Man Utd turn to ex-Chelsea striker if Gakpo eludes Ten Hag, with clever January deal teeing up jackpot signing next summer

Former Chelsea strikers Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud

Man Utd have again been tipped to sign a former Chelsea striker if they’re unable to land Cody Gakpo next month, and taking the former route would give Erik ten Hag a greater chance of securing a blockbuster move next summer, per a report.

The Red Devils’ primary focus in January remains the signing of Cody Gakpo. The Netherlands international, 23, can reportedly be snapped up for less than £50m.

The Telegraph reported Man Utd have settled on an opening bid of £43m. If tabled, it appears they’ll stand a good chance of seeing it accepted.

What’s more, the Mirror claimed talks have already opened between United and Gakpo’s club, PSV Eindhoven. In addition, the Dutch club require a high profile sale to avoid ‘financial meltdown’ and personal terms won’t be an issue, per the newspaper.

Clearly, all the signs point towards Gakpo lining up at Old Trafford next month. However, it looked like United would land Frenkie de Jong for the longest time last summer and the Barcelona ace ultimately stayed put.

What’s more, given Gakpo is primarily a left winger, one school of thought suggests that if United do sign Gakpo, they’ll then need to sign a more recognised centre-forward next summer anyway.

Regardless, until Gakpo has signed, the rumour mill will continue to spin. According to ESPN, if Gakpo does elude United, a move for former Chelsea frontman, Alvaro Morata, could quickly take shape.

Morata loan could tee up huge summer raid

Signing Morata won’t get the pulses of United fans racing. However, the Spanish veteran could represent a canny addition on many levels.

Firstly, it’s common knowledge United overspent last summer on deals for the likes of Casemiro and Antony. The Red Devils wanted to ensure Ten Hag got off to an eye-catching start and wound up forking out well over £200m in total.

ESPN previously reported Morata could be available on loan from Atletico Madrid and as such, he’d not cost a fee.

A six-month signing would tie United over until the summer, at which point they can launch an all-out offensive for a bigger prize.

Bigger names on the horizon for Man Utd?

Man Utd have drawn tentative links with Kylian Mbappe who has previously voiced his displeasure at his treatment in Paris.

Mbappe would represent the ultimate coup and will become world football’s most recognisable star once Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo retire.

Obviously, a deal for a player of his calibre will be difficult to make, though there are other options.

Napoli’s Victor Osimhen continues to be linked with Man Utd, as does Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez. Inter will listen to big offers for the Argentina next summer as they wrestle with how to balance the books.

Martinez flopped at the World Cup, however, while Osimhen has been near-unplayable in Naples this season.

Napoli currently top Serie A by eight points and are chasing their first league title since the Diego Maradona days.

They’re understandably unwilling to entertain any January exits. However, come the summer it’ll be a different story.

Osimhen works as hard off the ball as he does on it and would be able to withstand the physical rigours of the tougher Premier League. A transfer fee of around £90m was recently touted in the Italian press.

Of course, Gakpo continues to remain United’s primary focus. However, if ESPN are correct, a loan move for Morata that then tees up an even bigger signing than Gakpo next summer could occur if discussions with PSV somehow break down.

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