It has been a strange season for Manchester United who already have one trophy under their belt (EFL Cup) and could win another one (Europa League) to complete a double for the season. However, it has not been as successful as many anticipated in the league, despite an unbeaten run stretching 25 games; this consisted of 12 draws and was less than impressive.
Manchester United have missed many opportunities to make the top four this season, they’ve also squandered a number of chances in front of goal. Hence, a striker is desperately needed at Old Trafford next season.
One name that has been thrown into the hat, along with others, is Torino’s 23-year-old striker Andrea Belotti. The former AlbinoLeffe forward has attracted a considerable amount of attention since he finished his debut season with Torino; he was their top goal scorer with 12 goals. He has since built on this impressive season by scoring 25 goals in just 32 Serie A games in this campaign.
He is known to be a lethal finisher who likes a battle with defenders; Manchester United fans love players who will fight for the cause. This is the type of striker they enjoy watching and if a move does materialise he will be a real handful, even for the most experienced defenders in the league.
With the 20 time Premier League champions in need of a new striker since their top goalscorer Zlatan Ibrahimović suffered a knee injury against Anderlecht to keep him out for a long time; Belotti seems a great option.
Although the Swede has scored 28 goals in all competitions, he slows down the pace of United’s play. He likes to come looking for the ball in deep positions rather than let the game build up to him in the box, which results in the attack slowing down significantly.
With that lethal touch missing and many games drifting away from United, especially at home, Mourinho has lamented several players in his attacking lineup and wants them to make their mark on games.
Players such as Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Anthony Martial and Wayne Rooney all felt the wrath, but some have reacted more positively than others.
That real lack of pace has frustrated the Manchester United faithful this season, and it has been evident that they play with much more freedom when either Rashford or Martial are playing, but the downside is the two youngsters lack the killer instinct of Ibrahimović.
However, in Belotti, you have a genuine mix of both raw pace and clinical finishing that both Manchester United fans and Mourinho will lap up.
He is certainly the type of player that the fans would love but he will not come cheap given Arsenal had a £56 million bid rejected earlier this season.
With Chelsea also interested, United will have to move quick and decisively to secure the Italian’s signature.
It has already been reported that Mourinho wants two strikers next season, with Ibrahimović unlikely to get a new deal and club captain Rooney almost certain to leave Manchester United.
This means Belotti will be right up there with either Antoine Griezmann or Romelu Lukaku. Belotti would improve the side dramatically with his pace and eye for goal. This transfer looks like it could well happen, so Ed Woodward will be getting his cheque book out and preparing to put a lot of zeros on it addressed to Torino.