Manchester United have been linked with Harry Kane and Erling Haaland this summer as the club search for a long-term no9, but Mason Greenwood’s proficiency when taking on the role has given his side the luxury of biding their time with their hunt.
With Edinson Cavani out for their opening league fixture against Leeds on Saturday, Greenwood took on the role and flourished, grabbing a goal for his efforts as United thrashed the visitors 5-1 at Old Trafford.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be extremely grateful for the 19-year-old and has been full of praise about the young forward.
Greenwood has benefited from an extended pre-season due to the disappointment of missing out on the Euros with England through injury, but is reaping the benefits now.
Earlier in the window, Kane seemed to be one of United’s targets, but with the striker tipped to join neighbours Manchester City should he leave Tottenham, Haaland remains the must-have.
Romelu Lukaku’s move back to Chelsea eliminates another heavyweight potential in that position, but Greenwood can hold this own in the role until United can prepare the funds for the Norwegian striker.
Haaland may be worth upwards of £100million now, but a £70m release clause in his contract becomes active in 2022, and every club in Europe will be throwing their hat into the ring once that clause is triggered.
Solskjaer could be a major factor in convincing Haaland to join United due to the Norwegian connection between the pair, and another crucial element could be if Paul Pogba was to leave the club next summer.
Pogba is currently entering the last year of his contract and could leave the club for nothing just as he did in 2012, before being re-signed for a then Premier League record fee of £89m in 2016.
Although this would be a major blow, if Pogba was to snub a blockbuster contract offer from United, these funds could be reserved for Haaland next summer, who would be set to more than double his Dortmund wages.
Haaland continues to improve and his potential is frightening, with the Norwegian only just turning 21 last month.
It looks almost certain that Haaland will join another club next summer, with Dortmund continuing to develop stars before being sold for mouth-watering fees.
That means that the striker will be in a similar position to Lionel Messi this summer, almost being able to pick and choose where he plays.
Greenwood will continue to hold the role for now though, and although he may now have the physical prowess of Cavani, Haaland or Kane, finishing is fantastic, and already is known for having one of the deadliest left foots in the league.
If United are going to challenge for the Premier League this season, Greenwood will be a crucial part of their title bid.
Waiting a year to go after Haaland is now looking like an increasingly attractive option for the club.