Manchester United Transfers: 5 Strikers to Replace Dimitar Berbatov

Dave Gibbs@thedavegibbsContributor IIIDecember 28, 2011

Manchester United Transfers: 5 Strikers to Replace Dimitar Berbatov

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    Should Dimitar Berbatov depart the Red Devils in the January transfer window, Manchester United will be left without one of their leading goal scorers over the past few seasons.

    While United will still have a plethora of attacking options this would be an opportunity to add some more firepower as the title race begins to hot up against cross-city rivals Manchester City.

    Here are five strikers who could come into United in January and replace Berbatov.

Edinson Cavani (Napoli)

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    Cavani offers a great replacement for Berbatov as a goal scorer, as a fantastic front man who knows how to find the net.

    He loves having the ball at his feet with a chance to score, but does not contribute too much elsewhere.

    As a 26 year old Cavani would not have much resale value, something Sir Alex Ferguson likes to look for in players so his return would have to come exclusively through finding the net.

    An asking price likely upwards of £50 million, inflated by his recent goal scoring success and interest from most of Europe’s leading clubs, will probably mean United are priced out of the market for the Uruguayan.

    Should Ferguson choose to spend this sort of money on Cavani, the talent level would be well worth the outlay.

Gonzalo Higuain (Real Madrid)

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    Higuain has been linked to United for several years, and as a striker with a penchant for scoring late goals he would fit in well with the culture at United, adding a player who excels in the clutch.

    With great pace and strength, Higuain will be well suited to survival against the tough centre backs in the Premier League.

    At only 22 United will have a player for the long term with resale value should Ferguson decide to move him on at a later date.

    A price of £40 million was offered to Chelsea, so Higuain is another player at the top end of the market in January.

Fernando Llorente (Athletic Bilbao)

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    Llorente offers a different dimension to the strikers already on the United roster. At 6’5” Llorente is offers a great aerial threat.

    As well as his size, Llorente is very athletic and has great strength to fight off defenders.

    His lack of recognition on the international stage is due to David Villa and Fernando Torres being in front of him in the pecking order for Spain, but with seven goals in his 19 caps he has a decent strike rate at the highest level.

    As with Cavani, Llorente is 26 and therefore does not have true resale value. However with a reported asking price of £25 million Llorente offers good value for money when looking at the skill set he brings to United.  

Hulk (FC Porto)

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    Hulk’s well publicised €100 million release clause in a contract which runs until 2016 means that Hulk is the most expensive striker on this list and likely out of United’s grasp, but his talent may outweigh his price tag when it comes to January.

    A barrel-chested striker with incredible power and game changing pace, Hulk scored 36 goals last season, with a further 21 assists.

    Hulk’s ability to explode through any gaps in a defensive back line make him a great threat to many sides, as well as adding another dimension to a side like United who love to counter attack, creating more of a threat in open play.

    The 25 year old might not be worth more than it took to purchase Cristiano Ronaldo, but will still command a fee upwards of £50 million. It’s a lot of money to spend on one player but the talent is there and would be well worth it should he combine well with Rooney and Hernandez.

Khouma Babacar (Fiorentina)

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    Babacar is the youngest player on this list at only 18 years old. Compared to George Weah from a young age, Babacar has not shied away from the pressure since joining Fiorentina, scoring on his debut for the club. In his next 21 appearances for the team however, Babacar has failed to score in any of them.

    He has had only a limited amount of exposure to top flight coaching and the coaches at United would undoubtedly be able to work on some of the wrinkles in his game, as well as a chance to learn from such assured goal scorers such as Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen.

    Quick and agile as well as being 6’3”, while still expected to grow a little more, Babacar is a powerful opponent who can barrel past defenders in a style reminiscent of Didier Drogba.

    With his obvious talent, young age and high ceiling the asking price for Babacar will likely be around the £30 million mark, however for a player who could give eight years of service for United and then still be sold on for a profit this would be a fantastic opportunity for the Red Devils.