Manchester United’s nine-game unbeaten run came to a grinding halt on Sunday as Aston Villa thrashed the Red Devils 3-1 thanks to goals from Leon Bailey, Lucas Digne and Jacob Ramsey.
It was a horrible performance from United, especially after their recent form which included not conceding a goal from open play for almost a month.
Lack of attacking threat
Fred’s high-energy style or Scott McTominay’s physical presence would have been better suited against a team more visibly fresh than the 20-time English champions.
But one of the biggest drawbacks was the lack of attacking options from the bench for the Dutch manager to call upon as his side needed to chase the game.
PSV director Brands told ESPN that they want to keep Cody Gakpo in January – as they turned down Leeds proposal in August around €30m plus €11m add-ons. 🔴 #PSV
PSV always asked for €50m package for Gakpo. pic.twitter.com/dYTVnoIGct
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) November 7, 2022
With the absence of Antony and Jadon Sancho, United’s attacking substitutions included a below-par Anthony Elanga and Anthony Martial, who made his return from injury.
Cristiano Ronaldo was given the armband but his performance did not show any improvement as the Portuguese looked like a shadow of his former self.
He hardly pressed, was completely ineffective when given the ball and even more importantly, his presence meant the players tried to find him at every given opportunity instead of finding better passing options.
Marcus Rashford was utilised from the right in the absence of a proper right winger and he struggled in his least comfortable position.
And all this once again highlighted the need to acquire a proper goalscorer. Cody Gakpo remains one of their long-term targets and his price has just been revealed.
According to transfer guru Fabrizio Romano, PSV Eindhoven are ready to accept a package of around €50million for their star attacker.
However, this time around, the race will be quite open with many of Europe’s elites following his exploits closely.
Gakpo the solution
“Gakpo’s value will be close to €50m again. It depends on bonuses and conditions, but PSV always wanted €50m package for Gakpo.
“For sure Man Utd will face serious competition; English clubs and not only, it’s an open race,” Romano said in his exclusive CaughtOffside column.
Gakpo’s stats speak for himself. In 23 games across all competitions, the 23-year-old has scored 13 times while providing a further 17 assists.
United are desperately crying out for attacking additions and Gakpo certainly fits the bill. But with the Glazers’ stance of January spending, it might become difficult to sanction such an outlay.
Hopefully, better sense prevails and a goal-threat can be brought in, especially if the Reds are serious about achieving their goals this season.