Manchester United clearly need a striker. That was already evident before their 3-0 win over Bournemouth on Tuesday night, with Anthony Martial looking toothless at the tip of their attack throughout the showdown. But it’s possible the Glazers will now U-turn and allow a midfielder to arrive as well, especially in the wake of Donny van de Beek’s cruel injury.
Manchester United were too powerful for Bournemouth on Tuesday night, with the Red Devils picking up another Premier League win to boost their chances of finishing in the top four.
Casemiro got the ball rolling in the 23rd minute, opening the scoring by volleying home a pinpoint free-kick from Christian Eriksen.
And United then produced further goals from Luke Shaw and Marcus Rashford, ensuring they’ve won all four of their matches since the World Cup in Qatar in the process.
Unfortunately for Erik ten Hag and his side, however, it wasn’t a perfect night with an injury to Van de Beek casting a shadow.
Eyebrows were raised before kick-off when it emerged the Netherlands international, who has struggled to make his mark ever since his arrival from Ajax in 2020, would be starting the showdown.
But United fans were given glimpses of the player Van de Beek is, with the midfielder impressing during his brief time on the pitch.
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Injury then cruelly struck, with the 25-year-old forced to limp off in tears following a heavy challenge from Marcos Senesi.
The Bournemouth star clearly didn’t mean to injure his opponent but, after slipping on the edge of the box, caught Van de Beek - much to the Dutchman’s dismay.
United already knew they needed a new No 9 before the game, having lost Cristiano Ronaldo last month following his bombshell interview with Piers Morgan.
But, now, the Red Devils could do with another midfielder as well. Should injury hit another member of the squad in that department, it would be a tragedy.
Sure, they have Casemiro and Eriksen performing well in the middle. Both are regulars, whereas Van de Beek is not.
Yet the brutal truth of the matter is United don’t have enough established bodies to compensate in the event that either of the pair were to spend some time on the sidelines.
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Fred has his uses for United and performed well off the bench in the club’s 1-0 win over Wolves on Saturday, winning praise from Ten Hag in the process.
Consistency remains lacking for the Brazil international, however, who has blown hot and cold ever since his arrival from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2018.
And though Scott McTominay has shown signs of improvement since the appointment of Ten Hag back in the summer, the Scotland international remains a divisive figure.
United duo, it’s worth noting, still have youngsters Charlie Savage and Zidane Iqbal as considerations behind the scenes.
Yet asking either of the young duo to come in, just as the season starts to really get going, would be an unfair burden to put on their shoulders.
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The Glazers, for now, are insisting any signings United make this winter will have to be loans. Especially at a time where the club is on the market.
But with Ten Hag overseeing a truly remarkable first season in the dugout, they may feel obliged to give him one or two last presents.
Speaking after United’s win over Bournemouth, meanwhile, the United boss admitted he was happy with the result.
However, he also demanded more from his players while accusing them of lacking intelligence as they battled their way to all three points.
“I’m happy with the result. Today it was not our best game. We have to be honest, we didn’t play that smart as a team,” he said.
“We made great goals, but at times we were quite lucky, and some great saves from David [de Gea]. We could have been smarter as a team.
“There were big spaces at 2-0 up, sometimes we have to keep the ball and recognise when to go for goal. That is the next step.
“It is always good to win 3-0. It was a great performance for the crowd, with scoring opportunities for both goals. To win 3-0 is always good.
“We have to go from game-to-game. The next game is a cup one, but we want to win every game. That has to be the approach. We don’t want to look any further, focus on that, it will be a tough game. We need every energy in the preparation and when we kick off on Friday night.”
“We could have conceded too but great saves from David de Gea, I am not happy with that. It is something we have to avoid.”