Manchester United bowed out of the Champions League after failing to get a point, needed to qualify for the next round, against RB Leipzig. Sociedad qualified for the next round after coming second from their Europa League group, with Napoli coming top.
Manchester United now face Real Sociedad in the first-leg of their Europa League round of 32 clash next week. And they have a chance to scout several Sociedad players, including former target Alexander Isak.
When the draw was made on 14th December, Real Sociedad were top of La Liga and cruising. But a series of poor results has seen them drop to sixth in the league table. They have only won 2 of their last 11 La Liga games.
As for United, they are unbeaten in their last 9 games in all competitions. They were top of the Premier League throughout January. But a 2-1 loss to Sheffield United and draws against Arsenal and Everton, has seen them drop to second place.
Martial’s form a concern for Manchester United:
Manchester United have scored the most goals in the Premier League this season. Most of their goals have come from Bruno Fernandes or Marcus Rashford. Edinson Cavani has also contributed to their recent wins. Mason Greenwood is still young and this is only his second season as a first-team player. But their long-term striker option remains unclear.
Anthony Martial’s form has been a growing concern for United this season. Last season, he scored 17 league games and was named Fan’s Player of the Year. This season, he has only scored 4 goals in the league, the same as midfielder Scott McTominay.
The Frenchman has missed some clear-cut chances, most notably against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League. He has few months to impress manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and solidify his place as United’s number 9.
They have targeted Dortmund’s Erling Haaland and Real Sociedad’s Alexander Isak. Cavani’s one-year deal will expire at the end of the season. Solskjaer has some big decisions to make in the summer. Should he trust Martial or should he go for a new striker?
Isak Alexander’ impressive form:
In 2016, reports suggested that Manchester United, along with many other clubs were interested in then 17-year old Alexander Isak. They scouted him when he was playing for AIK.
A year later he joined German side Borussia Dortmund, rejecting interests from Manchester United and Real Madrid. His stint at Dortmund did not go as planned. He failed to earn a spot in the first-team. And a year after, he was on a loan to Willem II in Holland, where he scored 13 goals in 16 games.
This impressive form earned him a move to Real Sociedad in 2019 for just £6.4 million. The Swedish international has scored 8 goals and provided 2 assists in just 18 league games this season. What makes Isak dangerous is his ability to take players on. He completed three dribbles in Sociedad’s win over Cadiz at the weekend.
At 6ft 4″, he is also strong in the air and good at holding the ball up. Adept with the ball at his feet and possessing great physical strength, Isak is a nightmare for defenders. There is a lot of potential still to come from the 21-year-old. Matches against Sociedad will give Manchester United and Solksjaer a chance to look at Isak and possibly make him their future number 9.