It’s now a near-certainty that Manchester United will go for broke to land an out-and-out striker in the summer transfer window.
After cutting ties with serial winner Cristiano Ronaldo in the wake of the 2022 World Cup, the Red Devils snapped up Wout Weghorst on a short-term loan in January.
Although the Dutchman has started almost every Premier League game since joining the club from Burnley, a lack of prolificacy has seen him yet to score a league goal for United.
Erik ten Hag is still undecided on whether to sign the 30-year-old permanently, but there’s a feeling Man Utd will earmark substantial funds to land a more high-profile option.
What are the options?
Napoli talisman Victor Osimhen has emerged as one of the potential candidates to don the number nine jersey next season amid growing speculation about Anthony Martial’s imminent exit.
However, the Partenopei bigwig Aurelio De Laurentiis holds the 24-year-old in high esteem and is desperate to tie him down to a new lucrative contract.
Even if he fails, it’s likely that he’ll be looking for north of €100 million to let his headline performer leave in the summer.
The same goes for Tottenham Hotspur captain Harry Kane, who could be on the move following Spurs’ another underwhelming season, highlighted by Antonio Conte’s recent outburst at a press conference.
Condemned to another trophyless campaign despite his stellar individual displays, the highly-rated frontman will likely reassess his future in the summer.
Like De Laurentiis, Tottenham chief Daniel Levy has reiterated his desire to keep hold of Kane on multiple occasions, underlining his firm stance on letting him join any fellow Premier League rival.
Given all the difficulties surrounding these two top-class strikers, Man Utd may want to look elsewhere to give ten Hag a prolific marksman he desperately needs.
Who could they target?
Atalanta’s breakout star Rasmus Hojlund may be relatively unknown to Premier League fans, but the Denmark international possesses the potential to become Man Utd’s version of Erling Braut Haaland.
La Dea poured around €17m into the coffers of Austrian outfit Sturm Graz last summer to acquire the services of the 20-year-old from under Southampton’s nose.
The Saints must be kicking themselves for letting the prodigious forward slip through their fingers, especially now that their top-flight survival hangs by a thread.
But Hojlund’s switch to Bergamo has proved paramount to his development, as Gian Piero Gasperini has turned him into an established Serie A star in his first year in Italy.
Instead of benching him in favour of long-serving striker Duvan Zapata, Gasperini has made Hojlund his number-one choice, with the youngster rewarding him with seven goals and two assists in Serie A.
Since the days of Atalanta’s free-scoring league form are long gone, his scoring output is more than decent, especially considering he’s created most of his goals himself.
In addition to his finishing touch, Hojlund boasts impressive physical and technical attributes and space awareness, which lead to comparisons with Manchester City superstar Haaland.
Dream international start
And while most of his league showings went unnoticed outside Italy’s borders, his maiden international start for Denmark on Thursday night lit up the public.
Hojlund netted a hat-trick to inspire Kasper Hjulmand’s side to an overwhelming 3-1 home win over Finland in a European Championship qualifier.
After putting his team in front midway through the first half, he left it late to complete his hat-trick, netting in the 82nd and 93rd minute to get Denmark’s qualification campaign off to a flyer.
Who would Man Utd have to beat to sign Hojlund?
According to a previous report from talkSPORT, Arsenal and Man United have set their sights on Hojlund.
Mikel Arteta has been desperate to land a new striker following Gabriel Jesus’ injury-plagued first season in north London.
After failing to convince Juventus to sell Dusan Vlahovic during the winter, the Gunners have switched attention to the Atalanta prodigy.
Meanwhile, Los Blancos are keen to find a long-term replacement for Karim Benzema.
Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe remains high on Madrid’s list of priorities, but Hojlund has caught their eye too.
On that basis, Man Utd may have to act swiftly if they’re to bring the Danish starlet to Old Trafford at the end of the season.
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