Pace is something that Manchester United have lacked all season, and Louis van Gaal has tried to solve that in a variety of different ways. Angel Di Maria has played in an advanced position but has struggled with the more physical side to playing in that role. He has also given James Wilson a few games but the 19-year-old is still raw and is developing his game. That is why signing Alexandre Lacazette would be a good move as he offers lightning pace, whilst he has added goals to his game. Things changed for Lacazette when Remi Garde, Lyon’s former manager, decided to deploy him as an orthodox number nine. Previously, he had played in a wide position but once he was moved to a central role, his goal return went from four in 2012/13 to 22 in 2013/14. The other thing about the Frenchman is that he has shown signs of progression every season; he has already scored 25 goals and there are still three months left of the campaign. That sort of desire and willingness to improve is exactly what Van Gaal admires, so signing him would be a good fit for the club.
Robert Lewandowski seems to be going through a crisis of confidence at the moment. Despite Bayern Munich’s wonderful form this season, the Pole has only managed 13 goals in 30 appearances. This could be down to adjusting to a new style of play, or adapting to what the manager is telling him to do. But it’s clear that something isn’t right with Lewandowski. Dietmar Hamman recently said: “He was tailor-made for Dortmund and I think he’s tailor-made for two or three English teams where he can play on the counter attack on big pitches where he can run in behind. He needs to be involved in the game. In Bayern Munich he simply doesn’t get enough balls with the way they play. You need a poacher in Bayern Munich, somebody who scores his goals in the box, rather than a Lewandowski who does everything”. At Munich, he has played in a wide area and he was on the bench for their crucial game against Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League. This would have dented the confidence of a player, who scored 103 times in 185 games for Borussia Dortmund. Pep Guardiola has favoured playing with a ‘false nine’ in recent years, so if Lewandowski wants regular games and wants to be the main striker again, than a move to United could suit him. The Red Devils have played with width throughout their history and the 26-year-old is very good in the air. In addition, the size of Old Trafford’s pitch would suit him as he could make runs in behind. They will just have to find a way of convincing Munich to part with one of their prized assets, but a huge fee might do the trick.
The Argentine has been irresistible for Palermo this season but has really annoyed their president Maurizio Zamparini with his refusal to sign a new contract. Zamparini claimed the player had “bad influences” around him but Paulo Dybala obviously feels as though he needs a new challenge. Zamaparini recently said: “Next year’s going to be good for Palermo to be self-sufficient without the need for selling players, like this year when Dybala leaves. We’re going to make a great profit on him, but in view of our accounts, I hope it’s the last time [we are forced to sell a key player]”. This statement has put clubs around Europe on alert as they wait to see how this develops. Dybala has scored 12 goals this season but his overall contributions to the team have improved heavily compared to last season. He is more confident and he is demanding the ball from his team-mates, he is more involved in the build-up play, and ultimately he has added a ruthless edge to his game, taking the chances that come his way. Van Gaal will want to sort this deal out reasonably early as most teams in Europe will be interested in him, but at least the Dutchman knows that Palermo would be willing to sell.
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