With Robin van Persie slowly succumbing to age and Radamel Falcao looking like anything but a £55million striker this season, Manchester United’s strike-force is expected to undergo a bit of a reshuffle this summer.
Indeed, RVP has been linked with a move to Premier League retirement home Serie A, where running is widely discouraged, and the Red Devils are unlikely to make Falcao’s loan move permanent, having netted just four times for his adoptive club across all competitions.
Unfortunately, however, United’s priority pick to fill the void, Edinson Cavani, appears to be on the verge of agreeing a summer move to Juventus – as The Daily Mail revealed last week – and currently, world-class centre-forwards of the Uruguay international’s mould aren’t in copious supply.
But fear not Red Devils fans, for Football Fancast is here to help. Using our god-given powers of transfer know-how, we’ve come up with FIVE potential alternatives to the Juve-bound PSG star.
Can one of these strikers prove equally effective at Old Trafford?
Just when Christian Benteke appeared on the verge of plunging into the realms of mediocrity, he’s re-emerged as one of the most formidable target men the Premier League has to offer.
Indeed, the Belgium international has been on fire since Tim Sherwood took Aston Villa’s managerial reins from Paul Lambert in February, bagging eleven goals in his last ten appearances in all competitions to bring his Villains total to 48 goals in 97 appearances.
Powerful, tall, aggressive and blessed with an imperious leap, the 23-year-old would be perfect for the direct style of football Louis van Gaal has tried to implement at Old Trafford.
Sherwood has admitted Benteke could force a move away from Villa Park this summer, leading the tabloids to value him at around £30million.
But if there’s one criticism of Benteke, it’s that he’s not a natural suitor to the stylish, technically demanding football United fans crave. Him and Marouane Fellaini in the same team might be deemed a tad too attritional.
Perhaps not a first-class centre-forward but certainly a first-rate second-class centre-forward, Sevilla star Carlos Bacca will be available for just £21.3million this summer through a release clause.
And although the Colombian international isn’t considered to be in the same company as Luis Suarez or Robert Lewandowski, he’s been in absolutely lethal form for the Spanish outfit over the last two campaigns, netting 46 goals in 104 appearances.
That fired Sevilla to last term’s Europa League title, whilst this season they’re just three points shy of qualifying for the Champions League in La Liga.
Speedy, direct, stocky in frame and unorthodox in style, the 28 year-old seems like a good fit for the Premier League. He could certainly keep the Red Devils ticking over for a season or two, but probably isn’t a long-term option.
We’ve only seen a single season’s worth of superlative football from Harry Kane but what a season it has been.
The 21 year-old has emerged from the peripheries of Tottenham’s squad to become the Premier League’s top-scoring Englishman – his 20-goal haul only surpassed throughout the division by Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero.
But more than simply his goals, it’s Kane’s infectious enthusiasm and all-round contribution that truly stands out. He’s got a bit of everything about him; power and pace, hold-up play, cute little link-ups with Christian Eriksen, imperious ability in the air and perhaps most impressively of all, an absolutely phenomenal work-rate.
If Louis van Gaal wants to sign a United striker for the next decade, then Kane seems as wise a gamble as any. But the chances of Spurs cashing in this summer, for anything less than an astronomical fee, are rather unlikely.
Louis van Gaal likes his ‘multi-purpose’ footballers and Gonzalo Higuain certainly falls into that category.
The 27 year-old’s predominant strength remains goalscoring, boasting a career return of 212 goals in 447 appearances throughout his prolific spells with River Plate, Real Madrid, Napoli and the Argentina national team.
But he’s also a smart link-up player who has often featured out wide for his respective clubs, perhaps epitomised best by his impressive haul of eleven assists for Albiceleste and 15 during his last two Serie A campaigns.
The former Los Blancos forward looks set to leave the Naples outfit this summer following their failure to qualify for the Champions League and The Metro believe he could be available for around £29million.
That’s a fair price for such a proven and versatile centre-forward, but Arsenal and Liverpool are considered his likeliest suitors.
Should rumours of Real Madrid’s intentions to sell Karim Benzema prove true, as claimed by The Express, Manchester United should be biting their hand off.
The France international is one of the best front-men Europe has to offer and he’s almost purpose built for Premier League football, blessed with fantastic height, power, strength and aggression – which is why Sir Alex Ferguson tried to bring him to Old Trafford back in summer 2009.
Furthermore and perhaps most importantly, after spending the last six years in Cristiano Ronaldo’s shadow, the 27 year-old still has a point to prove if he’s to be remembered as one of his generation’s greatest strikers.
His rumoured £40million price-tag, for a player in his peak years with four terms remaining on his current contract, represents fantastic value for money.
He’d be my first choice of Cavani alternative – but admittedly, any transfer rumour involving Real Madrid always comes with an element of serious doubt.