Man United transfers: Five strikers Louis van Gaal could sign
Jonathan Hogan examines five potential striker targets for Manchester United in the summer transfer window
The gossip columns have regularly linked United to PSG’s Uruguayan hit-man, who has managed 56 goals in 95 games in all competitions for the French champions. Edinson Cavani certainly would not be cheap and any move would potentially involve Angel Di Maria moving in the opposite direction with PSG having a lasting interest in the Argentine. Moreover, PSG are unlikely to wilfully depart with one of their prized assets without a highly significant fee, especially considering Zlatan Ibrahimovic is now 33. A move would not be totally out-of-the-question with the Red Devils proven spenders and few top quality marksmen available, but there are arguably more realistic options.
On a similar Ligue One theme, Lyon’s Alexandre Lacazette struck 27 goals in 33 league games last term as he helped his side push PSG right to the wire. At just 24 years of age there could be much more to come from a man who has now reached eight French caps. With blistering speed and a knack for goals, United fans might relate to similarities with Louis Saha who was relatively successful at Old Trafford despite a series of injury problems. Should Lacazette make the move and remain injury-free, he could help rejuvenate United with the speed in the frontline they’ve been missing while his time at Lyon has shown he possesses the tools required when it comes to link-up play, which has often been criticised of Hernandez’ game, for instance. Again there would be considerable cost in any potential deal likely reaching around the £30m mark (or more if you believe Lyon’s club president Jean-Michel Aulas) but that would still come in cheaper than Cavani for one of Europe’s most sought-after strikers who, on paper at least, has more years ahead of him.
First and foremost, Daniel Levy and Tottenham Hotspur will not want to lose Harry Kane this summer and the player himself has suggested he has little intention of leaving White Hart Lane – but that hasn’t stopped the rumour mill from circling. It has been suggested that Kane is one of Van Gaal’s priority signings and if there is any truth in that and any potential for a deal to be struck then he is a worthwhile target. The expression “money talks” comes to mind here, but for a 21-year-old English centre-forward the asking price might be too extortionate even for United, and certainly the rumoured £50m would be a massive gamble on the back of a breakthrough season. Stranger things have happened however, and should Van Persie been moved out and the Red Devils really push for this deal it would not be unforeseen.
88 goals in 188 La Liga games for Real Madrid isn’t a bad return considering the existence of Cristiano Ronaldo. Similarly it is that which existence that threatens to push Benzema out of The Bernabeu if suggestions that Ronaldo could be played more centrally under Rafa Benitez prove accurate. If that is to be the case, United would be one of a handful of clubs able to afford the Frenchman and it would represent a big name signing sure to bring added belief to the United faithful after a number of transfer windows of persistent links with the player. Add to that the fact that Benzema is still only 27 with plenty to offer Van Gaal over the next few years and it is deal which could plausibly make sense, markedly bearing in mind Madrid’s pursuit of David De Gea.
Another option with a proven goal scoring record is Napoli’s Higuain, also 27. Having scored 18 and 17 goals in the last two Serie A campaigns respectively and contributed to Argentina’s Copa America campaign, this is a player who would have a few suitors if he were to be made available. Arsenal and Man City have been among those linked in the past while both Liverpool and United are strongly linked at present. If there was a time to make a move happen it could be now following Napoli’s failure to qualify for the Champions League. In that respect, he is probably the most realistic target of this list behind Lacazette to actually leave his current club in this window, however he would likely cost much more with Napoli expected to hold out, perhaps in order to help fill the void left behind by a lack of Champions League revenue.