Despite Manchester United being the second highest scorers in the league, three behind City, it is clear where the priorities lie when it comes to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s summer spending.
This week Solskjaer said, as per Sky Sports, that we shouldn’t expect to see him splashing the cash when the next transfer window rolls around as United, like all clubs, struggle under the crippling financial constraints of the coronavirus pandemic.
United need a right winger, a centre-back and at least one striker with Anthony Martial not up to standard and Edinson Cavani in the twilight of his career.
With that in mind, we take a look at five possible attacking options we could turn to to bolster the forward line.
Erling Haaland (Dortmund)
The hottest young prospect in Europe has smashed through the ceiling at a frankly ridiculous rate of knots at Bundesliga giants Dortmund. His numbers are stupid, with 71 goals in 67 games for Dortmund, and he is surely the number one transfer target for every big club under the sun this summer. Regarded as a generational talent and one of the best young players in world football, Haaland’s pace, athleticism, strength and movement makes him more that simply a goalscorer extraordinaire. If his name is familiar, well that’s because his father, Alf-Inge, was the subject of that infamous tackle from our own Roy Keane. That could make a potential move to Old Trafford a little awkward and the biggest question remains: Not only if Haaland actually wants to join us, but whether United are willing and able to meet his no doubt astronomical valuation.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admits the club is unlikely to spend big in the upcoming summer transfer window. pic.twitter.com/FLrKFSTEYc
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) March 3, 2021
Lautaro Martinez (Inter)
Another young star with impressive numbers, perhaps put in the shade by his strike partner in Italy – a certain ex-Red by the name of Romelu Lukaku. The 23-year-old has been linked with a move to Old Trafford in the past with Ed Woodward believed to an admirer of the 21-cap Argentina international. Inter have taken several misfits off our hands of late, with Lukaku joining Alexis Sanchez, Ashley Young and Matteo Darmian in the black-and-blue of the Nerazurri. Inter may be high flying in Serie A but they’re struggling financially and seemed to have missed a payment for Lukaku. A clause in the Belgian’s contract would allow United to become a debtor, with the two clubs possibly set to negotiate a number of solutions, one of which could see Martinez or Milan Skriniar make the move to Old Trafford (via FourFourTwo). With 30 goals in one and a half seasons, Martinez perhaps does not get the credit he deserves but pace, directness and clinical finishing seems to fit the ball of a typical Solskjaer identikit.
Andre Silva (Eintracht Frankfurt)
With 20 goals and seven assists in 2020-21, an average of a goal a game, it’s no surprise that the whispers are growing louder surrounding the future of this emerging young Portuguese. His transfer fee would likely be around £30m, a bargain in the modern game and more befitting of United’s current financial situation. Only Robert Lewandowski, the finest exponent of his net busting craft on this earth, has outscored Silva in Germany this season (via BBC Sport), no mean feat considering Lewandowski’s stature and given the fact he plies his trade for Bayern Munich. With respect to Frankfurt, they are not on the level of Bayern. With Martial struggling and the ageing Cavani only a short term solution, a move for the 25-year-old striker could be worth the risk. He has burgeoning potential and a tug of war amongst Europe’s elite looks set to unfold for his services, but any potential move may hinge on whether Cavani stays at Old Trafford beyond the end of the season.
Luka Jovic (Eintracht Frankfurt)
Once regarded as one of the most sought after prospects in Europe, the Real Madrid misfit has returned to Eintracht Frankfurt on loan having been linked to United in the past, and – indeed – he was one of the options the Reds reportedly looked at signing the Serbian before swooping for Cavani last year. Jovic, 23, offers a versatile and adaptable attacking threat – he can play as an out and out striker, or in a two or three man attack. He can play ‘in the hole’ or even out wide and has a high work rate with a low centre of gravity and is a clinical finisher – everything Martial isn’t, in short. Jovic plundered 27 goals in 35 games for Frankfurt in 2017-18 in his best campaign to date, and Jovic looks a good fit to lead the line as the main man for Solskjaer’s United next season. Eintracht could, of course, re-sign the Serbian international permanently but alternatively he could look for a new challenge as a known admirer of English football.
Raul Jimenez (Wolves)
With 44 goals across the last two Premier League campaigns for the Old Gold of Wolves, Jimenez certainly knows where the net is. I’ve long been a fan of this man, and he is – for my money- the finest exponent of his craft outside the traditional big six sides. Ideally, the Reds would want someone for the long term and so that makes Jimenez a slightly left field option as the Mexican international is 30 in May. His importance and ability for Wolves has only been heightened in absentia, with Jimenez’s horror injury when he fractured his skull at the Emirates leaving Nuno Espirito Santo’s side light up top. Another player linked with a move to Old Trafford (is there anyone who hasn’t been), Jimenez is a poacher but also has a penchant for the spectacular whilst his aerial strength, work rate and link up play is a world away from what Martial can offer. Age is not on his side but United could do worse than to bring the Wolves hitman to Old Trafford on a two or three year deal.