5 strikers Man United should target if they can't get Griezmann
There's no doubt that Manchester United have toiled at the sharp end this season, and have struggled to see off inferior opposition as a result.
Last weekend’s 1-1 draw against Bournemouth at Old Trafford was not a one-off – troublingly for Jose Mourinho, it was their seventh home draw of the campaign that means they have a win rate of just 42.8% at home this season, their worst record since 1990 when they were 13th in the table and in the latter stages of a 25-year title drought.
United rank a woeful 19th when it comes to converting those chances – only Southampton (9.19) require more for every goal scored
It's not like they're struggle to carve out opportunities: United have created 343 of them this term, a figure that only Tottenham (352) and Liverpool (365) can better – yet they rank seventh in the Premier League for goals scored. They're a woeful 19th when it comes to converting those chances – only Southampton (9.19) require more for every goal scored than United, whose 8.79 per goal is some way short of the 6.71 divisional average.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, United have been heavily linked with Atletico Madrid’s French superstar Antoine Griezmann to address the issue – but an Independent story published this week has claimed that a deal is looking increasingly difficult for United to pull off. If it is indeed off the table, here are five strikers Mourinho should consider instead...
1. Andrea Belotti (Torino)
The 23-year-old is a penalty-box poacher in the mould of Old Trafford legend Ruud van Nistelrooy, hoovering up chances with the assuredness of a seasoned goalscorer
The rising star of Italian football with 22 Serie A goals to his name this season, Torino’s Belotti is keeping pace with five-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi for the European Golden Shoe.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has rightly been praised for his impressive return of 26 goals from 37 games this term, but the 35-year-old has also been guilty of wasting a string of potentially match-winning chances in many of the games which United have drawn. Indeed, with 17 missed 'clear-cut' chances this term, the former Milan and Barcelona frontman has been more wasteful than any other Premier League player – Bournemouth’s Benik Afobe is second with nine.
Belotti would add another edge to the Red Devils’ attack. The 23-year-old is a penalty-box poacher in the mould of Old Trafford legend Ruud van Nistelrooy, hoovering up chances with the assuredness of a seasoned goalscorer, rather than a youngster playing only his third season of top-flight football.
The Italy international, nicknamed Il Gallo – The Rooster – has attempted, including blocked efforts, a total of 80 shots in Serie A this season. With 22 goals scored, that gives him a stunning average of 3.64 shots per goal. By way of comparison, Ibrahimovic has scored 15 times in the league from 110 efforts – an average of 7.33 shots per goal – meaning Belotti has required half as many attempts to score as the veteran Swede.
Reportedly a target for Arsenal, Belotti won't come cheap: a new contract signed earlier this season contains a €100 million buyout clause for non-Italian outfits. But with his incredible efficiency in front of goal, the talented 23-year-old might just be worth it.