Eintracht Frankfurt rising star Randal Kolo Muani has probably never asked Bruno Fernandes for an endorsement.
But the Portuguese playmaker may have done more than he knows to encourage his transfer to Manchester United amid Erik ten Hag’s never-ending search for a new striker.
The Red Devils have been in the market for an out-and-out striker since Cristiano Ronaldo departed Old Trafford last year, pursuing several different profiles.
Who is on the list?
Starting with Tottenham Hotspur talisman Harry Kane and Napoli goal-getter Victor Osimhen, Ten Hag has assembled a list of potential targets going into the summer transfer window.
However, plagued by financial issues related to their ongoing takeover process, Man United have seemingly given up hope of chasing the household duo.
Both players would likely cost upwards of £120 million, which would be a reachable figure for the Premier League heavyweights if only the Glazers could finally sanction the club sale.
Since the controversial owners continue to stall the takeover, the Dutch manager has had to update his initial shortlist, adding the likes of Atalanta whizz-kid Rasmus Hojlund and Kolo Muani to his notebook.
Hojlund won’t command a staggering price tag. However, the Red Devils are sceptical about his ability to perform regularly at the highest level after failing to lock down a regular starting berth in Bergamo.
Kolo Muani’s name sparks much more enthusiasm within the Old Trafford hierarchy, considering the Frenchman was a dominant figure in the Bundesliga last season.
In his first year in Germany’s top flight, the 24-year-old bagged 15 goals and 14 assists across 32 league appearances, emerging as one of the division’s headline performers.
What has Fernandes said?
Speaking to Royaltiz, Fernandes heaped praise on the Frankfurt gem, giving his employers the seal of approval to go and get Kolo Muani.
“Kolo Muani, I think he is doing really well,” he said. “We saw it in the World Cup that he was good, but I think now, during the season, he’s been doing even better.
“I think he’s, together with Rafa [Leao], one of the most promising [players] in the world right now. He probably has now the next step to a big club.”
Man United have noticed the ex-Nantes forward’s exponential growth at Deutsche Bank Park but are also aware of his substantial £85m price tag, which could prove a stumbling block.
Apart from Man United, perennial Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich have also earmarked Kolo Muani as a possible long-term replacement for Robert Lewandowski.
However, Bayern have recently launched an offensive to deprive Tottenham of Kane’s services, clearing the path to the Frankfurt striker for United.
Why would Kane’s move to Bayern be a blessing in disguise for Man United?
Kane’s unparalleled scoring prowess in the Premier League will go down in the history books long after he retired from professional football.
But while Tottenham won’t find such a prolific goalscorer anytime soon, there are no guarantees the Englishman would be as lethal at another club.
Kane has spent his entire Premier League career in London, tucking himself into a comfort zone, accustomed to having the whole team playing for him.
While Man United woke up from a decade-long sleep during Ten Hag’s first season, the Red Devils are still a ‘work in progress,’ so it could be challenging for the England captain to thrive from the get-go.
On top of that, he will turn 30 before the 2023/24 season gets underway.
Kolo Muani is already a beast, as witnessed by his stellar showings for Frankfurt and his 2022 World Cup exploits with France, but he has yet to reach his peak powers.
In terms of price, he would be a slightly cheaper alternative, but there’s no denying his potential arrival would still cost Man United a fortune.
But paired with his peers, such as Marcus Rashford, Antony and Jadon Sancho, this new wave of promising young talents could go a long way in shaping a new generation at Old Trafford.
Unlike Kane, the Frenchman’s game lacks some finesse, but if Ten Hag can polish his potential, United will get a top-class striker for years to come.
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