With £24 million available in the bank yet desperate to buy a center forward, United need to act shrewdly in the winter transfer window – and time is not exactly on their side with less than four weeks to act.
Erik ten Hag has made it abundantly clear that, of course, he wants a leading man – but only the right one. Scouring the depths of world football for “the right striker” with a limited budget, preference for a loan move, and philosophy to try and instil, is not an easy feat, however.
So, to help John Murtough out, here is a five-man shortlist of affordable top-class strikers who could help United see out a goal-shy season.
Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting
The former Stoke City striker has shocked people with his prowess in the red shirt of European giants Bayern Munich this season.
Although not his first foray for a major Champions League side, this is his first season as a recognized starter. For Paris Saint-Germain, Choupo-Moting was a quintessential role player.
11 goals in all competitions for Bayern, alongside his outstanding all-round-play metrics, make the Cameroon international a leading option for Erik ten Hag in his quest to find a striker for Manchester United.
And with six months left on his contract, now would be the opportune moment to poach him from Julian Nagelsmann.
A similar case to Choupo-Moting, but 15 years his junior, Youssoufa Moukoko has lit up the Black and Yellow shirt of Borussia Dortmund in his breakthrough season.
With six goals already to his name in the Bundesliga this year at 18 years old, Moukoko is not only a promising striking prospect, but already delivering. With such, a transfer saga is already developing for the young Germany international.
If United are to break the trend of purchasing older or extortionate center forwards then Moukoko is the ideal candidate – the 18 year old has just refused a contract extension with Dortmund and has a fast-approaching expiry date in June.
Not so much a left-field shout when context is considered. Terem Moffi is one of the top scorers in Ligue 1 this season with 10 goals to his name.
Lorient’s does not. 9 has been a revelation for them this season and has them contesting for a European spot in the table.
With a contract expiring next year and a not-so-showbizzy name, Moffi would be a safe option in that his valuation is currently €15 million. Furthermore, at 23 years old, Moffi is an investment for the future rather than simply a quick-fix solution.
Fitting Glazernomics, a clinical goalscorer, and dogged in defensive work: why would Ten Hag not want United to take the risk?
Experienced in the Premier League; World Cup winners; a young superstar like Kylian Mbappé loves to play alongside him; still important for Milan; consistent; rarely injured; an out-and-out no. 9; six months left on his current contract.
Olivier Giroud has emerged as a target for Manchester United in recent days because of the aforementioned pros.
Some fans have scoffed at such a link, but with experience and nous, what’s not to like?
Giroud could just be the Henrik Larsson 2.0 signing that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was hoping Odion Ighalo would be.
The Angola international has quietly become a ruthless Serie A striker this season having scored 8 goals already.
A handful for defenders, composed, and quick to get the shot away, Nzola would present himself as the center forward United have been needing for years.
His current valuation sits at a measly €3.5 million. Adding United tax may raise the valuation quite considerably, it must be said. But to offer a paid loan may be a resolution, and with such Ten Hag could be gifted someone to stand up top, bustle defenders around, and perform clinically in front of goal.
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