Zlatan Ibrahimovic has silenced all his critics. He may not be able to guide Manchester United to the Premier League title this season or even to a top-four finish, but no one can deny that he has been a success at Old Trafford. In fact, the Swedish striker has been the best outfield player for the Red Devils this campaign.
United fans will certainly want the 35-year-old to stay at United for one more year at least, but Ibrahimovic has been quite non-committal. The former Paris Saint-Germain star’s current contract at United runs out in the summer, and he has not yet given any indication that he is ready to sign a new deal.
While United should start contract talks with Ibrahimovic, who has scored 17 goals and provided five assists in the Premier League so far this season, it is also important for them to pursue other strikers as potential replacements. After all, it would not be wise to put all of their eggs in one basket. Below are the three strikers that the Red Devils should target if they are unable to reach an agreement with Ibrahimovic.
Romelu Lukaku (Everton)
Romelu Lukaku is one of the best strikers in the Premier League and has been in stunning form for Everton this season. The Belgian has scored 23 goals, four more than Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane. With odds of 2/5, it may still be worth taking advantage of bookmakers’ offers, such as those compiled by comparison sites including latestbettingsites.co.uk, and placing a bet on Lukaku ending up with the top scorer award.
The Belgium international striker has already rejected the offer to sign a new deal with the Toffees, and he would be a good signing for United. Jose Mourinho let the striker leave when he was in charge of Chelsea, but he should be looking to make amends and bring him to Old Trafford.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund)
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is 27 years of age and is genuinely a world-class striker. The Borussia Dortmund star is going to hit his peak soon, and signing him would make United instant Premier League title challengers. The Gabon international striker scores regularly in the Bundesliga and in the Champions League, and he would surely settle in English football with ease. If United are unable to qualify for the Champions League next season, then they could find it tough to convince Aubameyang to make the switch to Old Trafford – but they should still put in a bid.
Mauro Icardi (Inter Milan)
Mauro Icardi has been at Inter Milan since 2013 and is one of the best strikers in Serie A. The 24-year-old scored 16 goals and created 32 chances in 33 league matches for the Nerazzurri during the 2015-16 campaign, and has scored 20 goals and created 38 chances in 29 league fixtures so far this season. Inter are not in the race for the Scudetto this season and are unlikely to qualify for the Champions League; signing Icardi would be a good move for both United and the player himself.
Many will suggest that if Ibrahimovic leaves in the summer, then United should give more chances to Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford next season. Perhaps even Wayne Rooney could be deployed as a striker if he stays at Old Trafford. However, Rooney looks to be past his prime, Martial has been inconsistent, and Rashford is just 19. For United to challenge for the Premier League title next season, they need a striker who is a proven goalscorer and can make an instant impact. Lukaku, Aubameyang and Icardi fit the criteria.