In Part One, assessing what the club has, I looked at the four striker the club utilised during last season. In Part Two, I look at players already in the Barclays Premier League that have been linked with the club at some stage this year.
Christian Benteke has come into form just when Aston Villa needed him this season. Villa were getting dragged into a relegation battle but Benteke’s goals started coming the clubs fortunes turned around. They still struggled but had much more of a threat going forward. This has all meant that Villa are in the FA cup final and Benteke was named Player of the Month in April. Benteke is also a target for Liverpool and Arsenal so United may face competition for his signature. Benteke also has a buy out clause in his contract of over £30 million. He has recently stated that he wants to move to a club were he will be considered the main striker.
This would mean Benteke is only an option if we want to play Rooney off the front man. Benteke is a strong front man who is strong in the air. He can bully defenders and give them a really hard time. If we look at Benteke’s scoring record in the Premier League he has scored 42 goals in 89 appearances. This is a positive return for a striker who is playing in a mid table team. He has also played at international level with Belgium, which shows that he can play at a higher level. He has 22 caps scoring seven times. At the age of 24 Benteke still has time to refine his game before he hits the prime of his career. Benteke would fit into the United side well and give them an option that they don’t currently have.
Danny Ings has had a wonderful season on a personal level. He has scored goals in a side that has struggled in the league and in the end they were relegated back to the Championship. His appearances have caught the eye though and earned him a call up to the England U21 one side this summer. At the end of this season Ings will become a free agent and able to talk to whatever club he likes. This means that there are a number of teams interested in his signature. Ings scored 11 goals this season in 35 appearances, which is a good return for a side that has struggled to perform in the league.
At the age of 22 Ings may be willing to settle for a rotation role or able to play up top with a player behind him. Ings is able to poach goals and is a natural goal scorer, which is something the squad would be lacking if Chicharito left, meaning he would have a place in the squad. Even with Ings out of contract Tottenham Hotspur have made an offer in order for them to speak to him about joining the club before anybody else. I think United would wait till the contract has expired to make a move for Ings.
What a season Harry Kane has had! He has scored 21 times in the Premier League this season and come from relatively nowhere to be one of the best strikers in the league. In all honesty I cannot see United being able t o do a deal with Spurs or Kane so this one is not likely in the slightest. The price that Kane would cost on the back of one excellent season would be a huge risk. There are no doubts that Kane has all the attributes to be a successful player for years to come but with the fee being suggested it would be difficult to justify it. Kane is happy at Spurs and Spurs have no reason to sell, so unless United really wanted him and made him a top priority I imagine the rumours that have been circulating about this deal are bogus.
At the start of the season Berahino was on fire and speculation of a transfer to a bigger club would not go away. As the season progressed his form dipped a little. However, he ended up with 14 league goals this season highlighting his eye for goal. I think Berahino would be used as a rotation option if United signed him which I also think he would be willing to do. He isn’t the finished article and still needs a little bit of refinement before becoming a first team player. He is quick and mobile which are traits the United squad desperately lack. He is still young at 21 and has time to develop into a successful striker at a big club. There are other teams interested in the young star but I think if United wanted him they would be able to tempt him to Old Trafford.
Signing a player from the Premier League make the transition a lot easier. If the player has proven they can score goals in the league their style is fitted to the brand of football we play. The only player on the list that I think is both a feasible transfer and has the ability to force his way into the first team would be Benteke. He has the presence and track record to do so, this stemming from his scoring record over a length of time and amount of international football played. Ings and Berahino would need time to develop into a United striker so having them as back up to Rooney would be the best option with these two targets. Harry Kane is not going to happen this transfer window, I think the rumours were always going to surface after the season he had. With the three targets that have the potential to come to United this summer they all lack sustained experience at Champions League level. As United have just finished fourth and will be in the play off to enter the Champions League this season they may have to look further afield to sign a top striker experienced at this level.
This article was researched and written by Alan Brown. You can follow him on Twitter.