5 Replacements for Cristiano Ronaldo at Man Utd

Tom Lever

Cody Gakpo - PSV

Dutch star Cody Gakpo has been heavily linked with a move to Old Trafford since the appointment of Erik ten Hag. The 23-year-old was close to joining the Red Devils in the summer, with the club agreeing on terms with the player's representatives. However, the deal was paused due to the rising transfer fee of Antony.

Since the summer, Gakpo has been unbelievable for PSV registering 12 goals and 14 assists in all competitions. The forward has carried his club form into the World Cup, scoring three times which makes him the joint top goal scorer. Although the versatile attacker is not a traditional number nine, he seems to thrive in a Centre forward role, shown by his recent header against Senegal.

Cody Gakpo would be an incredible signing for Manchester United, as he provides much more than just goals. His link-up play and creativity will aid his teammates, making United less predictable in attack.

Memphis Depay - Barcelona

The Dutch theme continues with ex-Manchester United winger, Memphis Depay. Having signed in 2014 following an impressive cameo at the 2014 World Cup, the 28-year-old could make a return after another World Cup campaign.

Since leaving the Premier League in 2017, Memphis developed his game in Ligue 1 for Lyon, which resulted in a move to Barcelona in 2021. The Netherlands international had a respectable debut season in Spain, scoring 12 times in 20 starts. Yet injury issues have halted his season so far, only returning to the pitch last week.

United may launch a bid to bring Memphis back to Manchester in January, which would be a cheaper alternative to others in this article and less of a long-term replacement. Depay has the ability to break down low blocks with his direct approach and ball-striking ability, which could be extremely important to the Red Devils as they struggle when up against teams that sit in deep and defend their box.

Joao Felix - Atletico Madrid

2019 Golden Boy winner Joao Felix would be the perfect false 9 for Manchester United.

The Portuguese international who currently plays for Atletico Madrid has accumulated three goals and three assists this season in five starts. Their number 7 has an abundance of flair and creativity, which is suppressed in Diego Simeone’s defensively-orientated Atletico side.

Manchester United know from first-hand experience just how good Joao Felix can perform. He was arguably the best player on the pitch in each leg when United faced Atletico in the UEFA Champions League last season, scoring a brilliant header in the first leg and showing how he is willing to work hard for his team with incredible game management in the second.

The Spanish outfit signed the 23-year-old for approximately £109.2m in 2019 from Benfica and they will demand a similar fee if they are to part ways with the forward. He isn’t exactly a natural goal scorer at this current moment, but he can definitely be a world-beater with the correct system and coaching from Erik ten Hag.

Dusan Vlahovic - Juventus

The first true number 9 in this article is Serbian forward, Dusan Vlahovic. At just 22 years old, the 6ft3 striker has become one of the top goal scorers in the Serie A. Juve’s star player has scored six goals this season in ten starts, which is two more than current Manchester United top goal scorer Marcus Rashford.

Vlahovic is a well-rounded attacker who can be deployed as a target man whilst still having the ability to be deadly on the counter attack due to his pace. He would be a brilliant addition to the United squad and would almost certainly secure them a striker that they would be able to build around for the future.

Manchester United may be able to acquire Vlahovic at a reduced fee, due to Juventus facing potential relegation, a reduced squad and even leaving the Serie A entirely, as the whole Juventus board has resigned amid an investigation into a breach of financial fair play and club licensing.

Victor Osimhen - Napoli

Leading the line for arguably the most in-form team in Europe, is Napoli’s Victor Osimhen. The Nigerian forward has taken his game to another level this season and he is on the radar of many European giants. Nine goals in 11 games makes Osimhen the top goal scorer in the Serie A, but it is his overall game that is so impressive, showing great maturity for a 23-year-old.

The Napoli forward has an incredible work rate and leads by example from the front, which would be perfect for Ten Hag’s counter-press. He is lightning quick and he will constantly get himself into goalscoring positions. With the creativity of Bruno Fernandes, Antony and Christian Eriksen, Osimhen would score plenty of goals for Manchester United if they were to sign the number nine.

The 6ft1 striker would become the most expensive African player of all time if he was to make the switch, but his fearless attitude would prevent the proposed hefty fee from impacting his performances.