Ten Hag to decide between two £100m strikers, with electric Rashford link-up hinting who Man Utd will choose
The Man Utd striker chase for the summer of 2023 is seemingly down to two names, and the prospect of a mouth-watering link-up with Marcus Rashford offers a hint at who Erik ten Hag will pursue, per a report.
Manchester United kept their powder relatively dry in the winter window. Just three cost-effective loan signings were made for Jack Butland, Marcel Sabitzer and Wout Weghorst.
The latter has done an admirable job of filling the void left by Cristiano Ronaldo. With Anthony Martial continuing to struggle with injury, the veteran Dutchman may wind up starting far more games than even he might’ve expected.
However, the real striker signing is projected to come in the summer. Indeed, no fewer than four high profile first-teamers could depart for sizeable fees as Ten Hag aims to clear the decks and salary for a major new arrival.
Among those expected to depart is Martial. If the Frenchman is sold – as the MEN and Fabrizio Romano predict – a new striker signing will go from being a luxury to a necessity.
Many a name have been linked to the Red Devils of late. Dusan Vlahovic, Goncalo Ramos, Mohammed Kudus, Harry Kane and Victor Osimhen are five of the best.
The Express recently claimed Napoli’s Osimhen is emerging as the primary target. A fresh report from the Telegraph on Tuesday namechecked Osimhen, though stressed Harry Kane is also under strong consideration.
The pair are both expected to cost £100m+, with the newspaper stating the decision on which to pursue will be made by Ten Hag.
Who will Man Utd choose?
Kane would represent the most readymade option and is the epitome of Premier League proven.
What’s more, the report notes United are fully conscious of his incredible understanding with Son Heung-min and the prospect of him forging a similar relationship with the red-hot Marcus Rashford is an enticing one.
A move for Kane is likened to when Sir Alex Ferguson signed Robin van Persie from Arsenal towards the back end of his career.
However, given Kane has never relied on pace and is slightly younger now than Van Persie was then, it’s noted Ten Hag believes he can get many more world class years out of Kane than United did with RVP.
The downsides involving Kane are twofold, with the first issue being he’s already 29 and may therefore only represent a short-term fix in the event he does start to decline early into his 30s.
Furthermore, even if he refuses to pen fresh terms with Spurs, the north London club heavily favour selling to an overseas club, such as Bayern Munich, in the event they’re backed into a corner. Kane’s current deal expires in the summer of 2024.
Osimhen the longer-term but riskier option
Osimhen, meanwhile, has gone from strength to strength during an incredible campaign in Naples this year.
The centre-forward has 16 goals in 17 Serie A matches and has provided a further four assists. His exploits have helped Napoli establish a whopping 13-point lead over nearest challenger Inter Milan.
At 24, the Nigeria international would be a longer-term option and his willingness to press would suit Ten Hag down to the ground.
However, he too is likely to cost upwards of £100m and does not come with the guarantee of being successful in England like Kane would.
The Telegraph also note there are ‘elements’ of Osimhen’s game that Ten Hag is currently unsure about. Precisely what they are isn’t specified, though it’s noted the Dutch boss has watched ‘extensive’ footage of Osimhen in action.
In any case, United’s striker search appears to have boiled down to two names and both would break the club’s transfer record. The current mark remains the £89.3m paid to sign Paul Pogba back in 2016.
A decision may wind up being made for Ten Hag in the event Kane commits his future to Spurs.
Tottenham retain hope he’ll do just that and if Antonio Conte guides Spurs to a top four finish and a trophy such as the FA Cup, Kane may well elect to stay.
That’d steer United towards Osimhen, though the Red Devils can’t really go wrong with either option.
Given the uncertainty surrounding Man City amid a Premier League investigation and Liverpool clearly on the decline, United may feel they have an opportunity to win league titles right now.
If they do hold that belief, Kane is the better bet, just as the experienced Van Persie was for Ferguson back in 2012.
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