According to Mirror Football, Manchester United are preparing a £60million summer bid for Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – echoing similar claims made by The Daily Mail last week.
Admittedly, it’s hard to ignore the Gabon international’s recent form, bagging 20 goals (and four assists) in as many Bundesliga outings so far this season. But is setting another Premier League record transfer fee really going to solve all of United’s problems?
Take Angel Di Maria, for example, who lasted just one season at Old Trafford before moving swiftly on. Likewise, if Leicester City have taught us anything this season, it’s that title bids can be achieved without spending the net worth of Namibia on a single player.
So with that in mind and less lucrative options certainly on the market, we at Football Fancast have been running the rule over five cheaper alternatives to the in-demand Aubameyang. Would one of these five prove a better fit for United at considerably lesser cost? Let us know by commenting below!
Whilst Aubameyang’s scoring exploits have come in lesser top flights, Romelu Lukaku offers proven Premier League pedigree.
Indeed, the Belgium international has bagged 58 in 137 appearances throughout his top flight spells with Chelsea, West Brom and Everton and is currently second in the division’s scoring charts behind Leicester City record-breaker Jamie Vardy.
That’s a phenomenal return for a 22-year-old still learning his trade and during that period, the 6 foot 3 frontman has proved himself to be a very complete goalscorer, offering power, pace and height in almost equal measure.
Admittedly, Lukaku’s link-up play still needs some work but at this point in his career, he seems destined for the very top level of the beautiful game. Convincing the Toffees to sell this summer will cost somewhere in the region of £50million.
When Manchester United sold super-sup Javier Hernandez to Bayer Leverkusen last summer, few viewed it as a mistake following two campaigns of relative ambiguity at Old Trafford.
But the Mexico international has gone on to prove what he’s capable of with a regular starting berth since moving to the Bay Arena, netting 22 times across all competitions – including five goals in the Champions League’s group stages – and claiming the Bundesliga’s Player of the Month award for November.
Likewise, in a similar vein of thought to Lukaku, the 27-year-old comes with trusted Premier League scoring credentials. Despite most commonly featuring from the bench, he reached double figures in the top flight for three consecutive seasons with United.
Bayer will be loathed to part with Chicarito after just one season but he must feel he has unfinished business at Old Trafford. Furthermore, having signed him for just £7.4million, the German outfit will struggle to turn down offers around double that sum.
No player involved in Europe’s five leading top flights has scored more goals than Gonzalo Higuain this season, netting 24 times in 25 Serie A appearances for Napoli.
And looking around the continent, few frontmen boast a more consistent scoring record than the 28-year-old, whose career return from spells with River Plate, Real Madrid, Napoli and the Argentina national team stands at formidable 240 goals in 490 competitive outings.
Higuain is well acclimatised to the big pressures of big clubs and big fixtures – he even featured in the 2014 World Cup final – and represents something the Red Devils don’t currently have as a natural poacher with fox-in-the-box instincts.
Napoli have done well to hold onto the 6 foot 1 forward for three seasons but if he’s to ever compete at the top end of European football again, the former Bernabeu star must move on during the summer.
According to recent reports, that could require a £40million bid – but Chelsea are also interested.
A striker who could be of particular interest to allegedly incoming manager Jose Mourinho, in light of the Special One’s preference towards physical and old-fashioned No.9s.
Indeed, Edinson Cavani may measure in at just 6 foot but he holds up the ball well and uses his frame aggressively. Likewise, his scoring record is simply phenomenal, netting 70 times in 127 appearances for PSG and bagging an incredible 104 goals during three campaigns with former employers Napoli.
Aged 29, there are certainly longer-term options than the Uruguay international on the market this summer. But PSG are widely expected to sell at the end of the season, when Cavani’s contract will enter its final two years, after manager Laurent Blanc not-so-subtly hinted last month that he’d be prepared to part with the former Serie A star.
In terms of price-tag, we’re probably looking at either side of the £30million mark.
The curious case of Antoine Griezmann, a France international who earned a big-money move to Atletico Madrid for his talismanic displays as Real Sociedad’s goal-scoring wideman but has since emerged as one of the most potent strikers in Europe.
Indeed, operating almost exclusively at centre-forward, the 24-year-old has amassed 44 goals in 84 appearances for the Mattress Makers – including twelve strikes in La Liga so far this season.
That positional flexibility could prove a real asset for United, who are also struggling for quality out wide, but it’s Griezmann’s renowned stamina, industry and sheer determination that has seen him billed as an ideal fit for Premier League football over the last few years.
In a similar vein of thought to Cavani, that will surely interest Jose Mourinho, who was regularly linked with the former Anoeta star during his time as Chelsea manager.
Admittedly, however, Griezmann is the only suggestion on this list who could potentially cost the Red Devils as much as Aubameyang. His release clause currently stands at €80million, which works out at around £62million.