Sunday would almost not be Sunday without bitter old Graeme Souness criticising Manchester United in his dreary newspaper column.
The former Liverpool man has almost become as famous for his scathing attacks on the Red Devils, especially Paul Pogba, as he is or was for his own workmanlike performances as a player and underachievements as a manager.
In today’s ramblings in The Sunday Times, mystic Graeme has informed us that United will not win any major silverware this season unless they sign a top class striker.
‘If Manchester United have finished their transfer business with the signings of Jadon Sancho for £73 million from Borussia Dortmund and Raphaël Varane for an initial £34 million from Real Madrid, then that is not enough investment for them to win the trophies this season that a club of their magnitude should be aiming for: the Premier League and Champions League,’ Souness predicted.
‘The signing required to catapult them into title-winning contention with Manchester City and Chelsea is a striker who guarantees 30 goals a season.
‘United must be in the market for a centre forward — for Kane or even Erling Haaland, also of Borussia Dortmund, if he becomes available again because, if we judge the squads as they stand, City and Chelsea are still ahead of everybody else.’
The pundit does not really explain why he does not consider Edinson Cavani to be a world class striker capable of scoring 30 goals per season, simply saying ‘at 34, you cannot rely on the Uruguayan being out there every weekend.’
New signing Sancho is also no slouch, providing 40 and 36 goal contributions in his last two seasons at Borussia Dortmund.
Souness then goes on to look for other potential problems in the United side and, lo and behold, he decides to have one of his regular pops at Pogba.
‘There are too many question marks over United. Who will be their goalkeeper? Can they get the mix right in midfield? Will Paul Pogba be distracted by his future? Will Anthony Martial, who must be on his final chance now, stay fit and in form?’
It would be interesting for a statistician to work out what percentage of Souness’ column inches are given over to criticising Manchester United. Some might say it is bordering on obsession.
United finished second in the Premier League last season and have added two world class players to their side. City may remain the team to catch but it is certainly up to Chelsea now to close the gap on United and not the other way around.