5 Striker Options for Manchester United in the Summer
With Cristiano Ronaldo leaving to join Al Nassr, it’s left Manchester United limited up front in terms of out-and-out centre forwards. Despite a promising pre-season, Anthony Martial has failed to really make the position his own - albeit partly down to his growing list of injury problems that has kept him in and out of the team.
Marcus Rashford has also been tried centrally at times, but like Martial, you feel that both are more suited to playing on the left side where they are able to cut in and beat defenders. With it being no secret that Erik ten Hag will be looking to add a striker to his ranks, we’ve looked at potential striker options for United to look at.
With ten Hag in need of a striker, the Dutchman has already swooped to bring in a frontman temporarily as Wout Weghorst joins the Red Devils on loan from Burnley. The move will see the former Wolfsburg man join United until the end of the season, and although many have been sceptical, it could be a shrewd acquisition from ten Hag.
Weghorst fits the bill of a type of striker that the former Ajax boss likes to lead his team up top. Ten Hag had the likes of Sebastian Haller, Kasper Dolberg, and Klaas Jan-Huntelaar during his successful spells leading Ajax to Eredivisie glory – strikers that on-paper look like a big target man, but offer so much more. Weghorst epitomises that, a striker that can get on the end of crosses in the air and hold up the ball to link the play as well as working for the team. During his time at Burnley, no player averaged more presses per 90 as the striker in the Premier League, showing that despite his 6ft 6in frame, he still puts a shift in for the team and can be integral to a pressing system.
People have been quick to point out his struggle for goals at Burnley, but that doesn’t show the whole story. Weghorst has had prolific spells in the past, such as his time at Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga where he hit 59 goals as well as 20 assists in 118 league appearances. He also impressed during his cameo at the World Cup in Qatar, where his two goals against Argentina forced a dramatic extra-time.
It’s been reported that there is no option to make the loan permanent, despite United paying a fee to cancel Weghorst’s loan at Besiktas. However, if the 30-year-old can come in and do a good job for United, it may see the Red Devils look to strike a deal that would see Weghorst move to Old Trafford full-time.
After replacing Cristiano Ronaldo for Portugal, Goncalo Ramos could follow that up by taking his compatriot’s position at Old Trafford.
Ramos burst onto the scene in Qatar when he was the surprise replacement when Ronaldo was dropped for the Round of 16 clash with Switzerland. The Benfica man certainly took his opportunity, scoring a sublime hat-trick as Portugal ran out 6-1 winners.
It wasn’t just a one-off game for Ramos, who has been on fire for Benfica in Portugal’s top flight this season. The 21-year-old has managed nine goals and four assists in 13 appearances in Liga Portugal.
Like Weghorst, Ramos is also a striker that can link the attack and hold the ball up, playing teammates in with through balls as well as getting in on the end of them. At a young age he is certainly one of the hottest prospects and, although may cost a big sum, could be worth it to make a difference now and in the future.
There has been rumours that United may have to sell to spend in the summer and that splashing that cash may not be possible with current UEFA sustainability rules. If that is the case and United can’t afford a big-money move, Youssoufa Moukoko could be a talent that may be available for free.
The 18-year-old has enjoyed a breakthrough into the Borussia Dortmund senior team in recent seasons, where he has made an impact either from the start or from the bench. This season Moukoko has scored six goals and made six assists in the 14 appearances (eight starts) he has made for the Black and Yellows.
With his contract set to run out in June, there could be a scramble for the teenager’s signature with plenty of European heavyweights set to be interested. If United act fast, they could sort out their striker situation by acquiring a teenage sensation.
A name that is often linked to Manchester United is Victor Osimhen, who has been a star man for Napoli in the Serie A.
The Nigerian is a striker that can do it all, with his pace and power causing problems for defenders as well as his aerial ability. Osimhen has continued his magnificent form this season, with his ten goals and three assists in 13 appearances helping put Napoli at the summit of the Italian top tier.
Napoli would understandably want a high fee for a player as important as Osimhen, but if United can afford to spend, he would surely be worth his weight in gold.
Another Serie A striker that would be worth splashing the cash for is Juventus’ Dusan Vlahovic.
The Serbian striker is a deadly finisher, both on the floor and in the air. The 6f 3in frontman managed six goals and an assist in ten appearances for the Turin giants this season before an injury ruled him out before the winter break. With United’s attacking prowess that features the likes of Christan Eriksen and Bruno Fernandes in the middle and Rashford on the wing, a serial goalscorer like Vlahovic could elevate United’s attack even further.
With Juventus in financial turmoil at the moment, a move from United could be worth looking into.
STAY UP TO DATE WITH THE LATEST FOOTBALL PREDICTIONS & TIPS AT FOOTY ACCUMULATORS