Manchester United are in desperate need of a striker to come in and lead the line.
The situation was already desperate when Cristiano Ronaldo was at the club. With his acrimonious departure, however, the situation has been rendered direr and it is now a case of the club must sign a striker as opposed to whether they should.
Several names have been put forward as the club steps up its efforts of recruiting a top-class goalscorer to spearhead Erik ten Hag’s illustrious attacking line, which already consists of the likes of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Antony, Jadon Sancho and Alejandro Garnacho.
One of these is the young Portuguese forward, Gonçalo Ramos. Initially linked with the 20-time English champions in the summer, ties to Ramos gathered speed after his incredible heroics at the World Cup.
To the shock of the entire football world, Fernando Santos, who has since vacated his post as Portugal boss, snubbed Ronaldo in favour of Ramos against Switzerland. Ramos more than repaid Santos’ faith in him, grabbing a scintillating hat trick to fire the Seleçao into the quarter-finals where they were dumped out by a defensively stubborn Morocco side.
The Benfica ace has since then been branded as Ronaldo’s “heir” and “successor” in the national team setup – something that may well extend to club level should Ramos make a sensational switch to Old Trafford.
Ramos is more than a worthy replacement for the five-time Ballon d”Or winner and has the potential to admirably fill his boots at the Theatre of Dreams. His numbers speak for themselves.
For the Liga Nos giants, Ramos has mustered an impressive 14 goals and six assists in 21 appearances this campaign. 11 of these have come in Portugal’s top-flight.
With Erik ten Hag widely reported to be a big fan of the 21-year-old, it’s easy to see why this is so. Beyond simply putting the ball into the back of the net, Ramos has proven himself to be adept at linking the attack and bringing his teammates into play.
The player is an aggressive presser of the ball, which he excels at to great effect. Combine these attributes with his clinical nature in front of goal and on paper you have the perfect blend of striker that fits like a glove into Ten Hag’s style of play and football philosophy.
However, how realistic are United’s chances of signing Ramos in January? Recently, Benfica club president Rui Costa publicly declared that The Eagles have no intention of parting ways with their prolific goalscorer at the turn of the year.
Costa fired a warning to interested parties that unless Ramos’s astronomical €120m release clause is paid in January, the player will remain in Benfica’s ranks until the end of the season.
Costa’s “hands-off” declaration does not bode well for United’s chances of procuring the striker’s services. It’s unlikely the 20-time English champions’ greedy and parasitic owners will loosen the purse strings and provide sufficient funds to oversee such an operation in January. More so now with the Glazers seemingly on their way out with a complete sale being mooted.
The Red Devils are faced with an impossible dilemma. Go for Ramos in January at the expense of future acquisitions, or wait it out until the summer when they will be fiercely pitted against Europe’s elite for the young star’s signature.