Manchester United’s striker search is still on with just about three weeks left until the new Premier League season kicks off.
Going into the current transfer window, most of the talk seemed to be consensually of the opinion that Harry Kane and Victor Osimhen consisted Erik ten Hag’s primary targets to lead the attacking line for his United team.
Both goalscorers were coming off the back of remarkably brilliant seasons with regard to their individual numbers. Kane managed to plunder 30 goals in the league and was only bettered by Manchester City’s Erling Haaland.
Osimhen scored 26 and led the charge for Napoli as they won the Scudetto for the first time in three decades.
It was hardly a surprise that Ten Hag was targeting the two to potentially spearhead his revolution at Old Trafford.
However, it soon became apparent that deals for the pair would be extremely difficult to get over the line if not impossible.
Both Tottenham Hotspur and Napoli slapped hefty price tags on their talismans to ward off the likes of United and with Ten Hag working under a tight budget, attaining either Kane or Osimhen soon became a far-fetched dream.
Couple this with the reluctance of Daniel Levy and Aurelio De Laurentiis to part with their respective stars to a top rival and it was clear the United boss needed to look elsewhere – enter Rasmus Hojlund.
Hojlund has in recent weeks emerged as the Red Devil’s “obsession” as described by Italian journalist Alfredo Pedulla. Ten Hag is an avid admirer of the Dane and sees the potential in the player to become a mainstay at the Theatre of Dreams for many years to come.
However, Atalanta are stubbornly clutching onto their €70m – €80m valuation of the player. Gian Piero Gasperini has even suggested that this figure could rise up to €100m.
This fee alongside Paris Saint-Germain’s overtures to land the 20-year-old could ultimately force United to look elsewhere.
With this in mind, here are five striker alternatives to Hojlund.
Randal Kolo Muani
The Peoples Person covered a report which stated that United were stepping up their efforts to sign Kolo Muani in light of Atalanta’s asking price for Hojlund.
All summer, the Frenchman has been linked to Ten Hag’s side and on paper, would be an excellent addition to the ranks.
The Eintracht Frankfurt star is only one of two players who registered double figures for both goals and assists in the Bundesliga last season.
He scored 15 times and supplemented this with an impressive 11 assists.
An incredibly unselfish operator, Kolo Muani is able to exploit open spaces from where he causes damage. He is also able to tee up his teammates with easy chances.
The 24-year-old is fast, dribbles well and can coax defenders to great effect. That he can pull wide and occupy the channels could be an added advantage to Ten Hag as it adds another layer to the attacking dynamics of his tactical set-up.
Kolo Muani is also very young and represents good value for the future. If well-nurtured, he can be a credible solution for many years.
He is reportedly keen on a Premier League move as the next step of his burgeoning career.
United have already been linked to Taremi, with the Porto star approaching the last year of his contract at Estádio do Dragão.
Last term, Taremi finished as the Primeira Liga’s top scorer with an impressive 22 goals. In all competitions, he amassed 31 in a total of 51 games.
At 31, he is now an experienced forward and could arrive at a cut-price fee if the 20-time English champions choose to press on with a deal to sign him.
During a time in which crazy sums of money are flying around for strikers, Taremi’s services could be secured cheaply.
He would also give United sufficient breathing room to sign a longer-term target man in a year’s time when the club’s financial position is in better shape and possibly with the backing of new owners.
Benfica’s Ramos is one of the most sought-after strikers in Europe and it’s easy to see why.
His notoriety and fame hit new highs when ex-Portugal gaffer Fernando Santos made the shock decision to leave Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench during a World Cup tie against Switzerland in favour of Ramos.
Prior to that, the Benfica star had only mustered 33 minutes of international action under his belt. Nevertheless, he more than repaid Santos in kind, rewarding his manager’s faith with a scintillating hat-trick.
Ramos has an eye for goal, as seen in the numbers he put up for The Eagles last term – 19 goals in the league and 27 across all competitions.
He is an out-and-out box striker – a presence that has been lacking at United since the days of Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
To put this into perspective, of Ramos’s shots in the league last season, 87 out of 98 (89%) were from inside the box – with none of these from the penalty spot.
There are 33 players in Europe’s top five leagues that attempted at least 75 non-penalty shots. Only two ranked higher than Ramos – Erling Haaland (93%) and Marcus Thuram (92%).
A player with this kind of skill set would be invaluable to United. Even better is the manner in which Ramos disguises his clever runs and deceives the opposition with his movement.
His knowledge is such that he always finds himself in great scoring positions. Benfica are thought to want at least €80 million for the 22-year-old.
David is hardly the most exciting player on this list so far, but his mettle should not be disregarded after a 24-goal campaign last time around.
The Lille man thrives as a lone frontman in a 4-2-3-1 formation, which Paulo Fonseca largely prefers.
United were thought to be in for David a while ago but links went cold.
Romano gave an update amidst renewed interest from the Reds and Chelsea. He said, “Jonathan David – A player who made headlines for a while, but there’s still no significant updates on Jonathan David’s future, no bids at this stage.”
“Lille want €65m to let him leave, so it’s not something easy. Many top clubs follow him but a lot will depend on what happens with the strikers domino including Harry Kane.”
“Once that starts moving we’ll see what happens and if it can affect David’s future.”
He is certainly one to watch out for!
While Kudus is not naturally a striker in the sense of the role and what it demands, he has extensive experience playing there.
He has frequently doubled as a goalscorer for Ajax when needed and has always come up with the goods.
Kudus has worked with Ten Hag before and the Dutch coach knows the player well. If anyone can mould the Ghanaian into a striker, it’s the 53-year-old.
No player completed more dribbles than Kudus in the Eredivisie last season. A creator with a nous for finding the back of the net, Kudus could be an intriguing alternative to Hojlund.