Manchester United are reportedly prepared to spend big money on attacking reinforcements, and the latest rumours link the Red Devils with moves for Everton star Romelu Lukaku and Lokomotiv Moscow's Oumar Niasse.
Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf (h/t Metro's Mark Brus) says the Red Devils have been following top target Lukaku extensively, although a move for the Belgium international in January could prove tricky.
The report states the Toffees will hold out for a transfer fee of £37 million, which seems low for one of the Premier League's top young scorers. The 22-year-old leads the league in goals alongside Leicester City's Jamie Vardy.
As shared by Sky Sports News HQ, he has been on fire of late:
Sky Sports News HQ @SkySportsNewsHQ
Since the start of November, no player has been more influential in the Premier League than Lukaku #SSNHQ https://t.co/bZwkBrR7Cj2016-1-3 13:22:21
Lukaku needs no introduction. The giant Belgian has been one of the Premier League's top prospects for years, and his development has taken place in front of the fans' own eyes. He arrived at Chelsea as a raw but tantalising physical specimen, and with every passing season, he has learned new tricks and improved core aspects of his game.
Last season was something of a breakout year for the youngster, and this year, he has taken the step up to stardom. His game is still built around his impressive strength and pace, but his vision and awareness have improved drastically, and he's finding ways to always be in the right spot at the right time.
Lukaku has been crucial for Everton during what has been a disappointing 2015-16 campaign, and the Toffees will be desperate to keep hold of him for now. Former Arsenal star Thierry Henry believes the club will have to take big steps in order to keep him around, as he wrote in his column for the Sun:
The problem for Everton is that the further they drop down the Premier League table, the less chance they will have of hanging on to players like Lukaku, Ross Barkley and John Stones.
Every player’s dream is to participate in the Champions League and when he gets to a certain level and isn’t regularly involved in Europe, he knows he is missing out.
As of right now, Lukaku is yet to speak of a desire to move to a bigger club or play in the Champions League, and after a difficult spell with Chelsea, it's likely he's just happy to be playing regular football and has no intention of leaving at this point.
But the former Anderlecht ace won't be content with that forever. He has all of the tools to be among the world's best strikers, and those players want to shine on the biggest stage. If Everton's fortunes don't change, he will start dreaming of a move to a Champions League-level club before long.
United look like a perfect match. Wayne Rooney's shooting boots have gone missing on several occasions in the last few years, and sooner or later, the Red Devils will need to invest in a replacement. Anthony Martial has all of the tools to become that player, but a combination of him and Lukaku would be devastating.
The Belgian has bags of Premier League experience, knows how to put the ball in the net and is still just 22 years old. A move to Old Trafford makes a lot of sense, but it's highly unlikely he makes the move in January.
Niasse would be a nice alternative for this winter. The Senegal international was voted Russian Premier League Player of the Year for 2015, and a host of English clubs are now following him, including United, per David Hytner of the Guardian.
Agile, fast and strong, Niasse will remind fans of compatriot Sadio Mane, who has impressed since moving to Southampton. But unlike Mane or Lukaku, the 25-year-old shouldn't cost too much in January―Hytner believes a £15 million deal will do.
Have a look at some of his highlights:
There are always risks involved with investing in foreign talent making the move to England from a smaller, less competitive league, but Southampton took the plunge on Mane after scouting him in Austria, proving some of these players can be worth the risk.
Niasse should be a back-up option for United, but with few top strikers expected to move in January, he's one to keep an eye on.