Manchester United have arguably had problems up front since they last lifted the Premier League title in 2013. Robin van Persie was the catalyst that year, with the former Arsenal striker netting 30 times in 48 appearances in all competitions, but since then, due to a combination of United’s form, player fitness and some ill-fitting personnel, the club have struggled to find the right man to lead their front line.
Jose Mourinho was well aware of this when he took over last season, given that Louis van Gaal’s side only scored 49 goals in the Premier League last season and missed out on the Champions League on goal difference. The problem the Portuguese had was how do you bring balance to United up front? Wayne Rooney couldn’t be sold, but Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial had both proven that they were ready to play an active role in United’s immediate future. Mourinho brought in Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and it’s a move that has had its upsides and downsides; the 35-year old has looked his age on several occasions and his barren streak caused United some real problems in tight games earlier this season, but he’s brought eight goals in all competitions so far this term.
Still, with the Swede’s age, United arguably need to be looking to a future in which Rooney and Ibrahimovic are no longer at the club, so it’s encouraging to read that the Daily Report are linking United with a move for Porto’s Andre Silva. The 21-year old, who has broken into the first team for both club and country this season has scored nine goals in total so far this season; seven in the Primeira Liga and two in the Champions League. He has a release clause of €60m ( or £51.6m), which is easily within United’s budget, but of course, they’re not the only potential suitor for Silva. Barcelona, Manchester City and Real Madrid have all registered their interest in the player, with the Portuguese likely ready to sell next summer. As such, United have a big fight on their hands if their intentions to sign the player are serious.
Given that the report comes from Duncan Castles, who is known to have close ties with Mourinho’s agent Jorge Mendes and, subsequently will have the inside track on information pertaining to goings-on at United, it’s fair to say that this news should be taken fairly seriously. Of course, given the calibre of the clubs that are also interested in Silva, United simply wanting the player won’t be enough to get the deal done. As such, it should be interesting to see some of the continent’s biggest clubs doing battle for Silva’s services.