Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is considered to need a proven striker as the very minimum requirement during the upcoming January transfer window
Manchester United should be looking to snap up Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic as a quick fix, says Paul Parker, with the Red Devils a proven striker and creative midfielder away from being top-four challengers.
As things stand, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are considered to be short of the standard required to secure Champions League qualification through their final Premier League standing.
An opportunity to bolster the ranks is, however, about to present itself.
Various targets are being mooted for United, with Red Bull Salzburg starlet Erling Haaland seemingly their favoured attacking option, but Parker believes an experienced Croatian could be a better fit.
Quizzed on whether a move for World Cup finalist Mandzukic would make sense, the former Red Devils defender told Express Sport: “If you’re talking short-term, yes.
“If you’re talking about someone who’s just going to come in, be a focal point, be aggressive, and hold the ball up – earn your fouls, rather than the ball coming straight back – then yes.
“But you’ve got to have good ball retention as well with him.
“He’s fortunate; he’s had a great career, played for some great clubs, but he’s played with teams that can pass the ball.
“You can’t just keep pumping them down his throat, that’s not the way, even though he’s a big strong physical man.
“So, for me, yes [he’d be a good signing].
“Other people go ‘no, he’s not Manchester United’. Well, what is Manchester United at this moment in time? What is the real Manchester United in 2019? No-one really knows.”
Pressed further on what Solskjaer needs from the January transfer window, Parker added: “Everyone has their own opinions, but I think everyone knows Manchester United do need a centre-forward.
“They do need a central midfield player that can create.
“They need a centre-forward, they need a central midfield player. That’s at least two players they really do need at this moment in time.”
Without those additions, and with ongoing struggles for consistency taken into account, Parker is struggling to see how United – who have slipped back down to eighth in the table – can rejoin the elite on a domestic stage.
The ex-England international added: “To be talking about Manchester United finishing in the top four, I really don’t see how anyone can think that will happen at this moment in time.
“If Ole can last until January, they’ll maybe allow him to get three players in, which will all have to be down the spine of team.
“Then, maybe they have a chance of getting that fourth spot. But, other than that really I don’t think there’s much chance.”
United will be back in action on Boxing Day when they take in a home date with Newcastle and former captain Steve Bruce.