Manchester United

10 Potential Attacking Targets for Manchester United to Consider This Summer

Rob BlanchetteFeatured ColumnistApril 27, 2014

10 Potential Attacking Targets for Manchester United to Consider This Summer

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    Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

    With the dismissal of David Moyes, the transition of Manchester United continues as the club waits for a new manager to be appointed while Ryan Giggs takes charge of the first team. 

    And with speculation surrounding the futures of Robin van Persie, Danny Welbeck and Chicharito, United may well find themselves in the market for a couple of new attackers in the summer.

    Edinson Cavani and Marco Reus have been linked with the Red Devils intermittently in recent months, as per Daniel Taylor's article in The Guardian, but who could United realistically prise away from their clubs without the lure of Champions League football?

    Here we take a look at 10 players who could bolster United's attacking options.

     

    (All stats via ESPNFC and Soccerbase unless stated.)

Pedro

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    David Ramos/Getty Images

    Despite it feeling like Barcelona's Spanish international Pedro has been on the European football scene for an eternity, the player is just 26 years old.

    This season, the player—who has already won every club honour possible with his team—has been rotated in and out of the side by Gerado Martino, as he plays second fiddle to Alexis Sanchez in the manager's thoughts.

    This has not pleased the player, with his agent declaring, per Simon Osborn of the Metro: "Pedro is very angry this season. The player is in a difficult situation and may be sold."

    Osborn reports that Manchester United are keen on taking the player from Barcelona in a potential £26 million deal to replace Ashley Young in the squad.

    Despite falling from favour, it has not affected the player's form this season: he has scored 15 goals in 33 La Liga matches this season, per Squawka.

    Any new manager of the team would surely welcome a player of his undoubted quality and experience.

    Pedro is a natural-born winner and the archetypal United attacker.

Julian Draxler

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    Frank Augstein

    Schalke's dynamic young German Julian Draxler has been the subject of many rumours about a move to the Premier League, with Arsene Wenger allegedly being the most interested in the 20-year-old starlet.

    However, Paul Hetherington of The Star recently reported that Manchester United would take on Arsenal for the £37 million signature of the young international, who could be a surprise star at this summer's World Cup. 

    Draxler's style mimics that of a young Robin van Persie, and it will be no surprise to see the boy become a fully fledged goal machine in years to come.

    He currently operates as an attacking midfielder and depending on what happens to Shinji Kagawa in the summer, he could be a very good long-term acquisition for the Reds with significant sell-on value. 

     

Iker Muniain

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    Alvaro Barrientos

    It is amazing to think that Athletic Bilbao's Iker Muniain is still only 21 years old. 

    With his contract due to expire in 2015, Muniain may be ready to step up a level to a bigger club, and Paul Clennam of Goal.com reports that the player could be available for around £15 million. This is some way short of the £40 million clause Bilbao wish to insert into any new contract for the player.

    Muniain would allow United to play their more favoured 4-4-2 formation, with the young Spaniard on the left wing.

    United have struggled on the left since the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo, with both Ashley Young and Nani unable to make the position their own. 

    Muniain might feel that the challenge of Manchester United is one that he is ready for, but Clennam writes that Manchester City are also ready to pounce.

Radamel Falcao

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    Didier Baverel/Getty Images

    He is not a player that needs introduction, as he is one of the most potent strikers on the planet. However, after his recent long-term injury, Radamel Falcao has somewhat fallen off people's radars.

    The Colombian has had a mixed start to life in Monaco after suffering an anterior cruciate ligament damage to his knee, per BBC Sport.

    It was a devastating blow for a player, who seemed destined to star at this summer's World Cup. 

    Before his move to the Ligue 1, Falcao had proved himself to be rightfully considered as one of Europe's elite strikers at Atletico Madrid. His final season at the Vincente Calderon harvested 28 goals in 34 La Liga games, per Squawka.

    After such an injury, would Falcao be enthused to move to one of world football's great clubs?

    At 28 years old, any move would have to come sooner rather than later for the player. And if United lose one of their main strikers in the summer, Falcao would be a fine addition to the squad.

Loic Remy

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    David Rogers/Getty Images

    Loic Remy is one of the more surprising names on this list, but he is very much a player that Manchester United could target if the striker position needs addressing in the summer.

    He would also come at an affordable price as United look to spend big in other positions. 

    Remy has taken the Premier League by storm since his loan move to Newcastle from QPR last summer, scoring an impressive 13 times in his 24 league games this season, per Squawka.

