Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confirmed that the club are looking to sign a striker in the summer.
Anthony Martial has been in excellent form and hit a hat trick in his last start against Sheffield United. He and Marcus Rashford have both notched 19 goals so far – one more each would give the Red Devils their first ‘double 20’ season since 2010-11, when Dimitar Berbatov and Javier Hernandez got 22 and 20 goals, respectively.
Odion Ighalo has also scored consistently since joining United on loan from Shanghai Shenhua and 18-year-old Mason Greenwood has scored 12 from the right wing in his breakthrough season.
It is a rosy picture, but one with which Solskjaer is clearly not satisfied as he explained the situation at the pre-match presser for the trip to Brighton today.
‘You need competition for places at Manchester United,’ the manager said.
‘If you think you’ve got a divine right to be playing every game and are doing so well that we’re not going to look for players to replace you, you’re in the wrong place.
‘I’ve been here myself for so many years as a striker and Teddy Sheringham comes in, Dwight Yorke comes in, Ruud van Nistelrooy comes in, Wayne Rooney comes in.
‘We’ve always got to look at improving, and if they don’t improve, we might have to look somewhere else to get better because we have to be better.
‘We’re too far away from where we need to be and want to be.’
The boss threw down the gauntlet to permanent stars Rashford, Martial and Greenwood, saying they can improve.
‘I’ve always had faith in the forwards we have at the club — Mason, Marcus and Anthony. They’re boys who improve on trust, they’re good boys to talk to, discuss and sit with.
‘They know that I trust them, they know I want the best for them, but they also know I’ve got to make decisions for the team and the club,’ he said.
‘They’ve all taken responsibility at different parts of the season and I’m delighted with all of them.
‘For us as a group, it was time to allow our forwards to feel that confidence and feel that demand of playing and being demanded to play every game. That’s how you get to another level.
‘I think all three have had a good development this season, but they can be so much better.
‘All three, I’m still waiting to see them blossom because there are parts of their game that they still need to improve on’.
After losing out in the race to sign Norwegian striker Erling Haaland in January and with Chelsea having snapped up German ace Timo Werner from Red Bull Leipzig, the two most likely names on the striker shopping list are Lyon’s Moussa Dembele and Wolves’ Raul Jimenez.