Manchester United considered a surprise move for Brennan Johnson earlier in the transfer window, but opted against it due to Financial Fair Play restrictions.
The French forward, who reached the 300 appearance milestone on Saturday against, ironically, Forest, is impossible to rely on due to his susceptibility to injury.
Erik ten Hag rates Martial, believing him to possess a number of the attributes he desires in his centre-forward. Towards the end of last season, Ten Hag asserted United’s “best football” came with Martial starting up front.
Yet in Ten Hag’s brief tenure as United’s manager, the forward has missed a staggering 29 games through injury. The former Ajax boss has presided over 65 games in total at United, meaning Martial has been unavailable for roughly 45% of these.
Rasmus Højlund was selected as United’s chief target for the striker position this summer, ahead of a potential move for Harry Kane. Ten Hag was reported to consider the Danish sensation a “perfect fit” in his set up.
Højlund is only 20 years of age however; with only twelve months of experience at the top level in European football. His best return as a professional player in a league season is nine league goals.
It would be unreasonable, therefore, to expect the Dane to be the sole source of goals as a striker at Old Trafford. As such, the club had considered the prospect of an additional forward this summer; to help lighten this burden on their new starlet.
This motivation would have been the one which led United to look at Johnson.
The Welsh forward impressed at times in his first season in top flight football, demonstrating a commendable work rate and devastating speed.
37.31 – Which players recorded the highest top speeds in the Premier League in 2022-23?
37.31 km/h – Kyle Walker
36.70 km/h – Brennan Johnson
36.63 km/h – Mykhailo Mudryk
36.61 km/h – Anthony Gordon
36.53 km/h – Darwin Núñez
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) May 30, 2023
Realistically, however, the 22-year old lacks composure in front of goal, or the requisite creativity to compensate for that. His statistical breakdown on FBRef tells its own story.
Douglas asserts United lacked “…the time [and] the FFP wiggle room to go toe to toe with Chelsea, Tottenham or Brentford” in the pursuit of Johnson.
Really it should have been a lack of quality which made Old Trafford officials steer away from a move.