Which striker could Manchester United be interested in this summer?

Manchester United cooled their interest in Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann last Thursday with a view of looking for a new striker rather than a player considered to be a number ten, despite being able to lead the line and play on either wing. For the last few seasons, United have been short on strikers, which is a problem. This was the case during the past season too with Zlatan Ibrahimovic being heavily relied upon, getting through much of the season and doing well, but when he was suspended, or latterly injured, United’s reliance moved onto Marcus Rashford, which worked, but was not all that ideal. Wayne Rooney was another option but over the past few seasons, the United captain has lost his strikers instinct, which was shown in Michael Carrick’s testimonial on Sunday at Old Trafford. Just who could Jose Mourinho be looking to sign this summer to lead the like for United? Here are some options, both realistic and unrealistic.

Romelu Lukaku

The Everton striker is on the move this summer and will have a hefty fee placed on his name, said to be around £100 million, which is a huge figure even with the money in today’s game. Lukaku is a beast when he is on form, but during that past season, that has not always been the case. The Belgian scored 26 goals for the Goodison Park club during the past season, which is not bad considering the club he played for, but if he was in form for much of the season, he could have led his side in to a better finishing position in the league, maybe with them not having to qualify for a UEFA Europa League place next season. Lukaku has confirmed that he has now reached an agreement with another club ahead of the new season. Could that be with Manchester United?

Alvaro Morata

The Real Madrid forward has been linked with AC Milan in recent weeks, with suggestions made that only United are currently interested in signing the Spaniard. Fresh from helping his side lift the UEFA Champions League trophy for the third time in four seasons, Morata, a former Juventus player, moving back to Madrid last summer after a buyback clause in his contract was activated, it seems that the Madrid club will be cashing in on the player this summer, something maybe to help fund their bid for AS Monaco youth prodigy Kylian Mbappe, who may want to remain at the principality club for another season, something seconded by his club. Morata could be an option for United this summer, but no firm interest seems to have been reported.

Andrea Belotti

The Italian striker has been linked with United already this summer, but his €100 million release clause would be one of the main factors of whether there was any solid interest in the player from the Old Trafford club. Belotti made 37 appearances for Torino during the past season, scoring 28 goals, which is something United would want in their team next season – incidentally, the same number Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored before he suffered that season-ending injury back in April. Belotti is a decent striker, maybe not one of the best in the world, but certainly on the right track and heading in the right direction. United will be looking for at least one striker, but whether that is Belotti remains to be seen.

Alexandre Lacazette

The Frenchman was seemingly on his was to Atletico Madrid this summer, but the clubs ban from FIFA was upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport last week, which means he could move to the Spanish capital, but would not be eligible to play for the club until January, missing the first half of the season which could effectively rule him out for France ahead of the FIFA World Cup in Russia next summer. Lacazette was linked to United last week and has previously been a target for Arsenal and Liverpool. The player could opt to remain at Lyon for at least the first half of the season, moving to Atletico in January, but may find it easier to remain at Lyon for another year, fighting for his place in France’s World Cup squad, should they make next summer’s tournament. United will have other options, but two years ago, Lacazette was the many most United supporters were raving about if that means anything.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

The Gabon international is rumoured to he heading to Paris Saint-Germain this summer with the player wanting to move to Real Madrid after Borussia Dortmund. The 27-year-old scored 31 goals in 32 matches during the past season, so he offers what United are looking for – goals. Aubameyang is a €70 million target for PSG but reports suggest that United could go head-to-head with the French club in the race to sign the once Manchester City target. Aubameyang would be a good signing, as would any striker who has the ability and potential to score the goals United need in order to put on a better challenge in the Premier League and beyond next season. The league was the main area where United fell short, drawing too many matches, especially at home. Whoever Jose Mourinho and United are looking for this summer, they will be a player who will add something the club have not currently got.

Alexandre Lacazette the man to lead Manchester United’s line?

Alexandre Lacazette is a player who has been tipped for big things. Two years or so ago, nearly every Manchester United supporter wanted the Frenchman to lead the line at United, but ever since Antoine Griezmann broke the headlines, it was him instead that most supporters wanted. Lacazette is a talented player and everything had been set for him to sign for Atletico Madrid this summer, but their transfer ban was upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, meaning they can sign players, but not register them until January. Lacazette will either need to stay with Lyon for the first half of the new season or see if another club would make him just as big a star as the La Liga side could. Lacazette made 44 appearances for Lyon during the past season, scoring 36 goals in all competitions, which was a great season for the Frenchman, bring much-needed goals, something United could do with in the coming season.

What is being reported and by who?

The Mirror have reported that Manchester United will bid £50 million for the French striker, who was a target for Atletico Madrid before their transfer ban was enforced, also for Arsenal, of which he has been a target for a number of years. The newspaper also states that both Romelu Lukaku and Alvaro Morata are also targets for United with the latter increasingly likely to move back to Serie A with Milan a club likely to buy him. Lacazette has previously stated he would only sign for a club in the UEFA Champions League, which could rule out Arsene Wenger’s side. The Metro have reported that United were sure they could beat both Liverpool and Arsenal to the Frenchman, whereas The Daily Star report more of the same in line with the Mirror. The Daily Mail suggested that Atletico’s transfer ban would steer Lacazette into Arsenal, the club without Champions League football next season, as have The Sun and The Independent. However, The Mirror report comments from Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas who suggested Atletico’s transfer ban had ‘changed everything’ but the player could remain at the French club until the ban has been served.

What type of player is Alexandre Lacazette?

Lacazette is a striker and a great one at that, at least in the competitions he played in last season, scoring 36 goals in all competitions, six of those in his last three matches for the club, one being a UEFA Europa League semi-final second leg against Ajax, the team United beat in the final to win the only major trophy the club had never won, also earning a UEFA Champions League place next season. Lacazette plays the centre-forward role, leading the line just like Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcus Rashford. He can play in any formation, the 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 being ideal as he will be flanked either side by a wide player, who could either cut in or set him up with goals. Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Anthony Martial, Rashford and even Juan Mata could all be involved in the wide areas, Jesse Lingard also, plus whoever Jose Mourinho signs this summer as the wing was an issue for strengthening. Lacazette is an experienced player, and one who could strengthen his own abilities in a tougher league, the Premier League for instance. I am not convinced he is a target for United, not instead of Griezmann anyway, but things can change quickly in football.

Likelihood of the transfer?

At this moment in time, the player will still be reeling from the fact his so-called dream move to Atletico Madrid will not happen this summer. Many say that Lacazette was due to be the replacement of Griezmann, who will now not leave the Madrid club, at least until after their ban has been served. Arsenal and a number of other clubs have shown interest in Lacazette, who would be a good signing for any club. Right now though, all I see is the media seeking another target for Manchester United after it was revealed that United saw their priorities change after the season-ending injury to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, where a new striker was needed, instead of Griezmann, who they described as a number ten. The real reason Griezmann is staying is to show loyalty to his club, meaning that if he left, they would not have a replacement for him. Right now I see nothing to suggest there is any interest in Lacazette, if there was, the fact his dream move to Madrid has fallen through may not see him consider another club at this moment in time, but things change in football and they tend to change very quickly.

copyright: JW