Cristiano Ronaldo wants to leave Manchester United this summer.
Leaving aside whether United will let him go, whether he will find the right club to go to, or whether it is a blessing in disguise or not for United if he does go, one big question is, who could United sign to replace him?
Some of the world’s best young strikers have already found a new home, including Erling Haaland (Manchester City), Dusan Vlahovic (Juventus), Julian Alvarez (Manchester City) and Darwin Nunez (Liverpool). Is there any value left out there or are we now looking at the last chicken in Sainsbury’s?
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Here are seven stars who could bring a smile back to United fans’ faces should the legendary star leave for pastures new.
1. Andre Silva – Value €32 million
The 26 year old has had his ups and downs so far in his career and arguably his progress has not been helped by living in the shadow of CR7 in the Portuguese national set-up. Signed by AC Milan from FC Porto aged 21 for €38 million, he struggled in Serie A despite a hat trick in his first Europa League game. Loan deals to Sevilla and Eintracht Frankfurt followed and it was at the latter when he finally found his mojo, scoring 45 goals in 71 games for the club.
This attracted the attention of RB Leipzig, where he has shown flashes of brilliance but never found the consistency that is needed at the top level.
This would be a gamble, but the talent is certainly there and he has the kind of profile that Erik ten Hag has been drawn to in the past.
2. Tammy Abraham – Value €50 million
The former Chelsea man had a barnstorming first season in Serie A last time out, scoring 17 goals in Serie A and 14 in the Europa Conference League.
Like Silva, he is a player who has had his ups and downs but the talent has always been there for all to see. His attacking movement is second to none and he would bring a huge energy to United’s attack. He is reportedly happy at Roma and would be likely to come with an inflated price tag, but a return to the world’s toughest league might be a challenge he wouldn’t want to pass up.
3. Victor Osimhen – Value €65 million
If Ronaldo’s destination is to be Napoli then it might help to ease the talented Osimhen out of the club and into the opposite direction.
The Nigerian is fast and direct and more of a target man than the first two options. His weaknesses tend to be his link-up play and passing but at 23 years of age, these are elements that can be developed.
As with Abraham, this would probably be a tough deal to pull off, not least because of Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis’ intransigence in negotiations.
4. Alexander Isak – Value €30 million
Rumours were doing the rounds in March that United had identified Isak as a potential striker signing this summer. The 22 year old looked to be developing into a world class striker when he joined Real Sociedad from Borussia Dortmund in 2019, but it is probably fair to say he has not kicked on as expected in 2022 and ended last season with just 10 goals from 41 games.
5. Giacomo Raspadori – Value €28 million
The Sassuolo man is deployed more as a second striker than a target man, but could be an interesting option in a fluid three-man attack. With 10 goals and 6 assists last term, he has attracted the attention of both Juventus and West Ham and could be a shrewd and inexpensive option for United in their hour of need.
The 22 year old could also revert to the more classical centre forward role he employed in his earlier days, and in which he was quite prolific, scoring 39 goals in 88 games across all Sassuolo’s age groups, including 18 in Serie A in 2020/21.
6. Paulo Dybala – Value – Free agent
Dybala is a hit-the-ground-running option, a proven world class forward who can play as a second striker or out-and-out centre forward. Having scored 115 goals in 293 games for Juventus and with 34 caps for Argentina, his quality is well proven.
The Peoples Person yesterday published a report analysing the rumours that United have lodged an interest in the Argentine.
United may be nervous after his reported reluctance to come to Old Trafford in 2019 in a swap deal for Romelu Lukaku. His wage demands may also be an issue but are certainly unlikely to exceed those of the departing Ronaldo.
7. Patrik Schick – Value €50 million
Another player in his prime, Schick is very much a penalty box predator and will score goals. His tally of 24 in 31 Bundesliga games last time out was impressive.
Arsenal and Bayern have both been credited with an interest and with Bayer Leverkusen already having signed a new striker in Adam Hlozek, Schick could definitely be on the transfer market this summer.