Ian Wright insists the only thing stopping Manchester United launching a major bid to win the Premier League title is their lack of a focal point in attack.
United have Marcus Rashford, Edinson Cavani, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood to choose from up front. However, asides from 34-year-old Cavani, none can be recognised as an ‘out-and-out striker’.
Indeed, with Martial often preferred as their No 9, Wright reckons their failure to sign a reliable and fearsome central striker is all they lack to challenge for the top prizes. Little wonder Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was asked again about Erling Haaland on Wednesday.
Speaking about the situation on his podcast, Wright said: “Back in the day when you look at all the forwards who used to play for United, they were magnificent, difficult to play against and so good at everything.
“[They’ve gone] away from having a focal centre-forward who links the play, whether it’s [Teddy] Sheringham or [Andy] Cole. They kept the ball better in that area than they do now.
“Even when Solskjaer played, they had a plan once they got in there. They could play it into forwards, they could link, so the ball stays in an area where Man Utd can pick teams apart. It doesn’t happen anymore.
“Even with Cavani, he’s not that guy. He’s not that link-up guy to make that happen.
“That kind of clever, inventive forward play in and around the last third that Man Utd just do not do.
“It’s baffling to me that Solskjaer, who played in those teams, is not looking for forwards that can do that.
“If they’re talking about Mason Greenwood as the guy who they’re going to eventually play down the middle, it’s not the same as what United built all their success on with the strikers.
“I know football evolves and we’re seeing inverted wingers and wingers scoring lots of goals but that was a formula that worked.”
Solskjaer probed on potential Haaland swoop
“I think when you have had kids and players through as a coach you follow them,” Solskjaer said.
“I keep in touch with Erling – it is great to see him become the player he has become.
“He is a Dortmund player and we wish him well there. Let’s see what life will bring later on.”
Solskjaer was speaking ahead of Thursday’s Europa League second-leg tie with Real Sociedad. The Red Devils have one foot in the last 16, having beaten their Spanish opponents 4-0 last week.