A statistical look at some of the striker targets Manchester United may well be looking at in Europe this summer, according to their shooting volume.
With Zlatan Ibrahimovic not yet a confirmed starter next season and Wayne Rooney almost certainly looking like a mover away from Old Trafford, Jose Mourinho will be most likely looking for a new forward.
In accordance with WhoScored’s stats we focus on Europe’s busiest shooters, who may well be on Mourinho’s scouting list. We have eliminated those who have not played 10 games, those who Mourinho would not touch with a barge pole and those out of his and United’s reach.
The top three strikers with the most shots in Europe are Edin Dzeko, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Sergio Aguero but those three are non-runners for United one reason or another.
In at six is Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowksi, but he cannot be considered a target for Mourinho, along with Luis Suarez (10), the 35-year-old Real Betis man Ruben Castro (11), Las Palmas journeyman Kevin-Prince Boateng (14) and Toulouse forward Martin Braithwaite (15).
With those eight out of the running, we are left with an interesting list.
10 potential Man Utd strike targets in relation to the most shots:
Ciro Immobile (Lazio) , 4.1 shots per game, rating 7.25, goals 17, (4th)
The livewire Italy forward has got terrific movement and he is enjoying his best season for goals since 2013/14. If Mourinho is looking for a little man to play off his big man Zlatan then this goal poaching (6 goals from inside the box) may well be a good fit.
Dries Mertens (Napoli), 4.1, shots per game, rating 7.68, goals 20, (5th)
With the best rating of the 10 the Belgium forward has had a stellar season in Serie A, blasting home 20 goals. He’s another diminutive attacker, who loves to shoot from range and who can play all across the front and in midfield.
His flexibility may well appeal to Mourinho and his contract expires in June 2018. He was recently reported to be in “secret talks” with United over a move this summer. Watch this space…
Edinson Cavani (PSG), 3.8 shots per game, rating 7.25, goals 27, (7th)
The top goalscorer in the list, Cavani at 30 seems to have been around for years and his age may well put off Mourinho.
His finishing is rated ‘very strong’ by WhoScored and his aerial ability and all round penalty area play is strong. Regardless of his age he’d surely guarantee 15 goals in the Premier League.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund), 3.7 shots per game, rating 7.51, goals 23, (8th)
Mourinho would love to get his hands on Dortmund targetman Aubameyang, whose strengths include ‘finishing’, making ‘key passes’ and ‘counter-attacking’. He is probably the most complete forward in the list with a towering stature and if Ibrahimovic was to move on he would become an ideal man for Mourinho at Old Trafford.
That said, with three years left on his contract and coming into his prime at 27, United will have fierce competition for the former Saint Etienne man and will have to fork out over £50million.
Mauro Icardi (Inter Milan), 3.6 shots per game, rating 7.43, goals 20, (9th)
With his sole strength being ‘finishing’ you know what to expect from the 24-year-old Icardi. He is an old-fashioned No 9 who comes alive in the 18-yard box
He would not fit in under Pep Guardiola at Man City; his working back is non existent. He is also not as flexible as the likes of Mertens or Immobile, but he gets goals and he’s coming into his prime.
Gonzalo Higuain (Juventus), 3.3 shots per game, rating 7.44, goals 19, (12th)
If you said he was 35, that would be feasible as he’s been around as long as the hills, but at 29 he’s still got at least two good years in him.
Mourinho had no qualms about adding an ageing Zlatan to his ranks and with ‘finishing’ and ‘holding on to the ball’ as two of his assets, he may fit in.
He does though have a long contract in Turin, so he won’t be a freebie like Zlatan, and similar to Icardi he is a box player and does not have the capacity to play out wide or in the hole.
Andrea Belotti (Torino), 3.3 shots per game, rating 7.67, goals 22, (13th)
One of the hottest striking properties around and he has been linked with a number of the top clubs in Europe, including United.
At 23 he certainly looks like having 10 years ahead of him and he is maturing nicely with this season being his best for goals. He is ‘aerially strong’, provides a strong ‘defensive contribution’ and is a ‘finisher’, according to his WhoScored strengths.
He is under contract until 2021 and already he has been capped by the Azzurri. Torino will only accept top dollar for him, but he looks a fantastic prospect and his rating is only bettered by Mertens.
Steve Mounie (Montpellier), 3.2 shots per game, rating 7.38, goals 13, (16th)
Somewhat the black sheep of the list and the lowest scorer on the list with 12 goals, but at 22 he is enjoying a stellar season in France.
He may not be a big name, but he has a huge frame and he is a real targetman, whose strength could make him a perfect fit for the Premier League.
He is ‘aerially strong’ and a rated a good ‘finisher’, according to the stats. although does have a tendency to give away free-kicks. He is still very much learning his trade, but he would be a cheap purchase and one Zlatan could mould into his replacement.
Anthony Modeste (Cologne), 3.1 shots per game, rating 7.42, goals 22, (17th)
A French striker who appears to have had somewhat of a renaissance in the Bundesliga with Cologne. At 28 it looked as though his big move may well have past but after blasting 18 goals last season and 22 goals this term – his best ever – Modeste has caught the eye.
His passing is classed as weak, but aerially he is good and is finishing is also rated highly, but he is tied to a long contract in Germany and he may well represent too much of a gamble for United.
Alexandre Lacazette (Lyon), 3.1 shots per game, rating 7.63, goals 23, (18th)
Another French forward, who has been heavily linked with Arsenal in the past. The 25-year-old is an all round No 9 and has no significant weaknesses, according to WhoScored.
He does not have the physical presence of a Mounie or Aubameyang, but he has a strong rating of 7.63 and his movement and finishing are very good. He’s been a 20-goal-plus a season-man for the last four years and he would surely guarantee another 20-goal haul in England.