The Red Devils are in desperate need of a quality striker, but who is most likely to make the move?
Manchester United might have won two major trophies, but on the whole their 2016-17 season left a lot to be desired.
Fans’ No.1 complaint? A massive dearth of goals. And, with star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic set to leave the club and captain Wayne Rooney out of form and favour, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial are the only strikers the Red Devils have in their lineup. So with Old Trafford all set to welcome a flashy striker, thestatesman.com takes a look at who could make the mega-bucks move this summer.
Romelu Lukaku (Everton)
The burly Belgian has all, but confirmed a move away from Everton, but where is he going?
Former club Chelsea seem favourites to land the 23-year-old but with super-agent Mino Railoa involved, the Blues might be priced out of any potential deal. Enter the Red Devils with their near-unlimited war-chest. Fast, strong and with plenty of upside considering his age, Lukaku is one of the best forwards in England and his willingness to work for the team is an underrated trait. While his reported price-tag is exorbitant, doubters should consider the fact that he is nearing in on a century of goals in the Premier League and such talent doesn't come cheap in today’s inflated transfer market.
Expected Fee: €90 Million
Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid)
He's the one player United are desperate to have. But, going by the French forward’s recent comments, he might just be staying put in Spain.
Despite playing in a team that aren't exactly free-scoring, he managed to notch 26 goals in all competitions for the Rojiblancos last season. Among the most elite bracket of forwards, his impressive finishing ability coupled with searing pace would make him an instant hit in England. A potential Ballon d’Or winner in the future, Griezmann is already the finished article and will definitely be worth the considerable outlay that is being discussed.
However, Atletico Madrid are barred from buying any players this summer and unless FIFA lifts the embargo, chances are likely that he will stay the Spanish capital for one more season at least.
Expected Fee: €90 Million
Kylian Mbappe (Monaco)
On everyone’s lips at the moment, Monaco’s teen sensation was sensational in the 2016-17 season, scoring for fun at times in a side that broke PSG’s monopoly in the French Ligue 1.
Perhaps, more crucially than his domestic performances were his displays in the UEFA Champions League, as Mbappe’s six goals were crucial in the continental tournament.
The 19-year-old has been coy on the topic of a potential move, suggesting there is some truth to the plethora of rumours doing the rounds. But unfortunately for United, Spanish giants Real Madrid are said to be interested. And unless the Frenchman fancies a move to England, Los Blancos are heavy favourites to land their man.
Blessed with electric pace, Mbappe has already drawn inevitable comparisons with Thierry Henry, which is understandable considering his underrated finishing skills. It is his ability to beat a man, however, that gets crowds going and the Stretford End would certainly be on their feet each time he put on the Red Devils jersey.
Monaco best get prepared for a bidding war for their brightest talent this summer.
Expected Fee: €110 Million
Alvaro Morata (Real Madrid)
Just when you think Morata is overrated, he comes off the bench and scores. At 24, however, he won’t be content with a bit-part role that he is currently being forced to endure at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Chelsea, along with United, are just few of the top clubs said to be interested in the Spaniard and while he won’t come cheap, his track record in Spain and Italy both is impressive. He scored 20 goals in all competitions, despite not starting many of those matches for Los Blancos in the 2016-17 season. At 6’2, he has good aerial presence, isn't afraid to get physical and is quite mobile for a man of his height. All the boxes to be successful in the Premier League have been ticked, it’s your move now Mr Woodward!
Expected Fee: €80 Million
Andrea Belotti (Torino)
Signed by Torino in 2015, he had a decent debut season but it was the second season that really saw all of Europe’s top clubs take notice.
Scoring 26 league goals for a team that finish mid-table is no mean feat but any potential transfer for the 23-year-old should perhaps be deferred by another season at least. Plenty of Serie A stars have struggled to keep pace with the Premier League in the past (Juan Cuadrado, Mohammad Salah are a few names).
Belotti is an all-round forward, finishing one of his top attributes. Possessing decent pace and being dual-footed, he could possibly be a big hit on English shores, but he still remains a gamble.
Torino’s outspoken president has stressed the club would expect nothing less than €80 million and for a player who has less than 80 senior goals to his name, that is nothing short of preposterous and he will probably not be United’s first-choice signing in the forward department.
A pity, considering his iconic ‘rooster’ celebration would have been a fun sight to watch in the Premier League.
Expected Fee: €70 Million
Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur)
This may be a long-shot, but every third report seems to link the reigning Premier League Golden Boot to United. The saying “there isn't any smoke without fire” is apt here and while it is difficult to imagine Kane leaving Tottenham for United, he would be a perfect fit for Mourinho’s men.
With a great work-rate, the ability to score all manner of goals, deceptively quick and able to hold up play quite proficiently, it is hard to pin-point a significant weakness in the 23-year-old’s game.
Arguably better than Lukaku, Spurs will not let him go without a fight and probably would seek to shatter the transfer record in the unlikely event they allow the striker to leave.
The biggest obstacle to any potential move away from White Hart Lane is the fact that Kane seems happy at Spurs. And, with a young team that is built around him, he will be seeking to remain there for the rest of his career.
Expected Fee: €80 Million