Riyad Mahrez, the Algerian playmaker whom resides in Leicester, has taken the Premier League by storm so far this season. Scoring eight goals in 13 appearances – four of which came from the bench – is some staggering statistic, considering he plays for a side that isn’t known for conjuring up chance after chance.
It’s no secret that Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United have been struggling for goals, coming off the back of three goalless draws and a 325 minute goal drought. They look not only uninspiring in the final third, but also remarkably unimaginative, something you wouldn’t have thought about a Manchester United team.
In the past few transfer windows that have come and gone, Ed Woodward, Manchester United’s Chief Executive, and Louis van Gaal have attempted to sign the highest calibre of player there is: Gareth Bale of Real Madrid, Thomas Müller of Bayern Munich and Neymar Jr. of Barcelona. Each one of those prospected transfers have fallen through the cracks and United have had to resort to plan B.
With the declining form of Wayne Rooney, who looks poorer by the game, Manchester United need to start looking ahead as to who needs to come in and replace the playmaker.
The likes of Juan Mata and Ander Herrera will be competing for the number 10 position, leaving a gaping hole on the right-hand side of Manchester United’s team. Who better to fill that hole than a player who’s scored five of his eight goals from the right? That’s right, Mahrez has excelled down the right flank, scoring eight goals and claiming three assists. And it’s only November.
For the past two seasons under the Dutchmen, there has been much criticism over the lack of pace in Manchester United’s attack, especially down the right-hand side. By deploying Mata on the right, you eliminate the possibility to whip crosses into the box for the striker to latch upon due to the Spaniard’s lack of pace and ability to take-on players. Mata has always been a player to coast in-between the lines of the midfield and defence and deliver a splitting ball into the forwards feet. There’s no point changing his style now, at age 27.
That’s why, with Riyad Mahrez, you have an exciting, young player who’s wanting to elevate his game from ‘good’ to ‘great’. Mahrez has the technical ability to provide defence-splitting passes, whistle past players without them noticing – like Herrera and Mata do so well – and more importantly, take-on players to deliver an end product, something United so desperately need.
The Algerian international provides another dimension to the Red Devils’s forward line. In what has been labelled as an ‘impotent and lacklustre’ attacking display so far this season from United, Mahrez can relight the spark and provide United with some added dynamism when in the opposition third.
However, with a player that is also being closely watched by Barcelona and Paris St-Germain, Leicester City will not allow their prolific attacking gem to leave on the cheap. At 24, now coming into his peak, his price is at around £20m – something very affordable to the Manchester United hierarchy considering they’ve already spent £250m under Louis van Gaal’s guidance.
If United are to genuinely challenge for the Premier League title and oppose themselves in Europe, they’re going to need to turn this appalling offensive play around, and what better way to do it than signing one of the most inform playmakers in Europe.
My Big Man United Tip
West Brom take-on Manchester United at Old Trafford this weekend, and nothing looks as glued on than a bet for under 2.5 goals. Louis van Gaal’s men have struggled scoring goals this season and have only created 81 chances, less than Mesut Özil and Santi Cazorla. Meanwhile, there have been under 2.5 goals scored in 8 of West Brom’s last 9 away games in the Premier League.
Odds are provided at time of writing, please check your betslip to confirm they have not changed before betting.