Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has identified two potential striker signings to replace Cristiano Ronaldo in the long run, and one of them could see the Red Devils copy Liverpool.
Man Utd are on the verge of landing a new striker to help them in the second half of the season. It was recently reported that they had reached a ‘full agreement’ for the capture of Wout Weghorst.
And Fabrizio Romano has now given the move his ‘here we go’ seal of approval. He states Man Utd will pay Besiktas €3million (£2.65m) to terminate his loan, so he can move to Old Trafford on a temporary basis from Burnley.
The 30-year-old will fly to Manchester today (Thursday) to undertake a medical and then sign his Man Utd contract.
Weghorst will only join Man Utd on loan until the end of the season, though. As such, Ten Hag must start looking for a younger goalscorer who can become Ronaldo’s true successor in attack.
Man Utd have already missed out on a couple of exciting options. Cody Gakpo has joined Liverpool on a long-term contract after the Reds agreed to pay PSV a total package worth £50m for him.
Joao Felix was also under consideration at Man Utd, but he has now gone to Chelsea on loan for the remainder of the campaign.
During a recent question and answer session, the Manchester Evening News’ chief Man Utd writer Samuel Luckhurst discussed who Ten Hag might sign to lead his attack over the coming years.
Ten Hag plotting big striker move
Luckhurst believes the manager is interested in both Harry Kane and Victor Osimhen. But a more likely signing could be that of Ajax’s Mohammed Kudus.
As Man Utd spent huge sums of money in the summer, Ten Hag does not have as much to play with this time around, either in January or at the end of the season. And Kudus represents a cheaper option than Kane or Osimhen, who could both cost over £100m.
Man Utd signing Kudus could see them copy Liverpool. Jurgen Klopp’s side landed PSV’s prized asset and top goalscorer this season in the form of Gakpo.
Kudus has similar influence at PSV’s Dutch rivals Ajax. He is their top scorer in all competitions, having registered 13 goals so far. That is two more than the likes of Steven Bergwijn and Brian Brobbey.
Mohammed Kudus impressed at the World Cup
Kudus also proved himself to be a handful at the World Cup, scoring two goals as Ghana went out in the group stage. Gakpo made a name for himself in Qatar too, finding the back of the net three times.
So there would definitely be some parallels to Liverpool’s Gakpo signing if Man Utd snared Kudus.
Luckhurst urges Man Utd to show caution when going after the Eredivisie star, however. Even though Kudus would cost less than Kane and Osimhen, Ajax will still be tough negotiators when selling him.
This is shown by them holding out for £86m for Antony, with Man Utd officials now admitting they paid over the odds. Due to this, they will have to ensure they are not paying way over Kudus’ transfer value when taking him to Manchester.
An alternative to Kudus is Portugal and Benfica attacker Goncalo Ramos. Like Gakpo and Kudus, he did well at the World Cup, netting a hat-trick during the 6-1 demolition of Switzerland.
As with Kudus, Ten Hag apparently likes the look of Ramos. And he is certainly one of the more attainable strikers on the market.
Once again though, Man Utd will face a tough test in getting him on the cheap. Benfica, like Ajax, only sell their players for the right price. They held off Chelsea’s advances for Enzo Fernandez recently, telling Todd Boehly to pay the midfielder’s full £105m release clause.
Man Utd’s striker hunt will be far from straightforward this summer. Ten Hag must soon decide which one of these options is his priority target, and then demand the club puts up as much money as they can afford to complete a deal.