Ahead of Thursday’s Europa League tie against Real Sociedad, the equation needed for United to make it straight to the round of 16 was crystal clear.
The Red Devils needed to win by two clear goals to avoid a two-leg Round of 16 tie against one of the Champions League defecters.
Instead, United ended up making things difficult for themselves and only managed to secure a 1-0 victory thanks to a first-half goal from Alejandro Garnacho.
Shortage of strikers
It was not the result Erik ten Hag would have liked, but it reinforced how important it was for the 20-time English champions to get into the transfer market in January.
United traveled to Spain without the attacking trio of Jadon Sancho, Anthony Martial and Antony. The only flashy options available to the Dutch coach were Cristiano Ronaldo and Marcus Rashford.
In the end, with United needing another goal, the former Ajax boss brought in Harry Maguire as an assistant striker. The coach tried to use the defender’s superior heading ability to score a goal, but to no avail.
🚨 João Félix has been put on the transfer market by Atlético de Madrid.
Manchester United are one of the interested clubs but they will not offer 125 million euros as they did last summer.
(Source: @La_SER) pic.twitter.com/R5OKcRjiOL
– Live News Transfer (@DeadlineDayLive) November 3, 2022
It is clear that the Reds need a goalscorer and that was evident even before the Europa League match, as in numerous games, United have failed to score despite creating plenty of chances.
Rashford has been profligate, off-field problems haven’t helped Ronaldo, while Martial remains an ever-present figure in the injury department.
A ruthless finisher could change the entire dynamic of the current team and the coach hopes to get one as soon as possible.
And it is that according to a report published in Cadena Ser, Atlético de Madrid will consider selling Joao Félix in the January transfer market in search of money to balance their accounts.
The La Liga giants have just been kicked out of the Champions League, which means a huge loss of revenue. Along with their plans to get stronger in the winter and for that to happen, they need to sell at least two high-value assets.
Felix the answer?
The Portuguese is his best bet because of the interest in the United player. According to rumours, the English giants had offered 125 million euros in the summer, an amount that they will not offer more.
The chances of his imminent departure are very likely due to the breakdown of the relationship between the striker and Atletico coach Diego Simeone.
The 22-year-old has started just five La Liga games and three Champions League games and has failed to impress the Argentine coach.
Felix could have a chance to resurrect his United career and he has time on his side to improve. With Ronaldo expected to leave soon, his Portugal teammate could be the one to enter.