For Manchester United, the summer transfer window was all about improving a leaky defence and adding both steel and guile to the centre of the park.
There are a few gaps still left to be plugged, none more important than buying a striker as soon as possible after the sensational departure of Cristiano Ronaldo.
United’s striker search is complicated
The Portuguese was the club’s top scorer last season and the club need to get in an elite goal-scorer. United are currently the second lowest in terms of goals scored among the top 10 clubs with only 20 goals scored so far.
The Red Devils had spent in excess of £200million in the summer and are in no position to go all gung-ho in January. So deals in excess of £50million will not be easy.
According to The Athletic, “United spent £218m on transfers in the three months from July 1. That has left them with outstanding transfer instalments to other clubs of £306m.”
Memphis Depay | ‘Manchester United are thinking about’ moving for Dutchman
• Barcelona no longer interested in releasing him
— Sport Witness (@Sport_Witness) December 12, 2022
Gakpo’s brilliant World Cup has ensured PSV Eindhoven will not sell their star asset for anything less than £50million while Felix’s price is more than €100million. The same goes for Portugal’s Round of 16 hat-trick hero Ramos.
Memphis Depay of Barcelona could be the favoured choice in that case. The Netherlands international had a major role to play as he started five games and scored once in the World Cup.
Depay wants to leave the Catalan giants in search of regular minutes and United could be prepared to bring him back considering the relatively cheap costs involved.
Depay could be bargain solution
Barca were open to letting the former United star leave for free in the summer but after seeing him start for Louis Van Gaal’s team at Qatar, they have changed their minds.
According to SPORT (via Sport Witness), “Barcelona were once prepared to let him go on a free, that has changed, and they’ve already warned his entourage that ‘they will only let him leave if the club benefits financially’, which didn’t happen in the summer.”
The only positive for the striker is the fact that there are multiple clubs interested in acquiring his services. Roma ‘have tried’ already, while ‘Manchester United are thinking about it’.
While no costs have been mentioned, it is safe to assume the price will be much less than the other three United targets.
It remains to be seen if the club brings in a stop-gap solution or if they decide to splurge on their primary target.