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Erik ten Hag Marks Two Strikers as Primary Summer Targets | Who Should Manchester United Sign?

Victor Osimhen, Harry Kane, Manchester United, striker targets

Manchester United have identified multiple targets to boost their forward line and are expected to bring in at least one striker in the summer of 2023. They currently have Anthony Martial and Wout Weghorst, although the latter is a loan signing in the recently concluded January transfer window.

The Red Devils have made tremendous progress under Erik ten Hag in less than a year. They are currently third in the Premier League table, and well on course for a finish in the top-4. United are the 2023 EFL Cup Champions and are also still in contention for the FA Cup and the Europa League.

Erik ten Hag, Manchester United
Image Obtained via The Independent

The Dutch manager has been well-backed by some quality signings last summer. The likes of Lisandro Martinez, Casemiro, Christian Eriksen, and Marcel Sabitzer have become vital cogs in the United system. Other signings like Tyrell Malacia, Wout Weghorst, and Antony have had prominence to a marked extent too.

However, one position that still could be strengthened is the centre-forward role. Anthony Martial’s injury struggles and Cristiano Ronaldo’s untimely departure meant that the club had to bring in Weghorst as a stop-gap fit. Marcus Rashford has also exceeded in the central role in recent weeks.

Luckily for the Manchester United manager, there are a number of quality striker targets available in the market. And if United play their cards right, they could land the perfect fit for the Dutchman’s system. Here are two strikers who could vastly improve Man United’s attack:

Harry Kane

Harry Kane has been regularly linked with a transfer to a big club in recent years. The Spurs lynch-pin is currently 29, but still functioning at a very high level. In 34 games across all competitions this season, the striker has a tremendous return of 20 goals and 4 assists (stats via Transfermarkt). Kane has a contract until 2024 with Tottenham Hotspur.

The Englishman was linked with a transfer to Manchester City in the summer of 2021, for an astounding fee of £150 million. However, an actual move failed to materialise, and the Citizens ended up signing Erling Haaland instead. Therefore, the Red Devils are unlikely to face too much competition in their pursuit of the 29-year-old.

Harry Kane’s dwindling contract gives Tottenham less leverage to negotiate a fee this time around. Reports suggest that United may be willing to cough up a fee of £100m to secure the deal.He could be open to the transfer if he does not reach an agreement to extend his stay at North London. His demands could include doubling his weekly wage to £400,000 a week. Such an amount would make the striker the highest earner, both at Spurs and United.

The England captain possesses all the traits any manager would desire from his striker. The former Leicester City loanee is a clinical finisher and a very reliable source of goals. he also has great vision and passing range. He often creates quality goal-scoring chances for his teammates.

Harry Kane
Image Obtained Via Premier League

The English centre-forward also drops deep to get involved in the build-up and has the passing range to kick-start attacks from his own half. The 29-year-old also has appreciable close control and great movement without the ball.

One of Kane’s best attributes is his ability to improve his teammates. We see this routinely for both club and country. Players like Dejan Kulusevski, Son Heung-min, Raheem Sterling, Bukayo Saka, and Marcus Rashford have been able to elevate their game due to Kane’s keen ability to bring his teammates into play.

However, the striker’s age and cost have to be carefully considered. Currently 29, the Three Lions skipper has played over 35,000 minutes for club and country over the last 6 years. Kane also had a poor injury record, especially between 2017 and 2020.

Reports also suggest that Manchester United are looking to implement a wage cap of £200,000 a week for the first-team. This would not represent a significant upgrade over what the English striker currently earns with Tottenham Hotspur.

Overall, Harry Kane is a great striker who perfectly fits Manchester United’s bill. If signed, the Spurs attacker will significantly improve Ten Hag’s frontline and allow players like Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, Alejandro Garnacho, etc. to thrive.

However, the Red Devils would be deriving the benefits from the transfer in the short-medium run. If Manchester United are willing to spend nine figures on a single player, it should ideally be on one who will be with the club in the long run.

Victor Osimhen

After a slightly slow start to life in Italy, Victor Osimhen has been in scintillating form this season. Spearheading the Napoli frontline alongside Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and Hirving Lozano, the former Wolfsburg attacker has 21 goals and 4 assists from just 25 games this season (stats via Transfermarkt). His heroics have put Napoli well en route to winning the Scudetto and a spot in the quarterfinals of the Champions League.

The Nigerian is more of a target-man profile as compared to Harry Kane. The Nigerian is adept at receiving the ball higher up the field, and is a deadly presence in the box. He also occasionally drops deeper to receive the ball and run at the opposition backline, but mainly occupies the opposition defence creating space for his teammates.

The 24-year-old also has appreciable link-up play, and can create shots for his teammates when he’s not finding shots himself. However, the Nigerian international is largely a high-volume shooter, averaging over 4 shots every 90 minutes. To put it into context, almost 1 in every 6 touches, or 1 in 2 touches in the box results in a shot for him.

Victor Osimhen
Image Obtained Via Eurosport

Osimhen would nicely compliment players like Antony and Sancho, who like to receive the ball deeper and run into space. His hold-up play could also present dangerous opportunities to Rashford, Bruno Fernandes, and Martial in the final-third.

Negotiating a transfer fee will be United’s biggest task in the case of Victor Osimhen. The Nigerian striker became the Italian club’s record signing back in 2020. The Serie A side paid a fee of £80 million to sign the striker from Ligue 1 outfit LOSC Lille.

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Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis is a tough negotiator and the club has often managed to hold onto its stars in the past. Osimhen could reportedly cost over 130 million, and is attracting interest from multiple clubs. Premier League rivals Arsenal and Chelsea have also been linked. If Napoli win the league and perform in Europe, chances are this fee could go even higher.

Who would you prefer at Old Trafford for next season: Harry Kane or Victor Osimhen? Are there any other striker targets Manchester United should try to bring in? Let us know in the comments.

Follow AD for the Latest Transfer Updates for Manchester United.

Adithya Ravi
Football enthusiast. Stat enthusiast

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