Man Utd have taken a “huge gamble” not replacing Lukaku, says Alan Shearer

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This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…

Writing in The Sun, Alan Shearer has suggested Manchester United have taken a “huge gamble” by not replacing Romelu Lukaku this summer.

What did he say?

The Belgium international completed his protracted move to Inter last month after weeks of speculation he could be on his way out of Old Trafford.

Despite losing Lukaku and then Alexis Sanchez, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side passed up on the opportunity to sign a replacement, and have just three recognised options up front. Now, Shearer has said the Red Devils have taken a major risk, and revealed it will place a huge burden on the remaining forwards.

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He said: “Gareth Southgate’s assessment that Marcus Rashford is not a number nine is spot on. Even this season, when Manchester United’s main striker Romelu Lukaku left, boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer plays Anthony Martial down the middle.

“For England, it is not a problem because he will never play there (up front) ahead of Harry, and Marcus looked sharp against Bulgaria from the left. It is a bigger issue for United because they have taken a huge gamble by not replacing Lukaku.

“Going into the season with just Marcus, Martial and Mason Greenwood is very risky and that is a huge burden for those three to carry over a long campaign.”

Too much responsibility

United’s transfer stance on Lukaku and Sanchez this summer certainly feels admirable. The club will be without the services of a duo, who were proven Premier League goal-scorers, whatever their struggles last season. Heading into the campaign without a replacement speaks volumes of the kind of faith Solskjaer has in his young forwards.

But already, the perils of having such limited options are showing. An injury to Martial ruled him out of the Southampton draw, and so the Red Devils had to call upon a 17-year-old in Greenwood to try and find a winner. Such pressure at a young age can sometimes be overbearing, and the massive amount of responsibility United have thrust on to their players’ shoulders is a real cause for concern.

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