Manchester United make move for 30 goal striker, without signing anyone

Following the departures of Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao, Manchester United fans have been pleading the club to sign a striker who can score week in, week out. Even manager Louis van Gaal bemoaned the club “don’t have a striker who scores 20 goals in the season” last February. Though, not to worry LVG, you already have a striker who can score 30.

Wayne Rooney, soon to be Manchester United and England top goalscorer, has suffered much criticism throughout his career, both off and on the pitch. On the pitch, the criticism usually revolves around his finishing, or perceived lack thereof.

Despite the fact he’s averaged 20.9 goals per season at United, and scored 30+ goals in 2 out of the last 3 seasons he’s made 30 appearances in, Rooney is seldom labeled as a 20-30 goal a season man.

Why is this?

The answer is rooted in his inconsistency. From the 2004/05 season onward, Rooney has scored: 17, 19, 23, 18, 20, 34, 16, 34, 16, 19, 14. As you can see, Rooney’s tally is by no means inconsistent, but his ability to score 20 or 30 goals in a season is. This pattern is exemplified from 2009/10-2011/12, where Rooney scores 34 goals, 16 goals, 34 goals, 16 goals.

So, can Rooney score 30+ goals this season?

As widespread media reports, an early preseason lineup, and a lack of strikers have all but confirmed, Wayne Rooney will play as United’s sole striker this season. This provoked a thought in yours truly, “when was the last time Rooney lead the line?” Not played off another striker, in more of a number 10 capacity, but played as a true striker, leading the line.

When Rooney joined the club in 2004, he played in behind Ruud van Nistelrooy, then in a rotating front three with Ronaldo and Giggs, then in behind Tevez, then Berbatov, Hernandez, Welbeck, and then Van Persie, before being utilized even deeper for much of last season. It occurred to me that Wayne Rooney has never spent an entire season at striker for Manchester United. He’s always played in the hole, as a number 10, in behind, or whichever way you wish to word it.

Obviously, the further back a player is, the harder it is for them to score. Yet, people have still viewed Rooney’s goalscoring record under the guise he was a striker, but he wasn’t, he was playing as an attacking midfielder.

Once accounted for, the fact that he’s averaged over 20 goals a season, scoring 34 twice, is truly staggering. He hasn’t been United’s Alan Shearer; he’s been their Frank Lampard.

Playing in the number 10 role, Rooney has been heavily tasked with creating. It’s always been “Rooney, you get the ball to…”, not “you get the ball to Rooney”.

Whilst United have boasted some truly magnificent midfields in the past 11 years, who provided stupendous service to the striker, Rooney has been a benefactor to these midfields much more than a beneficiary.

Now, in his 12th season at Manchester United, Wayne Rooney is set to lead the line for the very first time, and the service is better than ever.

Not since ’99 have United housed a midfield with so much talent. Schweinsteiger, Schneiderlin, Carrick, Herrera, Mata, Depay, in addition the likely arrival of Pedro and others, make this Manchester United midfield the most talented since Rooney joined the club in 2004.

I’m no PhD in addition, but if add that kind of service to a man who scores 20 when in midfield, I think you get 30.

  • hollieollo

    Dress it up however you like, but Rooney is not van Nistelrooy. I have watched Rooney close up over the years and his first touch is dreadful for a top flight footballer. He cannot hold the ball up either. Rooney may well score goals, but so he should with the wealth of talent all around him. United cannot buy all these great players and take the risk of having just Rooney as their lone striker. What if he gets injured. Forget Hernandez; he is an impact substitute. Wilson, I fear, is becoming the new Cleverley.
    United need cover in the striker area. Maybe Depay could do it, but who knows. Pedro is an interesting player, but not an out-and-out striker, more a winger. People mention Benteke, but he faded badly at the end of last season and is not quite at the level required. Bearing in mind the dearth of top strikers at the moment, it will be difficult to prise away a top striker form any of the top clubs. However, there may be a chance to get someone like Lacazette from Lyon. He is more in the Aguero mould but who cares. He has pace; something we lack at the front. LvG is going to have to address this and not just leave it to chance.

    • Eoin

      I concur with hollieollo. United had professedly two of the best strikers in Europe at the start of last season (Falcao RvP) and granted with hindsight nobody imagined both of them, fail to deliver. It would be folly on United’s part to invest so heavily on the midfield and not invest at all in attack. There were two very distinctive problems that needed to be resolved last season. The first (which they have addressed) was the lack of cover in midfield especially evident when Carrick was injured. The second problem was that the two aforementioned players failed to deliver up front. I as many a United fan is quite aware of the extraordinarily gifted player that is Wayne Rooney but to rely solely on Rooney is farcical.

      The past few years I would of said no chance, waste of time but I think this really is the year that United should make an official move for Ronaldo. Ronaldo will score 30-40 up to 50 goals a season never mind 20 or 30. Also if teams know that the main source of goals is coming from Wayne Rooney then it’ll make his job three times harder with everyone marking him out the game. Anyway we’ll see. We could be totally wrong and Rooney, supplied by Mata Di Maria and co could well notch in a stupendous amount of goals next season.. in fact I have huge confidence he can but then what if he does get injured?

  • Hemedans

    rooney played as striker (number 9) only two season
    2009/2010 – he scored 40 goals (26 epl)
    2011/2012- he scored 37 goals (27 epl)

    and when rooney played as second striker (number 10) he scored 10+ goals and made 10+ assist. per season,

    since 2004/2005 each season rooney scored more than 10 goasl (epl record)

    the way we play man united, we need striker who can link well with midfield and that is rooney, another players i see is benzema or pedro..

    if rooney played as striker then player like di maria, depay, januzaj, young will score more. just do some research and you will see many goals from di maria and young last season come from rooney’s effort when he play in front.

    the only problem is when rooney get injured, we need someone as his backup and i think pedro is good choice.