TEAMtalk has learned Man Utd have been offered several intriguing striker options this month, though two wildly differing targets in particular are taking centre stage.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s premature exit has left Erik ten Hag short on firepower. The Dutchman can call upon Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford, though an injury to either would leave his options threadbare.
The fixture list in the second half of the campaign is more congested than ever due to the mid-season World Cup. What’s more, United are contending in four competitions and free midweeks are already a thing of the past.
Man Utd’s top target was widely believed to be Cody Gakpo. The former PSV Eindhoven ace spoke multiple times with Ten Hag last summer, though United prioritised a move for Antony instead.
Gakpo later admitted he expected to call Old Trafford his home at some stage this season, though when the time came for United to stump up the cash ahead of the January window, the Glazers balked.
That’s according to CBS Sports’ Ben Jacobs, who pointed the finger of blame for allowing Liverpool to swoop at the maligned Glazer family.
Regardless, United’s search for a new frontman will go on, and a more cost-effective six-month loan deal is understood to be their priority.
Now, TEAMtalk’s transfer insider, Graeme Bailey, has shed light on the striker chase, including highlighting two players who could fill Ronaldo’s boots.
Ajax reunion, Al Nassr raid viable options
Bailey stressed a move for Ajax’a Mohammed Kudus, 22, is “one to keep an eye on”.
The Ghana international is reportedly valued around the £35m mark, and as such, any move will require Ten Hag laying down the law to United’s decision-makers.
If those in charge can be cajoled into opening the chequebook after the humiliation of seeing Gakpo snatched by a rival, Ten Hag may yet forge another Ajax reunion in Manchester.
If not, Bailey talked up a cheap and cheerful loan move for Cameroon veteran, Vincent Aboubakar.
The 30-year-old is poised to become the first casualty of Ronaldo’s move to Al Nassr. It’s understood the Saudi club are prepared to let Aboubakar leave with his role now taken by Ronaldo.
“Erik Ten Hag wants a forward, we know that,” said Bailey. “The club for various reasons didn’t go forward with Cody Gakpo and whilst United fans insist that he wasn’t right – the fact is that Ten Hag wanted him, and that can’t be overlooked.
“Numerous players are being offered to them, but it won’t be easy to bring certain ones in. From Olivier Giroud to Memphis Depay to Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting – they have all be considered.
“There are some interesting options out there and one of those I believe United like is Mohammed Kudus.
“Yes, he is another Ajax player, but that does mean that Ten Hag knows him and likes him, and he is very much one to keep an eye on.
“Another who could actually be available, ironically because of Cristiano Ronaldo’s arrival at Al Nassr, is Vincent Aboubakar.
“He looks like he could be on his way out and United could be an ideal landing spot for him – even if it is just on a short-term deal.”
A move for Kudus would undoubtedly be the more enticing play. Kudus has 10 goals in 21 this season including four in the Champions League. His versatility – being more than capable of playing as a No 10 – would also appeal to Ten Hag.
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