Three strikers Jose Mourinho could bring to Man United this summer
Paul McNamara takes a look at three strikers who could strengthen Jose Mourinho's newly-inherited Manchester United squad
Manchester United have a history of buying the best young English footballers. They also have form for prising from Tottenham the White Hart Lane club’s most valuable assets. An Old Trafford move for Kane would represent a hammer blow to Spurs, far above the pain the north Londoners experienced when, at different junctures, Teddy Sheringham, Michael Carrick and Dimitar Berbatov made the same switch. United would have to part with an extraordinary amount of money to land Kane. And the idea of swapping a first taste of Champions League football with his hometown club for the promise of future success with Jose Mourinho’s side might not immediately appeal to the England centre Nevertheless, Manchester United’s seemingly bottomless coffers would overcome any financial obstacles.
The club’s name, with its associated worldwide reach and prestige, is perhaps exclusive in this country, in being sufficiently powerful to attract players who would otherwise be out of reach. Mourinho’s ego would certainly be fed by securing one of the English game’s hottest properties – a man whose stock could rise further still if he shines for his country in France this summer. More than that, though, the Portuguese manager wants to work with football’s elite performers. Kane now fits into that category. It’s a long shot, but one that United and their new boss will surely be tempted to take.
While Tottenham’s embattled supporters would be aghast to see Kane head for pastures new, any move for Lukaku would likely be met with a degree of ambivalence among the denizens of Goodison Park. Indeed, should the Merseysiders receive the £65m they’re reportedly asking for the Belgian, then Evertonians would probably be quite content to wave Lukaku off and, with respect to their team’s firepower, start again. That’s not to say that the former Chelsea striker wouldn’t be a fantastic investment for United, even for such a prohibitive fee.
Lukaku makes no secret of his ambition to play for one of Europe’s select band of powerhouse clubs. Manchester United fit that bill, regardless of the team’s aforementioned lack of Champions League involvement next season. Their exclusion from the continent’s premier tournament will surely not extend beyond 2016-17 under Mourinho and United could offer Lukaku the starring role he craves. A move to Old Trafford would require the 23-year-old to expand his on-pitch repertoire. Mourinho demands a rounded contribution from his attackers, a slight shift for a man who for three years has been the focal point for Roberto Martinez’s flaky Everton outfit. Lukaku can point to a few sterling shifts operating out wide during Martinez’s first year at Goodison as evidence of his ability to adapt. Furthermore, confidence won’t be an issue for a footballer unafraid of discussing his own worth.
Talking of footballers with a high personal regard, if current speculation is proved accurate then Ibrahimovic will soon be trading Paris for Manchester. The common perception seems to be that the Swede’s arrival at Old Trafford can only be a force for good for United. But after having their fingers burned by the negligible contributions made to the club by Radamel Falcao and Bastian Schweinsteiger – both wonderful footballers at their peak, but expensive dead weights by the time they pitched up in the north west (albeit Schwiensteiger has the chance next year to correct that opinion) – United would be wise to think this one through, long and Nearly 35 years old and after 16 years in the professional game, does Ibrahimovic have enough in the tank to produce consistently in the Premier League? Does the former Inter Milan player’s personality lend itself to being someone who will be a positive influence around Carrington, in the way that Eric Cantona’s professionalism left a lasting impression on Old Trafford’s famed Class of 1992?
More pertinently, Ibrahimovic’s display for Paris Saint-Germain across a two-legged Champions League quarter-final against Manchester City in April was modest, at best.