Five mega-money strikers Man United should target instead of Falcao

When Manchester United signed Radamel Falcao on summer deadline day, many expected great things from the Colombian international’s year-long loan at Old Trafford.

Indeed, prior spells with River Plate, Porto, Atletico Madrid and Monaco had seen the striker rack up an incredible 200 goals in 304 club appearances, but he’s thus far netted just three times in the Premier League for the Red Devils.

In addition to his seismic wage bill, United will have to cough up around £44million to acquire Falcao’s services permanently at the end of the season.

Some way off justifying such an incredible sum however, we at Football Fancast think it’s time United consider some equally expensive alternatives that might prove better value for money.

So without further ado, here’s the FIVE mega-money strikers United should be targeting instead.

KARIM BENZEMA


Age:27
Positions: Striker
Height: 6 foot 2
Teams: Lyon, Real Madrid, France
Interested clubs: Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool, according to The Express
Likely transfer fee: £50million, according to The Daily Star

What’s the story?

Manchester United were in the hunt for Karim Benzema’s signature before his move €35million to Real Madrid in 2009 and have maintained their interest ever since.

One of the few strikers in world football prepared to accept not being their club’s predominant goal-scorer, however, and having penned a contract extension until 2019 in August last year, it’s unlikely the France international would be allowed to leave the Bernabeu without considerable reimbursement – £50million, allegedly – and a replacement lined-up first.

The proprietor of a robust 6 foot 2 frame however, in addition to considerable technical ability, the 27 year-old is almost tailor-made for Premier League football and would likely improve upon his Los Blancos haul of 125 goals in 264 appearances without Cristiano Ronaldo’s lingering shadow.

Having played second fiddle for so long however, it’s likely only guaranteed first team football can convince Benzema to quit the European Champions. Their rumoured bid for Thomas Muller, expected in the summer by the Spanish press, could give United a way in.

MARCO REUS


Age:25
Positions: Winger, No.10, Striker
Height: 5 foot 11
Teams: Rot Weiss Ahlen, Borussia Monchengladbach, Borussia Dortmund, Germany
Interested clubs: Real Madrid, Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City, according to The Daily Star
Likely transfer fee: £20million release clause

What’s the word?

Not an out-and-out centre-forward but certainly an attacker that can improve Manchester United’s goal tally, Borussia Dortmund forward Marco Reus has amassed an incredible 47 goals and 29 assists in 99 appearances, not to mention one German Footballer of the Year award and one Bundesliga Player of the Year award, since moving to Westfalen in summer 2012.

The German international is blessed with prolific pace, world-class technical ability and positional flexibility, having featured out wide, as a No.10 and as an out-and-out striker for the Black-Yellows over the past two and a half years.

Currently sidelined through injury, Reus’ total for the campaign thus far stands at just five. Come the summer however, he’ll be the most in-demand player in Europe, with his outrageously cheap £20million release clause, set to come into effect at the end of the season, being common knowledge for quite some time.

News that the 25 year-old hasn’t already agreed a deal with Real Madrid as previously reported will be music to United’s ears – but the Old Trafford side will still have to fend off interest from virtually every major European club for his signature.

EDINSON CAVANI


Age: 27
Positions: Striker, Wide Forward
Height: 6 foot 2
Teams: Danubio, Palermo, Napoli, PSG, Uruguay
Interested clubs: Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United, according to The Express, Real Madrid, according to the Daily Star.
Likely transfer fee: £45million, according to The Independent

What’s the dealio?

Another striker seemingly purpose-built for the physical rigours of the English top flight, Edinson Cavani blends his powerful, athletic and combative 6 foot 2 frame with a prolific supply of goals, bagging 39 in 66 for PSG and 104 in 138 for former club Napoli.

The French champions invested £55million in the Uruguay international during the same transfer window that saw Radamel Falcao join up with Monaco for a near-identical fee, but it’s hardly been a honeymoon in Paris for the lofty target man, eternally stuck behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the pecking order and more often than not forced to play out wide.

It’s always been somewhat of a frosty relationship and reports of Cavani’s disillusionment at Parc de Princes have persisted ever since his arrival in summer 2013, the Daily Mail speculating a departure less than six months later.

Reports have recently intensified due to the striker missing PSG’s winter training camp along with Ezequiel Lavezzi, resulting in an internal three-match ban, in addition to manager Laurent Blanc revealing ‘there will be exits‘ at the club this month.

That makes Cavani arguably the most attainable suggestion on this list, but there appears to be wide competition for his services.

PAULO DYBALA


Age:21
Positions: Striker
Height: 5 foot 10
Teams: Instituto, Palermo
Interested clubs: Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool, according to The Express
Likely transfer fee: £31million, according to The Daily Star

The Next Sergio Aguero?

Paulo Dybala may not be a household name just yet, but based on his current form, such status in the future is an inevitability.

Indeed, the young Argentine has claimed 10 goals and eight assists in just 18 Serie A appearances this term, whilst also creating 1.5 unconverted chances per match.

Through his stocky frame, energetic mobility and lethality in front of goal, the 21 year-old is already drawing comparisons to Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero – high praise indeed.

With his current contract set to expire in 2016, Palermo will be tempted to cash-in on their forward prodigy over the next two transfer windows – but that seismic valuation, although likely a wise long-term investment, comes straight from the mouth of club president Maurizio Zamparini.

LIONEL MESSI


Age: 27
Positions: Anywhere he wants
Height: 5 foot 7
Teams: Barcelona, Argentina
Interested clubs: Who isn’t interested?
Likely transfer fee: £203million release clause

More than just a pipedream?

In a miraculous turn of events, Lionel Messi – aka, the greatest player of his generation – has reportedly grown disillusioned with life at the Nou Camp, and particularly under new manager Luis Enrique.

Whether the rumours are true remains to be seen, by Sky Sports’ La Liga correspondent Guillem Balague claims the three-time Ballon d’Or and Champions League winner has never been closer to leaving Barcelona than right now.

Holding the record for goals in La Liga, 262, and the Champion League, 76, at just 27 years of age, discussing Messi’s credentials as arguably the world’s best almost isn’t worth the time, so we’ll move onto the real issue at hand… who can actually afford one of the leading talents in the history of the sport?

Well, according to BBC Sport’s financial experts, only Real Madrid and Manchester United. A move to the Bernabeu seems implausible and would achieve very little for Messi personally – so, can the Red Devils cough up the cash?