Manchester United have rejected two forwards from major European clubs and are now on the hunt for a cheaper alternative from Germany, according to reports.
Erik ten Hag is looking to solve his striker problem once and for all this winter. He does not see Cristiano Ronaldo as being his long-term talisman and is likely to part ways with the Portuguese next year.
Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial are also available to the manager. But if he and Manchester United want to please the club’s fans, then they could probably do with bringing in a top goalscorer to replace Ronaldo.
Man Utd have been credited with an interest in plenty of strikers, including Jonathan David of Lille. Unfortunately for the Red Devils, he is now a target for Premier League rivals Arsenal and Tottenham.
Man Utd like the look of Benjamin Sesko, too. But this would be a tricky signing to complete as he has agreed to move from Red Bull Salzburg to RB Leipzig next summer.
Man Utd have also been linked with attackers from La Liga and Serie A. And Sky Sport Germany journalist Florian Plettenberg has given an update on these pursuits.
In a tweet concerning Atletico Madrid’s Joao Felix and Juventus star Dusan Vlahovic, he wrote: ‘Been told that Vlahovic and Joao Felix are not an issue at Manchester United. They are no transfer targets for the club.’
The main problem here is likely to be money. Man Utd went big in the summer transfer window, spending over £227million to bolster Ten Hag’s squad. The likes of Casemiro, Antony and Lisandro Martinez came in, among others.
The side didn’t bring much money in through sales, either. Players including Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata all left on free transfers following the expiry of their respective contracts.
Man Utd opt against La Liga, Serie A moves
Man Utd chiefs cannot justify this amount of spending in each transfer window. As such, Ten Hag has moved on from Felix and Vlahovic.
Felix cost Atleti an eye-watering £113m in July 2019 and so the Spanish club would want a big fee to let him go. Vlahovic, meanwhile, has only recently moved from Fiorentina to Juve in a £63m deal. Therefore, Juve’s stance would be similar to Atleti’s if Man Utd came knocking.
Ten Hag is now setting his sights on a far cheaper striker to succeed from Ronaldo. The man in question is Bayern Munich ace Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting.
The Germany-born Cameroon international had to play second fiddle to Robert Lewandowski for two seasons. But since Lewandowski left for Barcelona, Choupo-Moting has shown what he can do.
10 goals have come his way in just 14 matches so far this campaign, putting Choupo-Moting in great form. That includes Champions League strikes against Barca and Inter Milan, too.
German outlet Bild suggest Man Utd will try to sign Choupo-Moting in January by offering him a ‘fat contract’.
Ten Hag ‘seriously interested’ in landing Bayern star
And Plettenberg has now given his information on the hunt. He writes: ‘News [on] Choupo-Moting: MUFC is seriously interested in a transfer in winter, they have inquired about him. He’s a candidate to replace Ronaldo. Manchester bosses expect him to leave in winter.’
And Choupo-Moting could be available for a stunningly low price in 2023. He is 33 years old, which will automatically reduce his price tag. Plus, the player’s contract runs out at the end of the season.
If Choupo-Moting rejects the chance to pen a new Bayern deal, then this would force the Bundesliga giants to sell at a reduced rate. And transfermarkt claim his value has fallen to €3m (£2.6m) amid the expected contract discussions.
This gives Man Utd a great opportunity to add to their forward line without breaking the bank. However, they will have to act fairly swiftly to complete the transfer.
Choupo-Moting is set to begin contract talks with Bayern straight after his return from the World Cup. Due to this, Man Utd will probably need to begin negotiations at the same time to hijack Bayern’s contract hopes.