In theory, Manchester United have four separate players they could play as a striker in their squad. Marcus Rashford and Romelu Lukaku have both been in good goalscoring form since the appointment of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as manager, while Anthony Martial began his United career as a central forward and Alexis Sanchez has had some his best seasons at the position.
But there are doubts about all four, and United need a player who’s a guarantee of 20 to 25, maybe even 30 goals over a season as they look to build a squad that can compete for the Premier League and Champions League again.
Our analysis lists out a dream, realistic, and alternative striker signing United should look to make this summer. Also, take a look at our picks for centre-back, right-back, centre midfield and right wing.
Dream: Antoine Griezmann
United thought they were in with a chance of signing Griezmann in each of the last two summers, before the Frenchman chose to remain at Atletico Madrid.
But apparently this season at the Madrid club has made him question whether he’s made the right decision. Atletico were La Liga title contenders for a while but have fallen too far behind Barcelona, and blew a 2-0 first leg lead against Juventus to crash out of the Champions League in the round of 16.
At 28, Griezmann is at the age where he might think he needs to move to truly establish himself as one of the best players in the world, after being named the third-best player at last summer’s World Cup. He would cost over £100 million, and doesn’t fit the profile of the sort of player United would spend that sort of money on – especially with the way Sanchez has struggled at the club.
But he has a good relationship with star midfielder Paul Pogba, and is just the sort of player who could take Rashford and Martial, and the club as a whole, to the next level.
Antoine Griezmann is looking for a way out of Atletico Madrid, sources have told ESPN FC. pic.twitter.com/hRh4BnhpBf— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) March 17, 2019
Realistic: Mauro Icardi
Icardi’s exit from Inter Milan is almost guaranteed. He hasn’t played since the middle of February, when he was stripped of the Inter captaincy and subsequently withdrew from their squad. Officially he’s still recovering from an injury, but there’s no doubting that the real reason behind his absence is the contract dispute that has dragged on all season, and led to public comments from wife and agent Wanda Nara that have not gone down well at the club.
The way his Inter endgame is being managed may put United, or any other suitor, off, but ultimately, this is a 26-year-old with a proven goalscoring record in one of Europe’s toughest leagues. They may wonder if the Argentine is a corrosive influence in the dressing room, and balk at a transfer fee that could go as high as £80m, but there’s no reason to completely rule out signing him entirely.
Happy 26th birthday to Mauro Icardi!— Squawka Football (@Squawka) February 19, 2019
🔵 208 games
⚫️ 122 goals
🏆 2017/18 top scorer
🏆 2018 Serie A Player of the Year
Undeniable talent. pic.twitter.com/bHq4fHGtfm
Alternative: Luka Jovic
The name who is suddenly on every top European club’s radar now. Jovic, the Eintracht Frankfurt striker, has been compared to Luis Suarez and it seems Barcelona are already considering him as a potential replacement for their current No 9.
In the meantime, Jovic has led the Frankfurt club into the Europa League quarter-finals, and is behind their late-season charge for a top-four finish in the Bundesliga. Just being in the race for a Champions League spot is an achievement for Frankfurt, and he’s the key reason why that particular dream is still alive. And at 21, he’d be a smart signing for United, or any of the clubs chasing him. Already prolific, full of potential, and a likely long-term player. United should definitely be in the hunt.
Serbia coach Mladen Krstajic on Luka Jovic: “He’s a classic goal-getter with great control of the ball and a good understanding of the game. I’d probably compare him to Luis Suarez.” pic.twitter.com/w9L3DYpUEn— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) March 19, 2019
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