Report: Manchester United Prefer Richarlison to Mario Mandzukic in Forward Bid

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistNovember 6, 2019

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 29: Richarlison of Everton celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the Carabao Cup Round of 16 match between Everton and Watford at Goodison Park on October 29, 2019 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)
Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Manchester United are reportedly tracking Everton's Richarlison in their attempts to bolster their attacking line in January. 

According to James Robson in the Evening Standard, Juventus' Mario Mandzukic also remains a target, but Richarlison is United's preferred option because he fits the mould for the forward line manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is trying to build.

Unlike Mandzukic, who is 33, the 22-year-old Richarlison aligns with United's preferred age profile, and his "return of 14 goals for Everton last season is seen as a promising strike rate," added Robson.

United have struggled for goals this season, scoring just 13 in 11 Premier League games, which is fewer than the likes of Burnley, Aston Villa, Brighton & Hove Albion and Bournemouth.

The Red Devils sold Romelu Lukaku to Inter Milan in the summer and failed to replace him, leaving themselves without a traditional No. 9.

Marcus Rashford has taken up the main striker's role and scored five times in 11 league games.

But Lukaku's impressive form in Serie A is only highlighting how much United are missing a proven goalscorer:

Goal @goal

Romelu Lukaku is the first Inter player to score nine or more goals after their first 11 Serie A games since Brazil striker Ronaldo. What an impact 💪 https://t.co/hmAkhN8S1l

As such, Richarlison is arguably not the kind of player United need at the moment, given he is a versatile forward who prefers to play on the flanks than through the middle.

United already have a number of players like that in Rashford, Anthony Martial and Daniel James:

Statman Dave @StatmanDave

Rashford LW in 19/20: 4⚽️ 3🅰️ in 7 Martial CF in 19/20: 4⚽️ 1🅰️ in 5 James RW in 19/20: 1⚽️ 1🅰️ in 3 Man Utd’s best front three? 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿🇫🇷🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 https://t.co/6PpTeBBCST

Mandzukic may be past his prime, but he does at least have a track record of scoring goals at the highest level and is comfortable in the No. 9 role.

If January comes around and United are still struggling to score, it may be the Croatian who is the best purchase as a stopgap option.

Meanwhile, another area United left themselves short in the summer transfer window was in midfield.

According to Robson, United are considering moving for former Liverpool player Emre Can, who is currently struggling for game time at Juventus.

James Maddison is also a target, but it will be "all but impossible" to sign him in January given Leicester City's current flying form.