Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Thrilling replacement named as two suitors line up to sign forgotten Man Utd attacker

RB Leipzig attacker Christopher Nkunku

Man Utd have ‘kickstarted the process’ of replacing forgotten forward Juan Mata with an RB Leipzig attacker, per a report.

Mata, 33, looks poised to finally depart Old Trafford this summer. The veteran’s contract expires at season’s end and at present, there are no signs a fresh extension is in the works.

The Spaniard has become an increasingly peripheral figure at United in recent seasons. Indeed, he has made just four appearances across all competitions this term and is yet to register a single minute of league action.

As such, TheHardTackle (citing Spanish reports), reveal what Mata’s next step could be.

The outlet report Spanish pair Real Sociedad and Real Betis are eyeing a free agent coup. It’s claimed Sociedad’s interest stems from the success they’ve experienced when completing a similar deal for Man City legend David Silva.

Silva joined Sociedad as a free agent in 2020 and has added creativity and guile to their attacking ranks. The club reportedly sense an opportunity to do the same with Juan Mata.

Mata return to Spain most likely

Betis are also in the mix, though their interest could hinge on the future of current playmaker, Nabil Fekir.

The Frenchman remains a top operator at Betis, though is regularly linked with a move away each summer. The report claims Tottenham and Barcelona are his current admirers.

Regardless, United will have a void to fill in their attacking ranks and the report states RB Leipzig’s Christopher Nkunku could fill it.

Christopher Nkunku is Manchester United primary target this summer for €75m

Manchester United will focus on Christopher Nkunku this summer despite previous reports saying they weren’t interested

The 24-year-old attacking midfielder has been in incredible form this season, notching 25 goals and 13 assists across all competitions.

Bild reported in February it would take ‘at least €75million’ to prise him away from Leipzig. That had seemingly been enough to dissuade United, but they are now facing a mounting crisis in the final third.

Edinson Cavani and Jesse Lingard will both leave as free agents in the summer. Retaining Cristiano Ronaldo will be difficult without Champions League football, while Marcus Rashford’s form has dropped off a cliff.

Furthermore, Mason Greenwood’s future remains uncertain amid an ongoing police investigation.

As such, a move for Nkunku may become a necessity and United are a club that can afford even the loftiest of fees. Chelsea and Man City are also believed to be in the mix for the impressive Frenchman.

Manchester United captain Harry Maguire’s best and worst moments for club and country

Man Utd jump queue for Lewandowski

Meanwhile, Manchester United are reportedly positioning themselves at the front of the queue to sign Robert Lewandowski, having seemingly made a promise to the Bayern Munich star over his future.

The Poland international finds himself nearing the end of his Bayern deal, with his arrangement expiring in June 2023. Talks over an extension are so far yet to yield a positive result. As such, there is a growing feeling that a parting of ways could be on the cards.

Despite his age – Lewandowski turns 34 in August – he is likely to have no shortage of admirers. He scored a hat-trick inside 23 minutes as Bayern Munich crushed RB Salzburg 7-1 in the Champions League. That was just the latest in a long history of serial goal-plundering for the lethal Pole.

How many more times Lewandowski plays for Bayern, however, remains to be seen. Indeed, he’s been strongly linked with Arsenal in recent weeks.

However, United too are also seemingly keen – and the word in Germany is that they are ready to make their move.

As per Bild, United are very much in pole position to sign him. The German paper claims Ralf Rangnick’s side have ‘registered their interest’ in the player. In addition, they claim officials at United have let it be known they ‘would like to make the first offer’.

The striker is reportedly ‘surprised’ Bayern are stalling in their efforts to keep him. With his deal now having just 15 months to run, the next few weeks will be crucial in deciding his future.

READ MORE: Major Paul Pogba development sees contract negotiation ‘moving swiftly’ as stakes raised