Manchester United are expected to sign a marquee striker during this summer’s transfer window, but we know for sure that Erling Braut Haaland won’t be that player.
Haaland has been long linked with a move to Old Trafford, but it has now been officially confirmed that he will be joining arch-rivals Manchester City on July 1.
There are still multiple elite centre-forwards United could target this summer. We look at three realistic options that the club could pursue ahead of next season.
Darwin Nunez – Benfica
The Uruguayan has been frequently linked with United over the past couple of months and there are no surprises, considering his stellar goalscoring record with Benfica this term.
Nunez has amassed 34 goals and four assists from just 41 outings. This has included Champions League goals against Ajax, Barcelona, Bayern and Liverpool. He does not shy away in the big games.
The 22-year-old is pretty mobile and often tends to outclass defenders with his pace and dribbling on the counter-attack. He is not the best with his distribution or hold-up play, but is a clinical finisher.
Nunez can also play on the left wing when required and could be a perfect fit for Erik ten Hag’s attacking brand of football. Benfica are bound to demand in excess of €100 million for him.
Lautaro Martinez – Inter Milan
Martinez has had another fine campaign with 23 goals and three assists for Inter. The Argentine is currently playing a key role in the Nerazzurri’s defence of the Serie A title.
Similar to Nunez, the 24-year-old likes to drop into deeper attacking positions rather than operating centrally. He does not possess the aerial prowess with his height, but is brilliant with his ground work.
The former Racing graduate is much better when it comes to the distribution (80 per cent passes completed in the league compared to Nunez’s 67). He can also act as a focal point with his hold-up play.
His playing style has been compared to Sergio Aguero. Similar to his compatriot, Martinez possesses an incredible shot power. Earlier this year, he netted a stunning goal against Liverpool in the Champions League, finding the top right corner of Alisson’s net from the edge of the box.
With Inter still going through a financial crisis, there have been suggestions that Martinez could be prised away for a fee of around €60m in the upcoming transfer window.
Victor Osimhen – Napoli
Osimhen has stepped up for Napoli in his second campaign. On either side of a two-month injury lay-off, he has bagged 17 goals and six assists from 30 games in all competitions.
Compared to Nunez and Martinez, Osimhen is more of a traditional centre-forward, and has caught the eye with his strong aerial ability as well as his dribbling and finishing.
Ten Hag played with Dusan Tadic as a false nine during Ajax’s Champions League semi-final run in 2019. However, he has found success lately with an out-of-out striker in Sebastien Haller.
Osimhen is a similar player who awaits for service in and around the box. Haller has had a superb season with 33 goals, and Osimhen could have a similar impact under Ten Hag. Napoli value him at €110m.
Stats from Transfermarkt.com and WhoScored.com
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