Former Manchester United captain Bryan Robson believes Jose Mourinho should try to bring Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez to Old Trafford this summer.
The 28-year-old Chile forward was Arsenal’s player of the season, top scorer and man of the match in the FA Cup final win over Chelsea but has not looked happy at the Emirates Stadium in recent months.
United, on the other hand, struggled for goals all term and there are growing doubts that their leading scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who missed the end of the campaign with a bad knee injury, will be given another contract.
England’s most successful club have been linked with several attacking players, most notably Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann, although that interest is understood to have now cooled.
Having watched his former club squander chances all season, Robson is convinced there is a tried-and-tested Premier League performer who is available and would grace the United shirt.
“(Sanchez) has played at a club like Arsenal, so he can handle the pressure, that’s 100 per cent guaranteed,” Robson said.
“His character is right, he’s a tough player, he’s really skillful, he works hard for the team, he can score and he create goals.
“When you put that package together, he is the type we would like here. Whether we can achieve that or Mourinho thinks the same… people always have different opinions on players.”
United’s manager is believed to be looking for an out-and-out striker, which may mean the more creative and versatile Sanchez does not quite fit the bill.
But the former Barcelona star can play through the middle and there is no doubting his eye for goal, having scored 72 in 145 appearances for Arsenal and 30 in all competitions last season.
Robson, a global ambassador for United, believes Mourinho needs to take a leaf out of former manager Sir Alex Ferguson’s book by having four “really good strikers who are in competition with each other for games”.
It is a point his former team-mate Gary Pallister agrees with, particularly after watching United draw 10 home games.
“It’s been our Achilles heel this season,” the former defender said. “We’ve enjoyed a lot of possession and played well enough to win games but, for whatever reason, we haven’t.
“We’ve come up against goalies playing well and we’ve missed a lot of chances, too, which the manager has talked about. It’s something he’ll want to address next year.”
Both Robson and Pallister believe 19-year-old Marcus Rashford will be part of the solution next term.
Pallister said: “I think he’s got a bright future and he really came on in the second half of the season. There’s no way they’d let him go out on loan – he’s too good a player and too important to Manchester United.”
Robson urged the Manchester-born teenager to keep working on his finishing.
“Marcus has scored goals at every level he’s come into and he was brilliant in his first season for the first team,” the former England skipper said.
“But young lads can have those little dips. He’s done well but he can do better. It’s just confidence and practice.”
The same can be said of Anthony Martial, the 21-year-old Frenchman whose form evaporated last season after a good start to his United career under Mourinho’s predecessor Louis van Gaal. Rashford scored only five Premier League goals last season and Martial four.
But, as Pallister pointed out, Rashford’s form improved and Mourinho appears to like him. Martial’s future looks less certain.
There are also doubts about where United’s record goal-scorer and club captain Wayne Rooney will be next season, after a campaign that saw him make only 25 starts, scoring just eight goals.
Robson, however, thinks he should stay.
“I’ve heard that Mourinho wants him to stay and it would cost a hell of a lot of money if we were to bring in two strikers to the club,” he said.
“I would like Wayne to stay. He hasn’t had such a great season but he still has unbelievable ability and he’s also good for the kids.”
Only Tottenham conceded fewer goals than United last season, which would suggest there is little wrong in defence at Old Trafford, but there is one player Pallister would like to see back at the club.
“I think it’s great that Michael Keane could leave this club and perhaps come back,” he said, referring to the former United academy player who joined Burnley in 2015 after failing to break into the first team.
“Being told you are going to leave here is hard to take but I think the decision was 50-50 as he thought he wasn’t going to get games. It was no sleight on him and he’s gone away and proved himself.
“His two England games were fantastic and he’s pushed himself back to the fore. He’ll have been disappointed to leave but he’s answered all those questions about whether he can play in the Premier League or for his country.
“If the next step is to come back, well, he certainly knows the place and I imagine he’d be very comfortable here.”