Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho is reportedly set to prioritise the signing of a new striker over a left-back this summer.
After a season which was a tad underwhelming on multiple fronts, Mourinho has already started his summer recruitment drive with the signings of midfielder Fred and full-back Diogo Dalot.
United’s defence struggled throughout the past season, with Phil Jones and Chris Smalling proving to be unreliable. Eric Bailly and Marcos Rojo struggled with injuries, whereas Victor Lindelof failed to adapt fully to the Premier League after joining from Benfica last summer.
At right-back, Antonio Valencia was consistent with his performances which kept Matteo Darmian out of the matchday squads.
The left-back position remains to be an issue, however, with Ashley Young performing brilliantly in a makeshift role. While Luke Shaw repeatedly failed to assert himself last season, Mourinho seems like he will stick and prioritize signing a back-up to Romelu Lukaku instead.
But why does Mourinho’s decision to sign a striker over a left-back make so much sense?
Dalot is deemed to be a long-term Valencia replacement, and due to the young Portuguese’s ability to play on the left, it has given Mourinho a chance to forget strengthening the left-back position for the time being.
Lukaku shouldered the responsibility of scoring goals for United and did well in his debut season at Old Trafford.
The big Belgian netted goals, created chances, supplied assists and changed his overall game to suit the team’s style of play. But when it came to resting Lukaku, Mourinho was handicapped due to the lack of centre-forwards in his team.
Marcus Rashford often started on the left-wing and when the chance came to play in place of Lukaku, he largely disappointed.
Meanwhile, Anthony Martial was rarely given an opportunity to impress centrally. Such issues became prominent when Lukaku started the FA Cup final on the bench against Chelsea. Without Lukaku, United couldn’t muster enough spirit to beat Chelsea.
The over-reliance on Lukaku has done no favour to United and Mourinho seems to have realized the need for another central striker. In Lukaku’s absence, United have often looked disjointed in the attack.
Rashford is a centre-forward but due to Mourinho’s continuous usage of the player on the left-wing, the Mancunian has found it difficult to alter his game when suddenly presented with the job to lead the club’s attack.
As it stands, United clearly need a backup for Lukaku. After a season that yielded no trophies, it is time for Mourinho to learn lessons from his past mistakes.