Manchester United is in the market for a world class striker according to Sir Alex Ferguson before the transfer window shuts on 1st September. In light of this I will take a closer look at some top strikers who have been linked with the club this summer -
DIMITAR BERBATOV (Bulgaria & Tottenham Hotspur)
The most likely candidate there is no doubting the class & pedigree of Berbatov. He is desperate for a move to United since they made their interest concrete last summer after his magnificent first season. Statistically his quality is obvious, a career total 173 goals in 333 games at club level including 23 goals in each of his two seasons in the Premiership.
He would complement Rooney & Tevez, adding something different & being the tall striker that Ferguson wants. My only concern is at 27, the £30 million transfer fee reported by the media is expensive. I agree he is a world class player bringing instant impact & both parties involved being English clubs inflates the price. However, I still believe any deal over £25 million would be too excessive.
KARIM BENZEMA (France & Lyon)
A future star of world football at 20 years old Benzema already has 105 appearances under his belt with French champions Lyon. At the start of his career Benzema played as a winger, cementing himself as a striker in 2007-08 scoring 24 goals in 37 games including a goal against United in the Champions League.
He would be a sensational addition to the squad though recently signed a new contract extension at Lyon till 2013. Benzema also hinted in the past that Spain & Italy would suit him more than England. Jean-Michel Aulas, the Lyon President also being a known rigid negotiator makes this deal difficult & unlikely, especially this summer.
KLASS-JAN HUNTELAAR (Netherlands & Ajax)
‘The Hunter’ is an intelligent & clinical striker scoring an incredible 163 goals in 220 games over his club career. Since moving to Ajax in 2006, Huntelaar has been prolific with a return of 96 goals in 115 games averaging 0.83 goals per game! Being a consistent goalscorer with flair has led to favorable comparisons with the great Marco Van Basten. Earlier in the summer Huntelaar said Manchester United, “are very interested in me”.
Huntelaar ticks all the boxes, firstly would cost significantly less than Berbatov (Transfer + Wages) leaving funds to strengthen other areas & at 25, he is 3 years younger so is a long-term investment. The Premiership is quicker than the Eredivisie, so some may argue those statistics cannot be repeated as the level of defending is superior. But surely so is the attacking service & chances Huntelaar would get at United. There is no reason why he cannot be more successful than Ruud, I for one would not argue with his record.
SERGIO “EL KUN” AGUERO (Argentina & Atletico Madrid)
An amazing prospect at the tender age of 20 Aguero already has accolades including, 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup (Golden Shoe & Golden Ball Winner) & reigning La-Liga Player of the Year (2007-08) with 19 goals. In Tevez & Rooney United have similar style of forward & are looking for a bigger presence upfront. It is a credit to Aguero's quality that most United fans would overlook this in favour of having “El Kun”! He would cost £35 million plus, especially as Atletico due to mounting speculation have increased his release clause.
After firing Atletico Madrid to a Champions League qualification spot Aguero is keen to stay in Spain making a move unlikely, at least for now. He was quoted as saying “I am comfortable at Atletico. I have not thought about going to any other side”. This has not stopped Ferguson keeping tabs on a player who at 15 years & 35 days old became the youngest player to debut in the Argentine League for Independiente, breaking the record set by a certain Diego Maradona.
ROQUE SANTA CRUZ (Paraguay & Blackburn)
The best signing of last season at £3.5 million, Santa Cruz scored 23 goals with 7 assists in his debut season in England. In front of Ferguson last Saturday, he scored a goal at Everton on the first day of the new season with a deft first touch before a clinical finish. He is a genuine aerial threat, something United lack in their attacking line up other than the injury prone Louis Saha. Today though Santa Cruz signed a new contract at Blackburn putting an end to speculation of a move this summer.
Other outside contenders:
- Luis Fabiano (Brazil & Sevilla)
- David Villa (Spain & Valencia)
- Michael Owen (England & Newcastle)
- Thierry Henry (France & Barcelona)
- Dean Ashton (England & West Ham)