Home » The case for Jonathan David becoming Manchester United’s centre forward

The case for Jonathan David becoming Manchester United’s centre forward

The young Canadian forward is currently flying in Ligue 1 this season

by Seth Dooley

34 shots against Omonia until Scott McTominay finally scored in injury-time. The Europa League fixture only highlighted Manchester United’s desperate need for not only attacking reinforcements, but a stalwart number nine.

Cristiano Ronaldo will definitely leave Old Trafford by the end of this season – if not before then – and Anthony Martial’s injury proneness makes him a too unreliable fit. The lack of options in this area is damning for a club who are aiming to challenge for titles soon.

Marcus Rashford has been thus utilised as a number nine, but the Englishman’s most fruitful spells at the club arose when he established himself as an inside-left forward.

United were heavily linked with strikers during Erik ten Hag’s first transfer window. Saša Kalajdžić, Marko Arnautović, and Benjamin Šeško were all rumoured to be in close contact with United before each potential move collapsed for various reasons.

Given his excellent start to the season, Ivan Toney has emerged as a key target amongst fans.

But should United be looking further afield – and with an eye on the future – when making their decision to buy a new striker?

Over the past couple of seasons, Jonathan David has developed into a supreme striker within European football. The Canadian currently sits atop the Ligue 1 top scorer table, with a tally of nine goals in eleven matches.

Still only 22 years old, David not only has a lot yet to offer, but has already become LOSC Lille’s top ever goalscorer in Ligue 1, beating the likes of Eden Hazard to the record.

Because of his stellar start to this campaign, Fabrizio Romano noted,

‘Jonathan David, one to watch on the market in the next months as many top clubs are following him – he’s now Ligue 1 top scorer with 9 goals.’

United are already set to be embroiled in a different transfer debacle for another starlet: Jude Bellingham of Borussia Dortmund.

Thinking the Glazers would be able to stump up enough cash to blow the heavy competition out of the water and purchase these two elite talents would be incredibly optimistic.

United spent a lot more than they had initially intended during the summer transfer window.

Pressure on the growing debt should also be on the forefront of the Americans’ minds before they seek to increase it by refusing to invest any of their own money into the sleeping giant.

But the case for the focus to be solely on signing Jonathan David lies here: he has progressively become better with each season in professional top-flight football.

13 goals in his first season in France, 19 in his second, and 9 in his third (and it’s only October).

His consistent development into a top-class level forward fits Ten Hag’s mould of bringing in talented young players who are entering their second or third professional contract.

David’s current goal conversion rate of 25% betters that of any United player. Ronaldo’s is a mere 7%, Rashford 19%, and Martial – during his most successful season at United – was 21%. Ivan Toney and Cody Gakpo – two names strongly linked with a move to Old Trafford in January – are currently charting a 26% goal conversion rate.

Furthermore, all of his goals this season have been struck from inside the 18-yard-box. United have been notoriously lacking a clinical finisher in touching distance from the goalmouth. Ole Gunnar Solskjær stated that all of United’s forwards only score beautiful goals rather than expertly poaching, an issue which David could instantly eradicate.

He is not only clinical in front of goal, but also when linking with other forwards. Unwasteful in possession, David has navigated his way to a very impressive 90% pass completion rate.

David’s willingness to work for his team cannot be dismissed either. Delivering one of Ten Hag’s most sought-after qualities, he averages nearly 18 pressures per ninety minutes.

Sofascore views David’s current transfer value at around €50 million with his current contract running until June 2025. Regardless, United’s need for a new long-term striker is, at this moment, urgent.

In keeping with his consistent, yet impeccable trajectory, now could be the ideal time for United to pinch David before European giants begin to bid big for the promising striker.

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