Manchester United’s 2016 form-bubble burst with a shock defeat to Sunderland this weekend, further accelerating rumours that manager Louis van Gaal will be replaced by Jose Mourinho this summer.
This season, gossip about the club has either been particularly distracting, in the case of the manager’s position, or wholly uninspiring from a player recruitment point of view. So it’s high time that Red Devils fans were served a piece of news to genuinely excite them.
It seems that may finally be the case, as the Daily Mail indicates the club are preparing a £70m summer bid for Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The 26-year-old is in the middle of a stellar campaign for the Bundesliga outfit, scoring 20 goals in as many league appearances. He was also recently crowned African Player of the Year.
A lively striker that looks to stretch defences in behind, the Gabon star is exactly the kind of front man United need.
Anthony Martial has a similar profile to Aubameyang and remains one of the few forward-thinking players in Van Gaal’s squad that possesses frightening pace. However, the Dutchman has resolved to use the French youngster almost exclusively as a wide forward.
Should the ambitious bid for Dortmund’s prized possession pay off, then having both Martial and Aubameyang in the same team may force Van Gaal to rethink his style, provided he is still in charge.
After all, Leicester have proven how valuable playing direct and with pace can be, with the Foxes edging closer to an unlikely Premier League title.
With Martial and Aubameyang up front, United would have the necessary tools to replicate Claudio Ranieri’s tactics next season.
That would mean, of course, that Wayne Rooney’s days as an out-and-out front man would be over. More than likely the United and England skipper would have to move into a deeper role in midfield, although the soon-to-be club record goalscorer has indicated he’d have no problem with that.
Following their 2-1 defeat to the Black Cats, the Old Trafford club find themselves a 3/1 shot to finish inside the top four with Ladbrokes. Before all of the top four played each other on Sunday, the Red Devils were six points off fourth place.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.