Icardi, Morata, Kalajdzic: Man Utd striker targets ranked from worst to best

Man Utd possible striker signings

Manchester United are still in dire need of new recruits as the summer transfer window draws to a close.

Erik ten Hag has managed to get three signings over the line at the time of writing during his first summer in charge, but United are embroiled in a saga to sign Frenkie de Jong from Barcelona, and are light in attack.

It was anticipated that Ten Hag would be able to bolster his attacking options this summer, despite a solid pre-season from a resurgent Anthony Martial, but that has yet to happen.

And with Martial getting injured ahead of the season getting underway and Cristiano Ronaldo missing the vast majority of pre-season as he eyes an exit from the club, United are worryingly short of options up top.

Ronaldo did feature as a substitute in their Premier League season opening defeat to Brighton, but it is clear he is not yet fully fit, and at 37, cannot be relied upon heavily.

It is abundantly clear that United need to strengthen the team, and rather urgently so in attack. Following the 2-1 defeat, the club were linked with a move for Bologna’s Marko Arnautovic. But following a rejected bid and fan outrage, a move for the Austrian appears to have cooled.

Wesley Fofana agreement made? (Football Terrace)

However, with the clock ticking and United still seriously thin in attack, they need to get a move on in the transfer market. The window slams shut on 1 September and speculation around who they could sign feels sparse, which is a concern.

United’s scattergun approach to transfers appears to have bled into Ten Hag’s first summer in the hot seat, despite many finally hoping for a change of strategy.

So with that in mind, we at GIVEMESPORT thought we’d do some of the leg work, and pull together a thorough shortlist of striker options for the Red Devils, and rank them in the following categories: ‘Avoid at all costs’, ‘Last resort’, ‘Outside bet’, ‘Shrewd signing’ and ‘Must buy’. Check it out below.

Avoid at all costs

Icardi in action for PSG
FARO, PORTUGAL – JULY 27: Mauro Icardi of Paris Saint Germain looks on during a Pre Season Friendly Match between Sevilla FC and Paris Saint-Germain at Estadio Algarve on July 27, 2021 in Faro, Portugal. (Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images)

Marko Arnautovic (Bologna) – This really shouldn’t need explaining. Do not buy Arnautovic, United. For the sake of everyone. Do not even consider a second bid on deadline day. We know what you’re like. Don’t try it.

Mauro Icardi (Paris Saint-Germain) – PSG are keen to offload the Argentine forward and he has been linked with a move to United as a result, per TyC Sports (via @UtdPlug on Twitter).

Icardi has earned a reputation as a troublemaker in the dressing room. And considering how fragile things already appear to be in United’s dressing room at the moment, adding Icardi into the mix is quite possibly the worst thing they could do.

Last resort

ROME, ITALY – MAY 11: Alvaro Morata of Juventus during the Coppa Italia Final match between Juventus and FC Internazionale at Stadio Olimpico on May 11, 2022 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images)

Alvaro Morata (Atletico Madrid) – The Athletic report that Morata is being touted as a genuine possibility in what appears to be a difficult market, available for a price of around £29 million.

The Spaniard has spent the last two seasons on loan at Juventus and has a solid CV, but a shaky goal record. He lacks a clinical edge and has already failed to light up the Premier League once with Chelsea. It’s not ideal, in truth.

Outside bet

Andrea Belotti (unattached) – The Italian is now a free agent having let his Torino contract expire, and at 28, is entering his best years. He’s not the quickest or even the most prolific, but he runs tirelessly and can be relied upon for a goal in the right system.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton) – His injury record is becoming a concern and Everton would no doubt charge a pretty penny for their number one talisman, but Calvert-Lewin is Premier League proven, still relatively young and a solid rotation option. Not the worst shout.

Calvert-Lewin in pre-season action for Everton
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – JULY 29: Dominic Calvert-Lewin of Everton celebrates scoring his teams first goal during the Pre-Season Friendly match between Everton and Dynamo Kyiv at Goodison Park on July 29, 2022 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

Martin Terrier (Rennes) – Terrier is versatile, quick and technical. He scored 21 goals and notched four assists from 37 Ligue 1 games last season, and can play on both the left flank or as a centre-forward. An unknown entity that could prove a hidden gem.

Shrewd signing

Ivan Toney (Brentford) – Give Toney the service, and he will score goals. At the very least, he’ll run defenders ragged throughout a game. He managed 12 goals and five assists in his debut Premier League season, and would reunite with Christian Eriksen to finally make the Red Devils more effective from set pieces.

Sasa Kalajdzic (VfB Stuttgart) – An absolute monster who stands at six-foot-seven, Kalajdzic has been burdened by injuries in the past, but when fit, has proven he can dominate defences in the Bundesliga. Sky Sports report that the Austrian is open to joining United, too. Get it done.

Kalajdzic for Stuttgart
STUTTGART, GERMANY – FEBRUARY 05: Saša Kalajdžić #9 of VfB Stuttgart celebrates after he heads the equalizing goal during the Bundesliga match between VfB Stuttgart and Eintracht Frankfurt at Mercedes-Benz Arena on February 05, 2022 in Stuttgart, Germany. (Photo by Christian Kaspar-Bartke/Getty Images)

Jonathan David (LOSC Lille) – 40 goals and assists in total from 97 appearances for Lille is a more than acceptable return for 22-year-old David, who is still young but has excited plenty for his performances in Ligue 1. He’d likely command a hefty transfer fee and would have to hit the ground running, but it’s a signing for the future, which United need.

Must buy

Joao Felix (Atletico Madrid) – Felix cost Atletico some £113m in 2019, but he hasn’t exactly blossomed into a consistent world beater just yet. He needs to be freed from the defensive shackles of Diego Simeone, and could be absolutely perfect in a fluid, free-flowing system such as Ten Hag’s.

Victor Osimhen (Napoli) – The Nigeria international has impressed in ebbs and flows at Napoli, but has shown he van be ruthless finisher when at full stride and is still only 23. Osimhen needs help to unlock that top level he has in him, and Ten Hag could be the man to do that.

Atletico's Felix
SEVILLE, SPAIN – MARCH 06: Joao Felix of Atletico Madrid celebrates after scoring their sides first goal during the LaLiga Santander match between Real Betis and Club Atletico de Madrid at Estadio Benito Villamarin on March 06, 2022 in Seville, Spain. (Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images)

Tammy Abraham (Roma) – Chelsea made a huge mistake in selling Abraham to Roma in 2021. He has gone from strength to strength under Jose Mourinho in Serie A and would undoubtedly return to England as an infinitely more rounded striker, who is better coached and understands how to get the best out of his own physical prowess.

He’d cost United a lot of money, but a return to England feels inevitable and the Red Devils ought to do everything they can to be at the front of the queue for his services.

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