Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Ranking the eight strikers Man Utd have signed in the post-Fergie era: €50m ‘mope,’ iconic veterans…

Former Man Utd strikers Cristiano Ronaldo, Wout Weghorst and Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Former Man Utd strikers Cristiano Ronaldo, Wout Weghorst and Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Manchester United are reportedly looking to bring in a new young striker in the summer as Sir Jim Ratcliffe aims to revamp his squad. 

As exclusively revealed by TEAMtalk, RB Leipzig star Benjamin Sesko is their top target, with Ratcliffe eyeing a long-term partner for Rasmus Hojlund.

Finding the perfect striker is always difficult, however. In this feature, we have taken a look at the worst and best centre-forward signings Man Utd have made since Sir Alex Ferguson left in 2013.

We have excluded those who played less than 10 matches for the Red Devils.

8. Wout Weghorst

No one could ever fault Wout Weghorst’s effort during his time at Old Trafford, but it’s fair to say that his finishing ability left a lot to be desired.

Erik ten Hag signed the Netherlands international on loan from Burnley in January last year after spending the first half of 2022/23 with Besiktas.

Weghorst made 31 appearances in total for the Red Devils, scoring just two goals in the process. He’s now playing for Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga, where he’s netted five times in 19 outings so far.

7. Radamel Falcao

There was a huge amount of excitement when Man Utd signed Radamel Falcao on loan from Atletico Madrid in 2014.

However, it was clear that the man who had scored 28 goals in 34 LaLiga appearances just two seasons before his arrival at Old Trafford was not the same after sustaining a serious knee injury.

Falcao bagged four goals in 29 appearances for Man Utd, which made it an easy decision to swerve the option to buy him for £43m.

You can’t blame Louis van Gaal for taking a punt on the Colombia international, but he just never lived up to the hype in the Premier League.

6. Romelu Lukaku

Romelu Lukaku was certainly more prolific than other strikers on this list, but was also the most expensive of all of them, which is why he ranks so low.

The Belgium international arrived at Old Trafford for £75m in 2017. His first season went well, with Lukaku netting 27 goals across all competitions.

However, the former Chelsea and Everton man decided he needed to bulk up for the 2018 World Cup and his form nosedived as a result.

Jose Mourinho dropped Lukaku before he was sacked and Ole Gunnar Solsjkaer never really trusted him.

He still scored 15 goals in 2018/19 but Solskjaer wanted a more mobile centre-forward and sold him to Inter Milan, somehow recouping £73m.

5. Anthony Martial

Anthony Martial was touted to become the next Thierry Henry when Man Utd signed him for an initial €50m (£38.5m) in 2015 but has never lived up to his potential due to a number of factors.

Injuries have certainly impacted the Frenchman’s career, but his attitude has also been brought into question many times over the years.

Martin O’Neil gave a brutal assessment of Martial in September last year: “He just seems to mope and moan,” he said.

“He doesn’t do enough, he complains when he’s coming off – but you just think ‘You’re playing for Manchester United; you’ve got to be doing more!’

“We’re not talking about an ordinary Premier League side here. It’s Manchester United. You’ve got to be better.”

Martial has made 317 appearances overall for Man Utd, scoring 90 goals and making 55 assists.

4. Edinson Cavani

Man Utd secured one hell of a deal when they signed veteran PSG striker Edinson Cavani on a free transfer in 2020.

The Uruguay international’s first season was a success, scoring 17 goals in all competitions, 10 of which came in the Premier League, mainly in front of no fans because of Covid.

Cavani failed to build on his solid first campaign, however. He gave up his no.7 shirt to Ronaldo and with it, his finishing seemed to go with it.

After a disappointing season for the entire team, there were questions over Cavani’s commitment before leaving for Valencia prior to Erik ten Hag taking over.

READ MORETen Hag orders Man Utd to sign incredible goal-per-game striker who’ll relegate Hojlund to the bench


3. Rasmus Hojlund

It wasn’t easy to find a place for Rasmus Hojlund on this list but we think he’s shown enough promise in his first six months at Man Utd to justify third spot.

The Red Devils paid £72m to sign the talented 21-year-old last summer and he endured a difficult start to life in the Premier League – failing to score in his first 14 PL appearances.

However, Hojlund has now scored five goals in his last five outings and is beginning to show why Man Utd paid the big bucks to bring him in.

If the Denmark international continues on his current trajectory, he looks set to become a key player for Ten Hag’s team for years to come.

2. Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo established himself as one of the world’s best players in his first stint at Man Utd. He re-joined in 2021 and essentially carried the club on his back in his first season, netting 24 goals in all competitions.

Nevertheless, many identified him as ‘a problem’ behind the scenes and was somehow blamed for the Red Devil’s lacklustre form despite him banging in the goals.

That was probably a fair assessment in his second season under Erik ten Hag, though, as Ronaldo spent the majority of the time trying to secure a move away from Man Utd. 

His controversial interview with Piers Morgan was the last straw for the Premier League giants and his contract was terminated by mutual consent in November 2022.

Ronaldo then joined Saudi club Al Nassr, where the 39-year-old now earns around £3.4m per week.

1.  Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Iconic Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic arrived at Man Utd at the same time as Jose Mourinho and Paul Pogba in what was a mouth-watering prospect.

However, Ibrahimovic was ultimately the only one of the trio to leave Old Trafford with his reputation still intact.

Initially, Ibra signed for a year after leaving PSG as a 34-year-old. He scored 17 goals in 28 Premier League appearances to get himself among the PFA Player of the Season nominees, also netting twice in the EFL Cup final including a late winner to seal part of the Treble Lite (Community Shield, Europa League and EFL Cup).

He returned the following season. By that time his number nine spot had been taken by Lukaku, but the striker’s brief stint at Old Trafford offered some brief respite amid the post-Fergie darkness.

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