Robert Lewandowski: How Would the Forward Fit into Manchester United's Tactics?

Max TowleAnalyst IApril 29, 2013

MALAGA, SPAIN - APRIL 03:  Robert Lewandowski of Borussia Dortmund duels for the ball with Martin Gaston Demichelis of Malaga CF during the UEFA Champions League quarter-final first leg match between Malaga CF and Borussia Dortmund at La Rosaleda Stadium on April 3, 2013 in Malaga, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images

The transfer rumour that seemed far-fetched last October is gathering steam.

Robert Lewandowski has been linked with a move to Old Trafford for the best part of a year, his performances for Borussia Dortmund marking him out as a possible signing for the forward-obsessed Sir Alex Ferguson (via The Guardian).

The only problem is, Manchester United currently have an abundance of strikers in their first-team squad.

For all of Lewandowski's abilities—and there are lots—is another goal scorer really the answer for team that has had no trouble putting the ball in the back of the net this season?

The Red Devils' midfield should be the biggest concern heading into what promises to be an intriguing summer.

Michael Carrick has been the only standout player in the middle of the park for Sir Alex's side—there is a need for a creative, box-to-box player to link with those in front.

But back to Lewandowski. Assuming that the United boss knows far more than us—and let's face it, he always does—just where would the potential signing fit into an attack that also contains the luminary talents of Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney?

This article will seek to answer that question.


What Lewandowski Does Best

Shinji Kagawa knows just how good Robert Lewandowski can be—the two linked to devastating effect in Germany before the Japan international moved to England.

The Polish forward is one of the elite players in his position in Europe and possesses the type of quality that any fool could have recognised before his four-goal demolition of Real Madrid.

He can be devastatingly clinical in the box, and is almost reminiscent of one Ruud van Nistelrooy in this respect.

Lewandowksi may not be as skillful as say, Stevan Jovetic, but his awareness and anticipation allows him to get into terrific attacking positions and get on the end of Dortmund's trademark free-flowing counter attacks.

It is his exquisite touch and control of the ball that allows him to evade markers.

In the clip below, he reads Marco Reus' delicate flick perfectly, deftly controlling the pass and beating Malaga's Willy Caballero in the process, before sliding the ball into an empty net:

He may not possess the most powerful right boot either, but his shots have a happy knack of evading opposing goalkeepers.

He is excellent in the air, often knocking balls on to advancing teammates in the final third of the pitch.

He is incredibly sharp in the box—watch his touch and acrobatic finish while playing for Poland against Andorra for proof.

Lewandowski is a versatile threat who has never looked out of place in Dortmund's pass-and-move, modern style of game.

But would he suit Manchester United?


The Return of the 4-3-3?

It would be easy to preface this entire article by stating "Robert Lewandowski would serve as a replacement for the departing Wayne Rooney." But this writer just doesn't buy into the "Rooney Out" rumours.

So how to accommodate both, and RvP?

Again, an easy answer would be to suggest an unlikely comeback for the old, tried and true, typically British 4-4-2.

Two world class forwards in van Persie and Lewandowski up front with Rooney dropping into central midfield alongside Michael Carrick—what's not to like about that?

How about this—the 4-4-2 is becoming an increasingly redundant stock formation that only the Stoke City's of British football keep alive.

For the Red Devils to remain viable, especially in the European game, there needs to be more dynamism.

United won the 2007/08 Champions League playing a 4-3-3, with Cristiano Ronaldo, Carlos Tevez and Rooney rotating attacking duties.

The three would interchange numerous times during games, inhabiting the centre forward and wide forward roles.

Lewandowski, van Persie and Rooney could be the new attacking trio to revive the formation that United fans have fond memories of.

Robert Lewandowski is often moving across the breadth of the pitch for Dortmund, inhabiting a more creative, playmaking role.

If it's one thing the Red Devils have lacked this term, it's imagination.

Naturally, there are downsides to the formation—namely Kagawa being played in a less familiar shuttling role.

The side's wingers also miss out, but based on Nani, Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia's form this season, this might not be such a bad thing.

Of course, this is just one possible scenario to include the Poland striker. There are others, even if they recommend themselves far less.

The Robert Lewandowski to Old Trafford move is still far from being done, despite rife media speculation every passing day.

When addressing the stories last week, Sir Alex said "If the right player comes along you have to be prepared to make a move. I can find room for anybody here as long as they have the required quality" (via The Guardian).

With Manchester United currently filled to the brim with attacking players, this would be no easy task for the Scotsman.


Would you welcome the Red Devils making a move for Robert Lewandowski?


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