcao was ineffective in the area he used to be devastatingly ruthless. It left Van Gaal needing to use more direct tactics to unlock defences, whilst relying on Wayne Rooney (for example) to drop in deeper and make the play in front of the defence.

Signing the right brand of striker is absolutely vital, and completely dependent on how the Manager wishes to go tactically next season – it could serve as a rather sizeable insight into the style of play in the approaching campaign. Take two names Manchester United have been linked with; Christian Benteke (a brute force, monster of a striker) and Alexandre Lacazette (pacey, skillful), and you will see how the pendulum could swing either way.

A new striker could hold equally as much importance as a new centre midfielder or central defender, as a lack of goals will obviously result in a lack of wins. So getting the right player is absolutely essential, as relying on the strikers currently at the club is a very risky game to play. Wayne Rooney is the obvious go-to-guy, with James Wilson arguably the most likely deputy (assuming, of course, he isn’t loaned out). Robin van Persie appears to be leaving the club, and Javier Hernandez had been left wanting in the seasons before his loan to Madrid, and didn’t do much to convince he was still a threat.

Taking the two examples I offered up, my preference is towards Benteke. I base it solely on having watched Benteke more than Lacazette, and that I know he has the Premier League experience that cuts out the uncertain bedding in period. It also offers more variation as he and Marouane Fellaini can be rotated as the target man. However, the word on the street is Lacazette is energetic and exciting, and that is not something I will ever turn my nose up at.

Whomever it is that Louis van Gaal decides he wants will have a job on their hands, and perhaps just one may not be enough to fix the problem with a far denser fixture list in prospect. It certainly won’t be enough to ignore the problem and hope it fixes itself, that could prove fatal.


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