The New ‘Salah’: Could This Be The Forward Manchester United Need To Sign?
Ask a football fanatic to have a punt at which Argentine has scored ten goals already this season as we enter November, we could be here for a while.
The list of some of the world’s premier marksmen of that nationality is absolutely ravishing. Mauro Icardi, Gonzalo Higuaín, Sergio Agüero, and, of course, Lionel Messi have been lighting up their respective leagues for years, regularly topping the goalscoring charts with simply monumental numbers.
Instead it’s another less heard of name not yet currently a feature of posters adorning the soccer fan’s walls who has waded into the limelight.
Step forward Nantes forward Emiliano Sala, and like his semi-namesake Mo did for Liverpool last year, he cannot stop hitting the back of the net in Ligue 1 in 2018/19.
10 goals in 11 appearances speaks for itself as the Argentine has made the leap from relative outcast to most likely the first name on the team-sheet.
Sala is currently only second in the French top tier goal-scorers tally, having added to his record with a brace at home to lowly Guingamp this week, to now be behind only universal star Kylian Mbappe of Paris Saint-Germain.
At the age of 28, Sala has yet to even receive an international cap for his country, but is certainly attracting more and more attention due to his new season proficiency.
Even more startling is the fact that he was on the verge of being shipped out away from Nantes by new manager Vahid Halilhodžić before the new season commenced. Instead the Argentine has helped Les Canaris into the top half of the table. 77% of his shots on target have ended in goals. Nantes however will be wary that if Sala continues to rack up these numbers than unwanted attention is likely to arrive from elsewhere.
And there is one team over in England in desperate need of a purple-patch hitting striker.
The oft-bandied around stat that is doing the rounds at the moment is that rivals Manchester City have scored five or more goals within a match 28 times since Manchester United last achieved the same feat, all the way back in Sir Alex Ferguson’s last game at the helm in 2013.
Free-scoring was not expected when manager Jose Mourinho was appointed to take control of the 13-time Premier League champions, but seeing rivals wheel away with rampant has often left a bitter taste in Red Devils’ mouths.
Only two other teams in the top half of the table have scored fewer goals, and each apart from one of their six wins of the season have come by a single-goal margin.
With star strikers Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford misfiring, the onus is being placed heavier and heavier on the resurgent Anthony Martial to find the back of the net - as he has done for five in their last four league fixtures.
With United competing on two fronts in both the Premier League and in the Champions League, and about to begin a new FA Cup campaign, procuring a striker such as Emiliano Sala could prove to be a pragmatic, if not immediately alluring option. Currently valued at around £15million with a contract expiring in 18 months time, a January move could pay dividends.
Furthermore, with Nantes having finished in tenth in Ligue 1 last year, United would be unobstructed to select Sala for the Champions League, should they reach the knock-out stages, or either the Europa League if that be their immediate destination.
Though many United supporters are no doubt clamouring for a big-money marquee striker, unheard of bargain buys would often be a hallmark of the unmatched Sir Alex Ferguson’s era; Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Javier Hernandez, even Cristiano Ronaldo all arrived for relatively little sums.
Red Devils fans will undoubtedly be understandably cautious however; the last player who arrived at Old Trafford from Nantes? Eric Djemba-Djemba.