Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag will head into the summer transfer window needing to address several issues in his squad.
At the top of the list is the acquisition of a top-class striker, particularly in light of their recent struggles in front of goal.
Two successive 1-0 defeats in the Premier League against West Ham United and Brighton & Hove Albion have left the Red Devils in danger of dropping out of the top four.
They are two points behind Newcastle United with four games remaining, while Liverpool are one point adrift having played a game more.
While plenty of punters will still be willing to use no deposit bonus codes to back United to get over the line, they may face a few nervy moments along the way.
A feature of United’s season has been their inability to convert the plethora of chances they create, which often costs sports bettors dearly.
Of the current top ten teams in the Premier League, only Aston Villa have scored fewer goals (46) than United’s tally of 49.
Recent research by The Athletic further highlighted why Ten Hag must prioritise the signing of a prolific goalscorer this summer.
United’s expected goals (xG) figure in the Premier League is 56.02 (h/t Opta), which is good enough for sixth in the division.
This effectively means they are seven goals short of the target they should have hit – goals which could have been the difference between winning and losing in big games.
By contrast, title favourites Manchester City have an xG of 14.22, demonstrating how their forwards make the most of the opportunities created.
United’s conversion rate of 34 percent is the fifth-lowest in the top flight – a worrying statistic for a team with designs on winning silverware.
The Brighton game was a perfect example of the team’s wastefulness, with six shots in the first 40 minutes of that game failing to beat goalkeeper Jason Steele.
Marcus Rashford had the best effort, forcing a smart reflex save from the Brighton stopper. Anthony Martial also hit a shot straight at Steele, but he was untroubled by their other efforts.
United were at it again against West Ham, creating six decent chances in the first half-hour but failing to hit the target once.
Rashford had a quiet game by his usual standards, putting more onus on United’s other attackers to step up to the mark. Ultimately, they failed to deliver.
Finding a striker who can share the goalscoring burden with Rashford will be vital to United’s hopes of challenging for the Premier League title next season.
Man City’s Erling Braut Haaland has highlighted the value a world-class striker adds to a team with his magnificent tally of 35 league goals this term.
He has an xG of 27.03, meaning he is overperforming by a significant margin. As things stand, only Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane comes close in terms of maximising chances.
While £80-100 million is a lot to pay for a player who turns 30 in July, United would be getting a guarantee of goals if they signed Kane.
Whether he would match Haaland’s freakish goal return is debatable, but he would give United the cutting edge they are sorely missing.
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