Replace Cristiano Ronaldo
Manchester United have made an impressive start to the season and is in a good position in both the Premier League and Europa League, but they are looking increasingly low on numbers in the forward positions.
The Reds started the campaign with just two recognized strikers in Cristiano Ronaldo and Anthony Martial, with Marcus Rashford also able to play the position if required. While Rashford and Martial have been in good form this term, the pair have both been sidelined with injuries.
Meanwhile, Ronaldo has fallen down the pecking order and has been dropped from the squad to face Chelsea at the weekend after storming down the tunnel during the victory over Tottenham on Wednesday night.
Despite the solid start to the campaign, there have been calls for the Reds to strengthen in the striker department. While United is likely to wait until next summer to sign a high-profile frontman, the upcoming January transfer market provides the club with an opportunity to add to its ranks.
A number of high-profile players are entering the final few months of their contracts – which could enable United to take advantage – while other stars are crying out for a loan move.
While his first stint at Old Trafford didn’t quite go to plan, the Dutch forward still has plenty to offer – and would return to Manchester with a point to prove.
Depay signed a two-year deal when joining Barcelona from Lyon in 2021, and the 28-year-old has scored 14 goals in 41 appearances for the Catalan outfit. However, he has fallen out of favor under Xavi and has barely featured this term.
Given that the Netherlands international is out of contract at the end of the season – and the fact that Barcelona is keen to get rid of some of their fringe players – United would be able to sign Depay for a cheap fee.
The Reds have been tentatively linked with Dembele for several years, which is unsurprising given the Frenchman’s impressive goal return in his career. At 26 years old, the frontman still has plenty of years ahead of him.
It remains to be seen if Lyon is planning to extend his contract, but they are unlikely to demand a hefty transfer fee for the attacker as he is allowed to leave for nothing at the end of the season.
Having scored 69 goals in 152 appearances for the Ligue 1 side, Dembele could prove to be a smart addition for the second half of the campaign.
Definitely a more ‘out there option, but Thuram has made an electric start to the season for Borussia Monchengladbach in Germany – registering 13 goal contributions in 12 matches.
Like Dembele and Depay, he is out of contract at the end of the campaign. Gladbach sporting director Roland Virkus previously insisted that the club wants to keep the forward beyond the end of the season, but the Frenchman has remained tight-lipped on his plans for the future.
Thuram’s impressive form has attracted interest from a number of clubs, and the striker could provide the Reds with a different option in attack.
The American, who can also play on the wing, is another player that has been linked with a move to Old Trafford in previous years, but his move to Chelsea in 2019 put those rumors to bed.
However, his lack of game time under the Blues’ former manager Thomas Tuchel led to him emerging as a surprise loan option for United in August. The 24-year-old has started just two matches for the London club this season and has found the back of the net just once.
Pulisic has started just once under Graham Potter since the coach joined Chelsea from Brighton. With the London club having several attacking players in their squad, a loan move for Pulisic – while unlikely – could be an option.
While Vardy has struggled for form this season, he has demonstrated for a number of years that he has the ability to score consistently in the Premier League. The former England international has registered 133 goals in 281 top-flight matches during his time with Leicester City.
The striker is under contract with the Foxes until 2024, but he has only started seven matches for Brendan Rodgers’ side this term. Given that Leicester are enduring a difficult campaign, they are unlikely to let one of their first-team stars depart in January.
However, should Rodgers’ men improve their form and start to climb the table before the January transfer window opens, there could be a chance that they would be willing to negotiate a deal for the 35-year-old frontman.