Manchester United are set to focus most of their energy on attempting to sign a new striker in this forthcoming summer’s transfer window.
After investing heavily in both their defensive and midfield options last summer, kick-starting the beginning of the Erik ten Hag era, United are poised to turn their attention to strengthening their attacking department. The Reds have struggled to score goals at a rapid rate of knots this season and their lack of centre-forward options is an issue that has been exposed throughout the campaign.
Ten Hag, as reported by the Manchester Evening News last week, is set to target two significant signings ahead of next season, in the form of a central-midfielder and a striker. The Reds temporarily bolstered both departments in January, signing both Marcel Sabitzer and Wout Weghorst on loan deals until the end of the season.
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While Sabitzer checked in at Old Trafford on the final day of the window to provide cover in Christian Eriksen’s absence, Weghorst was drafted in to help increase United’s attacking output. Though he was always considered as a short-term option, he has scored just one goal for the club so far, highlighting their desperate need to strengthen their attacking options with an elite-level striker in the summer.
United know that they are short on firepower in the final third and are expected to do all they can to strengthen Ten Hag’s attacking options in the coming months. Tottenham Hotspur ace Harry Kane has been identified as a possible candidate and, as reported by the Manchester Evening News in January, his situation in north London is being monitored by the club.
Following Spurs’ exit from the Champions League on Wednesday night, Kane now faces another season without winning a trophy in north London, meaning he could be more determined than ever to generate a move elsewhere in the summer. United strike as being the only English club who would either stand a chance or be in need of him. However, Spurs chairman Daniel Levy has history with United and is unlikely to be willing to accept any advances from the Reds without digging his heels in.
Instead, United could turn to another striker on their radar, that being Napoli ace Victor Osimhen. The Nigerian, who has netted 21 goals in 26 games for the Italian club this season, was added to United’s shortlist of options back in November and has been generating plenty of attention since.
The former Lille man recently admitted that it is his ‘dream’ to play in the Premier League, meaning United’s prospects of bringing him to Old Trafford in the summer have been possibly bolstered. He is widely considered as one of the most exciting strikers in Europe and is constantly attracting a wave of attention.
Therefore, if United were to reach an agreement with Napoli and present them with an offer they cannot refuse, it would be a statement signing. With that said, if he was to complete a move to Old Trafford, you can guarantee that no shortage of fans would want his name sporting the back of their 2023/24 replica shirts. But what number would he claim in the event of sealing a move to M16?
Currently, the Nigerian international wears the No.9 shirt for Napoli – a number that he has worn ever since joining the Serie A table-toppers in July 2020 from Lille. He has also worn it for several years on the international stage, meaning it is clearly a preference of his.
At the moment, the No.9 shirt is occupied at United by forward Anthony Martial. However, as reported by the Manchester Evening News last month, the Reds are open to the idea of selling the Frenchman, who has spent most of this season on the sidelines through injury, in the summer because of their plans to recruit a new attacker.
He has missed 28 of the club’s 43 matches this season because of stop-start injury issues, the latest of which currently sees him ruled out with a hip problem. His injury woes, however, do mean that United risk being unable to attract a substantial fee for his services from any potential suitors.
To date, Martial, who has worn the No.9 shirt in five of his eight seasons at Old Trafford, has made 283 appearances for the club, scoring 85 goals.
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