Manchester United suffered their first defeat this pre-season, losing 0-2 at the hands of Real Madrid in Houston, Texas on Thursday.
While the Red Devils more than held their own in the centre of the park, it was up front where they lacked that cutting edge with manager Erik ten Hag admitting that the lack of an elite goalscorer was the cause of the defeat.
Familiar failings have once again resurfaced this pre-season with the team scoring only five goals in four games with multiple chances going abegging each game.
United have lacked cutting edge up front during pre-season
The club are trying their best to bring in an elite striker with negotiations still ongoing with Atalanta for Danish wonderkid Rasmus Hojlund.
The Serie A side are asking for a lot of money up front and the Red Devils are trying to reach a compromise over the fee. Paris Saint-Germain are also chasing the 20-year-old.
However, Hojlund still remains raw and there are carefully laid out plans on how to slowly integrate him into the life as a Premier League footballer.
Ten Hag knows it would be unwise to solely rely on the Danish international and thus there are plans to alternate him with Rashford as and when required.
However, as the Mancunian’s display against Madrid showed, it would be far more beneficial to play someone else up front and allow Rashford to be his devastating best from the left wing.
The manager is trying Jadon Sancho in that false nine position in pre-season and it might become a feature of United’s play in the coming campaign.
It has been reported in the past that Ten Hag would ideally want two forwards and due to budget constraints, Anthony Martial might become the experienced cover up front.
Martial could be kept on as cover
ESPN have reported that United are looking at keeping the Frenchman as cover. It would be unwise to rely on Martial for the entire duration of a season due to his horrible injury record.
“United, according to sources, are also willing to keep hold of Anthony Martial as another experienced option at centre forward.
“The Frenchman is still recovering from the hamstring injury which ruled him out of the end of last season and has not yet featured in preseason.”
The club will find it hard to move on the French international due to his wages and injury record and keeping him as cover could be the best solution at this moment.