metro: “Go and get Kane from Spurs. Easy.”
Roy Keane was met with stunned silence when he made that simple yet blunt suggestion on how Manchester United should go about solving their striker nightmare and save their season.
“What are you all staring at? He scores 20 goals a season with his eyes shut. They’re in disarray. Go get him.”
It sparked a furore of criticism from fans and other former professionals, questioning why Harry Kane would ever want to trade in a team where he is playing consistent Champions League football for a side who are at their lowest point for 30 years.
But he has a point.
Manchester United have done it before when they took Dimitar Berbatov from Spurs in 2008 or when they pinched Robin van Persie from Arsenal four years later. They may have to pay more of a premium now – both in transfer fee and wages – but they can do it.
And as if they needed any more motivation or evidence, Kane did something for Spurs in the Champions League on Wednesday morning against Red Star Belgrade that United have only managed to do three times in their last 24 games in all competitions: score more than once.
In fact, if you omit the freak 4-0 victory over Chelsea at the start of the season, Kane has scored the same number of times this season as Manchester United as a club and only five less over that same 24-game period.
But Kane’s performance was not the only bit of inspiration for a new striker that United were given from matchday three of a competition which, ironically, their lack of goals has meant they are no longer in.
Paulo Dybala struck twice in two minutes to turn Juventus’ drab 1-0 home defeat to group minnows Lokomotiv Moscow into a 2-1 victory in Turin.
It was a sterling performance and one that United could have been seeing week in, week out this season, had they been willing to stump up the cash.
The club were in talks for Dybala as part of a swap deal for Romelu Lukaku but wages and third-party ownership got in the way making the deal difficult, but not impossible.
But it was apparently too difficult for the club and they would rather go into the new season with 17-year-old Mason Greenwood as their back-up striker.
Instead, it appears United have reached an agreement for the man Dybala is keeping out of the Juventus side – 33-year-old Mario Mandzukic who is yet to play a minute of competitive football this season and who is demanding £150,000-a-week to join.
United have pushed the idea that they are not in the business of signing old players who are ready for only the short term, instead focusing on youth and working towards the future.
Would signing Mandzukic really do that?
He would certainly bring experience and hard work but what upgrade – if at all – is he on Romelu Lukaku, who was allowed to leave during the transfer window and has already scored eight times this season – more than Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial combined.
For Liverpool to get back to the top they had to pay a world-record price for a goalkeeper and a centre back, as well, at the time, being perceived to have spent over the odds on the likes of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah. Naby Keita didn’t come cheaply either.
So while Daniel James at £15m is the sort of bargain signing United are currently looking for, as good as he has been, he alone is not enough. And to get the sort of strikers they need, they have to be prepared to pay for it. Even with the extra Manchester United premium.
In football, money talks and you can get anything if you’re willing to pay enough for it. Even Harry Kane.
Source: Published by metro