As the final whistle blew at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon, Manchester United were left rueing a missed opportunity to make it 3 wins out of 3 in the Premier League. Defensively Louis van Gaal will be delighted at the start made, with 3 clean sheets in a row and his preferred central defensive partnership of Daley Blind and Chris Smalling developing very nicely. It is at the other end of the pitch which is becoming a cause for concern.
United have only found the back of the net twice (1 of those being an own goal) in their opening 270 minutes of Premier League football and the onus quite simply has to fall on the lone frontman Wayne Rooney. His statistics so far make for pretty depressing reading: in 270 minutes of football he has averaged just 1.7 shots, 0.3 dribbles and has been dispossessed 3 times per game (as per whoscored.com). His pass success percentage is a disappointing 83.3%.
Louis van Gaal seems to have developed this undying loyalty towards his captain, which is in danger of being detrimental to the team. Wayne Rooney, to put it bluntly, looks way past his best. His first touch is shocking, his long passing slows the game down and his desire to get the ball has an adverse effect up front when he drops deep to claim it.
If United don't sign a top class striker before the transfer window closes, they will face another season without a trophy. But who?
5. Harry Kane
Last season was a real breakthrough for 22 year-old Harry Kane, as the Spurs frontman hit 21 goals in 28 starts in the league. He was awarded the PFA Young Player of the year award and made it in to Roy Hodgson's England squad, scoring on his debut.
Kane was linked with Manchester United and a host of other clubs at the start of the summer, but nothing became concrete. If he demanded a big fee (likely given his importance to Tottenham and Daniel Levy's negotiation skills) it would represent a significant risk for United, shelling out for a striker who has enjoyed one excellent season but is as yet unproven in European competition.
He was successfully nullified at Old Trafford both last season and in the opener this campaign. However, Kane is young so has plenty of time to develop and is capable of producing big moments in games. His performance against Chelsea in the 5-3 win last season was sublime; he looked every bit the top class striker he promises to become.
Maybe a little rough around the edges after an indifferent start to this season, but with attackers like Memphis Depay and Juan Mata putting in crosses for him, Kane may be a risk well worth taking for United. It's not like they don't have the money.