Marcus Rashford “is in the form of his life”. Right now every ball he strikes hits the back of the net.
He has been to the brink and back over the last 18 months.
The fall out from his missed penalty at the 2021 Euro’s was followed by him receiving the majority of the vile racist abuse aimed at himself, Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho.
He then arguably made a target for himself by continuing to speak out on social matters. And the more statements he released, the worse his on-field performances got.
This led to more abuse with many saying he should “concentrate on football”.
He was clearly struggling mentally off the pitch which in turn affected his performances on.
Under Erik Ten Hag, he looks rejuvenated. Scoring for fun and back playing with a smile on his face. But he is also in contract dispute.
His current deal was just to expire in the summer, but Man U triggered a 1-year extension. That would ensure his boyhood side would not lose him for nothing in the summer.
But as his performances improved, as did his wage demands.
Already one of Man U’s highest paid players, he wants more to stay. But that would contradict the clubs new wage structure bought in post Cristiano Ronaldo.
If he does not agree a deal before the summer, he will probably be sold.
Over the years, Arsenal have been linked with him on numerous occasions. And there was a time when I’d have said “let’s sign Rashford”. But if he is on the market this summer, Arsenal would do well to stay clear.
Rashford can not pass
This season Rashford has been electric. Playing on the edge, beating his opponent for fun, and scoring goals.
But when Manchester United are trying to build up play, it often breaks down when it gets to Rashford.
In the Premier League this season, he averages just 77.1% psd completion. That would make him the 21st worst passer at Arsenal.
Only one Arsenal player has started more than 5 league games and has a lower pass completion ratio – Keiran Tierney.
Tierney and Marquinhos are the only two to have a pass completion date under 80%.
Rashford scored a great goal against Nottingham Forest. He was also Man U’s worst passer with just 75%. And that has been the story of his season.
Playing on the counter, or on the fringes, he is exceptional. But if he is asked to get involved in build up play, he is sloppy.
And he doesn’t defend
Arsenal defend from the front, and everyone does a job tracking back.
Own reason we are top of the league is because of the work Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Jesus and Gabriel Martinelli put in.
They press the opponents defenders, but also track back.
Defensively Rashford is poor at both ends of the pitch.
He doesn’t put pressure on the opposition defence, nor does he cover Luke Shaw.
Bukayo Saka was consistently left one on one v Shaw. Rashford usually hanging around further up the field waiting for the break.
Attack is the first form of defence and Rashford (under the orders of Ten Hag) seem to think that by staying high up the field, the Englishman will pin back the full back without needing to track back.
Issue is Arsenal do not play like that.
Carried when not scoring
If Rashford does not score, he contributes very little else to the side.
He scored a great goal against Arsenal, but then was anonymous for the rest of the game.
Man U are playing with 10-men until he comes alive as he gets a sniff of goal.
No one is a passenger under Arteta. Every player has to be involved for 90-minutes.
We can not afford to carry Rashford
Poor man’s Mbappe
The way Rashford plays is not too dissimilar to Mbappe.
The Frenchman also hangs forward, wide left and contributes little defensively.
But he is twice the player of Rashford. And also plays in an easier league.
Mbappe can afford to play the way he does for PSG as they dominate most games. He could not do that for Arsenal.
Once this spell of goal scoring is over, he will return to the average player he is.
His form means that he will be demanding more money then he is currently on – reportedly £200k a week.
Manchester United are currently refusing to pay him what he wants, having introduced a new wage structure.
His wage demands are linked to his knowledge that he can move for free in 18 months and get himself a huge signing on fee.
If his wage demands are considered unreasonable by Man U, then Arsenal would probably come to the same conclusion.
Everything taken into account, you can see why Rashford is top of the list to replace Mbappe at PSG.
They will pay him the wages he wants, and let him have the attacking freedom he demands.
He will be a good suit for them. He will not be great for us.
Rashford, enjoy Paris. London isn’t for you.