As Manchester United conceded late to suffer defeat at the hands of Brighton and Hove Albion on Thursday, something that stuck out was the Red Devils’ desperate need for a competent striker.
United should have arguably put the game to bed in the opening 45 minutes but yet again, as has been the case for large parts of this season, Erik ten Hag’s men failed to convert their chances and were punished by the Seagulls as a result.
Antony had two clear-cut opportunities to find the back of the net, but the Brazilian was not able to get on the scoresheet.
Marcus Rashford, who has been in fine form all season, also had his turn to break the deadlock but could not rise to the task.
Anthony Martial came closest to putting one past Brighton but like his two attacking partners, the Frenchman was unable to beat Jason Steele who kept his shot out.
Beyond United’s lack of cutting-edge and clinical nature in front of goal, it was also clear the forward players struggled to gel and muster any meaningful or threatening attacking ventures.
Brighton’s defenders were largely comfortable, but a big part of that was because the Red Devils did not sufficiently test them.
Once again, as they have on multiple occasions this term, fans were left ruing the absence of a world-class goalscorer and finisher.
It has been repeatedly mentioned that heading into the summer transfer window, a striker is Ten Hag’s primary target.
On top of the United boss’s wishlist are Spurs’ Harry Kane and Napoli’s Victor Osimhen.
There is no doubt that either Kane or Osimhen would instantly elevate the team and enhance performance levels, especially going forward.
Osimhen in particular is enjoying a stellar campaign with Napoli who on Thursday night as United were losing at the Amex, were crowned Serie A champions.
Napoli came from behind to draw against Udinese and be named as Scudetto winners.
Udinese took the lead early into the game but Osimhen’s equalizer seven minutes into the second half restored parity to ensure Napoli won the title for the first time in 33 years.
Osimhen’s goal against Udinese took his tally to 22 goals in 27 league appearances. Osimhen is on track to win the golden boot.
More significant for Osimhen is that courtesy of his goal against Udinese, the Nigerian superstar has now equalled George Weah as the highest-scoring African player of all time in Serie A.
Both have netted 46 times in Italy’s top flight.
Victor Osimhen has equalled George Weah as the highest scoring African players of all time in Serie A:
🇱🇷 George Weah – 46 ⚽
🇳🇬 VICTOR OSIMHEN – 46 ⚽
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United could have certainly done with Osimhen when facing Roberto De Zerbi’s men. The 24-year-old is one of the best in the business with regard to finishing and his skill set would be an invaluable addition if added to the ranks at Old Trafford.
For club bosses, the manner of the Brighton defeat should serve as a wake-up call that there is simply no room for compromise when pursuing a striker this summer. There is little doubt that a player of Osimhen’s calibre would transform the blunt strikeforce of Manchester United.