    At 27 years old, Remy is about to come into his prime and offers United a very good replacement for Chicharito, if the player decides to leave Old Trafford.

    Remy has been linked with a move back to the capital, with Arsenal being a possible destination, as reported by Graeme Bailey of Sky Sports. But a move to United would surely also be agreeable to the French international as he looks to further his career. 

Mario Mandzukic

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    Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

    Mario Mandzukic would be a left-field signing for Manchester United but would give the Red Devils an option they currently do not have: a big and aggressive physical striker. 

    Mandzukic moved to Bayern Munich from Wolfsburg in 2012 and has been nothing short of prolific. 

    This year, the player has smashed 18 goals in 29 appearances in the Bundesliga, per Squawka, proving himself to be one of the best finishers in European football. 

    Despite his consistency, the Croatia international's place is under threat when Borussia Dortmund's Robert Lewandowski joins the team next season.

    This could mean that Mandzukic finds himself confined to the bench in Bavaria, and he may seek an escape route sooner rather than later.

    United do not have a player like Mandzukic, and any new manager will want a variance of stock in the striker's position. 

Romelu Lukaku

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    Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

    If Romelu Lukaku had been at his parent club Chelsea this season there is every chance that the Blues might have had the Premier League title sewn up by now. 

    Lukaku is a player with a big reputation in England and even larger potential. 

    The player has been a huge success for Everton this campaign, scoring 13 times with six assists in 29 Premier League appearances, per WhoScored.com.

    And with Paul Joyce of The Express reporting that the Goodison Park club may make a move for Danny Welbeck's signature this summer as Lukaku's replacement, there would then be a vacant spot at Old Trafford for the Belgian prodigy.

    Lukaku would be a sensation at Manchester United, and if Jose Mourinho continues to ignore the player then he will surely be exiting Stamford Bridge on a permanent basis in the near future. 

     

Jackson Martinez

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    EuroFootball/Getty Images

    Colombia's Jackson Martinez has seen his stock sky rocket this year after a magnificent season with Porto.

    The Portuguese club's No. 9 has been in sensational form this year and attracted the attention of a number of teams.

    And Ben Jefferson of the Express reports that the player has a preference for joining Manchester United. 

    There is no doubting Jackson's quality: he has scored 22 times in 39 appearances this season. However, Porto's £40 million valuation for the player may be the straw that breaks the camel's back in terms of a move to Old Trafford.

    United might be put off by his valuation but if Jackson truly desires a move to Old Trafford then a transfer could surely be negotiated.

Christian Eriksen

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    Ian Walton/Getty Images

    As with Loic Remy, Tottenham Hotspur's Christian Eriksen would be a left-field, but very wise attacking purchase for Manchester United. 

    The Danish international is just 22 years old and has shown in the 2013-14 campaign what a prospect he is: the player has 12 goals and 13 assists combined for Spurs and Ajax in the league and Europe this season, per WhoScored.com

    Eriksen might not be as high profile as some other candidates, but his ability to play in a variation of attacking roles could make his signing a very shrewd purchase. 

    Spurs manager Tim Sherwood recently spoke in glowing terms about his player and admitted that he feared losing him to another club this summer, per Sam Cunningham of the Mail Online.

    Sherwood said:

    Christian doesn’t see the pressure, doesn’t feel the pressure, as it is embedded in him as he works so hard on it every day. He has just turned 22 but has the head of a 35-year-old. He knows when to speed it up and slow it down. You are always fearful that someone might come and take one of your best players and Christian is certainly one.

    If United's new manager feels that he needs a further injection of flair and ability in his squad, then Eriksen could be the answer.

Diego Costa

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    Denis Doyle/Getty Images

    We are saving the best to last. Along with Liverpool's Luis Suarez, Diego Costa is the most predatory striker currently on the planet. 

    Brazil-born Costa has electrified La Liga this season and shot Atletico Madrid to the top of the Spanish league.

    The player's goal average is phenomenal, with 27 goals in 32 La Liga start and seven goals in seven Champions League games, per WhoScored.com

    He is the premier striker in Europe at present and Atletico will do very well to hold on to the 25-year-old Spain international.

    If United purchased Costa it would be a huge statement of intent and afford the club the expertise in front of goal they have lacked this season. 

    With Costa in the side, a return to the Champions League and a 21st league championship could happen sooner rather than later. 

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