First Team News

Man Utd: More questions than answers heading into winter break

It is fair to say that the January transfer window was a largely underwhelming affair for anyone of a Manchester United persuasion.

On the plus side, Bruno Fernandes’ long-awaited arrival from Sporting Lisbon adds a much-needed sprinkling of quality to the midfield area.

However, the glaring need to boost the squad’s firepower wasn’t really addressed with the loan signing of former Watford striker Odion Ighalo.

With United now heading into the winter break, we look at the latest state-of-play at Old Trafford and assess their chances of success this season.

United bosses still papering over the cracks

United’s 0-0 draw against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday left them 38 points behind leaders Liverpool in the Premier League standings.

That gap is a measure of how much the fortunes of the two big rivals have flip-flopped over the past few seasons.

For a club that holds the record for the highest Premier league attendance and a rich history of success, United’s fall from grace is a tough one to take.

While Fernandes’ signing is a step in the right direction, the current situation still feels like United’s bosses are papering over the cracks rather than going all-out to restore the club to greatness.

Solksjaer left frustrated on the striking front

Having allowed Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez to leave the club, it was clear that United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wanted to bring in a top-class striker.

Erling Braut Haaland was undoubtedly the number one target and his decision to join Borussia Dortmund was a huge blow to Solksjaer.

Edinson Cavani’s ridiculous wage demands were rightly dismissed out of hand, leaving United scurrying around to try and find a short-term solution.

Ighalo’s arrival on loan left many fans scratching their heads, but the former Watford forward will hope to surprise a few people during the rest of the season.

Time for misfiring Martial to deliver

Anthony Martial came in for plenty of criticism after producing another lacklustre display in the goalless draw against Wolves.

The French star has been eager to push his claims to play in a central striking role, but eight goals in 19 league appearances is simply not good enough.

With Ighalo in the mix and Mason Greenwood impressing off the bench, Martial needs to start finding the back of the net on a more consistent basis.

If he fails to deliver, don’t be surprised to see Solskjaer move Martial on next summer in order to facilitate the addition of a striker who can consistently deliver the goods.

Top four and a cup would represent progress

As the biggest and most successful club in the history of the Premier League, the current situation at Old Trafford is far from ideal.

With a six-point gap to fourth-placed Chelsea, the clash between the two sides at Stamford Bridge on February 17 could be a pivotal game.

If United can somehow force their way into the top four and win either the FA Cup or Europa League, it would represent a modicum of progress.

Whether that would prove to be the catalyst for long-term success remains debatable, particularly with the club’s owners seemingly lacking any desire to change the current status quo.

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By RedManc

RedMancunian is the number one source for Manchester United news, insight and opinion on the most successful football club in the English top flight. RedMancunian was founded at the end of the 2011/2012 football season. We hope to provide insight on football matters related to Manchester United and provides a sense of what the club was and is all about. Follow RedMancunian on Twitter - @RedMancunian