In Part One, assessing what the club has, I looked at the four striker the club utilised during last season. In Part Two, Premier League targets, I looked at players already in the Barclays Premier League that have been linked with the club at some stage this year. In Part Three, I look at the players from abroad that have been linked with the Old Trafford club.
Recent reports out of Madrid have been conflicting. Some have suggested the team will be built around Bale and he will be given a central role, some have said the same about Cristiano Ronaldo. One thing the reports aren’t mentioning is the French superstar striker Benzema. The lack of comments on his future has meant that he has been linked with a move away from the Spanish capital. His destination? Arsenal and United are among the front-runners. United’s interest in the striker date back to early 2008 when Sir Alex Ferguson made his interest of the striker, then playing for Lyon, public.
The move never happened and Benzema moved to Madrid in 2009. Since then Benzema has played 174 times for Los Blancos scoring 87 goals in the league. At the age of 27 Benzema is well and truly moving into the best years of his career. The signing would really make a statement for the Red Devils and announce themselves back on the European stage again. Benzema is one of the premier strikers in the world. His elegance and skill mixed with his eye for goal make him a huge threat when going forward. Benzema would take the central striker role at United meaning that Rooney would play just behind him. This sounds like a dangerous front two which would out fear in opposing defenders.
This is a relatively new link that has come out in the press. Bacca has been a major part of the Sevilla side that retained the Europa League recently. In the final he scored twice in a 3-2 win. I don’t necessarily believe that there is too much truth in the rumour as Bacca was not on the radar before this eye-catching performance. Against the other three strikers on this part of the list he is probably the least likely to make the move to the Northwest. He has scored 34 goals for Sevilla since 2013 and came joint second highest scorer in the Europa League this season. Given his style of play and how comfortable he is in different positions Bacca would have to play with Rooney behind him.
This is my personal favourite outcome on the list. Thomas Müller is one of the best forward players in the World. A fall out with current Bayern manager Pep Guardiola means that rumours are suggesting the German wants out. When Müller came out and spoke of his relationship with Van Gaal being more than that of a player and manager the link to Manchester was made. Van Gaal was the manager who gave Müller his first appearance at Bayern. A figure of £40 million has been suggested to bring Müller to Old Trafford. Müller could fit in to any system United would wish to play. He can play down either flank, behind the striker or up top as a number nine.
This means that he could fit in to a 4-3-3 with Rooney or a 4-2-3-1 in any position. To have a player of immense quality with a good work ethic who can play anywhere you wish to play him in the front line would be a very strong plus for United. He has played 197 times for Bayern and scored 71 goals. This is an amazing record if you take in to consideration he is only 25 years old. He has also played 63 times for Germany and scored 27 goals as well as being around the top of goal-scoring tables at major international tournaments. If United want to make a massive impact on their return to the Champions League and want to challenge Chelsea for the title next season Müller would be the perfect player to help them do this.
Martinez is a highly rated striker who has a very physical style of play. He is quick and strong with a good goal scoring record. He would certainly give United a different dimension upfront than what they currently have. Martinez has also been in incredible form in the Champions League showing that he could fire United far in the competition. He is in joint fifth position in the standings with seven goals. In the last three seasons at Porto Martinez has scored 85 goals and average of 28.3 per season. He has also revealed that he wishes to leave the club this summer. United would face stiff opposition from Arsenal for this deal and it is rumoured that the deal for Martinez to join the London club is well under way.
Given all that has been examined in this article one thing is for certain, United need to score more goals next season. Stepping up to Champions League level means that the task will get even more difficult. I believe that United need to sign a striker with a big reputation. When the season began we thought we would be scoring goals for fun with boasting star strikers like Falcao, Rooney and Van Persie. Now that Falcao has left and there are question marks over Van Persie the need for a signing in the goals department is a must. If the decision is made that Van Persie should leave the issue becomes even more vital.
I think United should try and sign either Müller or Benzema to become the focal point of the attack with Rooney in the number 10 position behind. This would mean we have a striker who you would expect to score 20 goals plus as well as Rooney who is almost certainly going to score over 10 goals if he stays fit. Then if you have Depay who is more than capable of scoring goals and midfielders pushing on as they did last season the team would achieve a higher tally than this term. I also believe that the club should look to sign Ings if Spurs fail in their early big to secure his signature.
A player of Ings quality on a free transfer would be a massive bargain for the Club. His age is a massive bonus and being around players that are of United calibre would help his development even if he does not get as much time on the pitch as elsewhere. United’s standing and reputation in World football means that they have a wealth of targets to pick from. There are many other targets that have not been mentioned in this list. One thing is for certain is that they can attract players of immense quality and whoever Van Gaal decides to sign they will be very welcome at the club.
This article was researched and written by Alan Brown. You can follow him on Twitter.