Randal Kolo Muani is the £100m-plus Man Utd target who matches Harry Kane already
“I still miss quite a bit,” says Manchester United striker target Randal Kolo Muani. Somebody needs to tell him that every player ‘misses quite a bit’; even Erling Haaland occasionally. But the fact that Kolo Muani is so endearingly modest and is clearly striving for higher standards (“I ask the club to get me my statistics on my matches each time”) is a clear indication that he is exactly the kind of striker Manchester United should consider this summer.
Harry Kane would be the easy choice. Not easy to do business with Daniel Levy and get him out of Tottenham – that would be a ball-ache – but easy in terms of what he would bring. There’s almost no chance of him failing but there’s also almost no chance of him improving. Turning 30 this summer, the best-case scenario is that his form plateaus for long enough that United can mount a title challenge.
And the truth is that for all Kolo Muani talks about his output being “not at the level where I should be”, his shooting statistics almost exactly mirror those of Kane. While Kane hits the target with 41.7% of his shots, Kolo Muani’s number is 42%. While Kane scores with 0.19 of his shots. Kolo Muani is right next to him on 0.20 (matching Marcus Rashford, which is a fine place to find yourself this season).
The bare statistics might tell us that Kane has scored almost twice as many goals as Kolo Muani but the truth is that he has taken almost twice as many shots. Yes, Kane would score goals for Manchester United, but so would the Frenchman.
What is perhaps more impressive are his ball-carrying skills, leading to more than one comparison with Thierry Henry, who has himself likened his fellow countryman to Nwankwo Kanu. An exhaustive list of players who have hit double figures for goals and assists across the top five leagues in Europe reads Lionel Messi, Neymar, Bukayo Saka, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and Randal Kolo Muani. That’s an exclusive club.
He is undoubtedly right to say he could improve – he had five off-target attempts in a 2-0 defeat to Union Berlin last weekend – but watch the highlights of the game: He attempted 13 dribbles and was successful a ludicrous 12 times. He created six chances. This fella is proper good with the ball at his feet.
Kolo Muani vs Union Berlin pic.twitter.com/U9x1MMHCgx
— no kids three money (@189nlne) March 20, 2023
Many will remember his miss in the World Cup final but Kolo Muani’s reaction to that volley (saved by Emiliano Martinez) is equally telling. He detailed this week that he could have chosen three other options: Squared it to Kylian Mbappe, chipped Martinez or volleyed it to the keeper’s left. He has watched that clip hundreds of times so he can make a better decision next time.
He does still miss quite a bit and perhaps some Manchester United fans will balk at the club paying over £100m for a player who was available for free last summer. But in Kolo Muani, they would be getting a player who strives to be better. And he is already damned good.
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