Pacy, powerful, and capable of some breath-taking acrobatic finishing, Edinson Cavani is the quintessential number nine and the type of player that United have been looking to acquire for some time. With Wayne Rooney potentially being the only recognised senior striker heading into the 2015/16 season Manchester United’s forward line needs some serious beefing up, and the 28-year old fits the bill in all areas. The Uruguayan is an established starter for the French champions but has often found himself forced out wide to accommodate Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Despite this he has consistently scored well into double figures in his two years at PSG, notching an impressive 56 goals in 96 games for the club. His move to the French capital two years ago was a pricey one, and a move across the Channel would come at a similar premium. If the wanton spending spree started by Louis Van Gaal last summer is to continue then United couldn’t do a lot wrong spending a fair amount on a player at the peak of his powers.
In the wake of a record 26-goal haul last season it is safe to say that the name “Alexandre Lacazette” will be close to the top of many team’s transfer lists this summer. The French forward is part of an exciting crop of players at a resurgent Lyon who finished in second, the highest the team have placed since the 2009/10 season. While he hasn’t the greatest physical presence (he stands at 5 feet 9 inches) Lacazette is much more of a “fox in the box”, with his style of play being not too different from a man he might be replacing – Javier Hernandez. He is capable of operating as the sole striker but he has flourished in a forward pairing, something Van Gaal may want to explore as he looks to find his favoured formation, as well as the best way to deploy Wayne Rooney. Lacazette has been with his hometown club all of his career and while some reports have claimed that he is happy to stay, the allure of playing for a club like United might win over his preference for familiarity. With a reported fee of around £21m being earmarked, it would be a sound investment for an exciting striker with his best years ahead.
The Madrid number nine has flirted with Premier League gossip columns since his Lyon days, and with good reason. Aside from his debut season for Madrid, Benzema has consistently scored more than 20 goals a season since 2007, a remarkable achievement for someone who is yet to hit 30. While his finishing is impeccable, his all-around play is also not to be sniffed at. Along with his 20 goals, Benzema laid on 11 assists to his Madrid team-mates last season, forming almost telepathic bonds with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez – when he isn’t latching onto a through ball he’s playing one in himself and, with the array of talent just mentioned, such key passes often resulted in goals. Therefore the main questions are: would Benzema himself want to move, and would Madrid want to let someone so prolific go? Rumour seem to suggest that the latter could have some truth in it, with new manager Rafael Benitez apparently unsure what to do with the Frenchman. If Benzema is indeed on the move then United will have to act fast in the inevitable bidding war that is to come.
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