Well the question of who LVG will choose as his main 4 strikers for next season is one which is perplexing many United fans around the world. The only name which is seemingly a lock is that of Captain Wayne Rooney who has had an excellent season despite unselfishly playing in midfield on numerous occasions which undoubtedly played a big part in Manchester United maintaining their top 4 challenge and ultimately led to them securing their Champions League spot. Even with his limited striking appearances, Rooney has still excelled in front of goal with his team leading 14 goal tally.
The other candidates are not so certain. Robin van Persie has had a mediocre season by his standards, blighted by a number of injuries and even though he has looked good for parts of the season and has scored some decent goals he looks a shadow of the striker whose goals secured United’s last title in the season of 2012-13. Turkish giants Fenerbahce are rumored to be very interested in the Dutchman but seemingly he does not fancy any Turkish delight and favours a stay in Manchester to lead the United revival next campaign. Juventus has been suggested as another possible destination for RVP but looking at the Italian side vs Real Madrid with their current striking options of former red Carlos Tevez, Alvaro Morata and Fernando Llorente who are all signed permanently plus loanee Alessandro Matri, it is hard to see Robin fitting in there or being prepared to be a second or third choice. So it would seem van Persie staying at Old Trafford is about a 60:40 in favour of him remaining.
Falcao has sadly proved to be a real enigma in a United shirt. I think most United fans are still massively disappointed that the Columbian hitman has not hit the heights he is capable of at Old Trafford and are still very sympathetic to his plight with none of the fans ever abusing or booing him, in fact he has received unerring support from the OT faithful and I think many would like him to get a 2nd season at United (at a reduced salary) because like me they expect him to return to form next season after completely getting over his knee injury. This is going to be the most interesting decision for LVG to make and I don’t envy him as the striker could well be a bust again if he stays but you know that if he leaves he is bound to return to his old form and start banging the goals in again. So I think Falcao staying at Old Trafford is about a 70:30 in favour of him leaving.
James Wilson scored twice on his debut vs Hull City a year ago but has had a pretty understated first season in the first team squad on the whole, scoring only 2 first team goals this season in a relatively small number of appearances but still he has started games and you would have expected more from him in the opportunities he has been given. Wilson naturally underlined his potential the other night when he led the United U-21’s to a 4-0 hammering of the Man City U-21’s in the U-21 Manchester Derby with 2 goals of the highest quality – both were supreme strikers goals and underlined his class. So clearly Wilson is a genuine grade A prospect but is he ready for prime-time at United or should he go out on loan as some have suggested? All in all, I think his chances of staying at United next season in the first team squad are 50:50.
Javier Chicharito Hernández is a player who has done brilliant things in a United shirt and during his loan to Real Madrid this season despite limited chances and much frustration, he has still managed to deliver key goals for the Spanish giants when called upon after injury to Kareem Benzema late in the season. He has scored 37 goals in 102 games for United with many games as a substitute and has always played with total commitment and is undoubtedly a high-class, natural goal-scorer. When he returns from Real (should they not decide to exercise their option to make the deal permanent) it will be interesting to see if LVG can be convinced to give him another chance. I don’t know why but I just don’t think luck is on his side at Old Trafford anymore and I think his chances of staying at United next season are probably only 30:70 but I do think if anyone is worthy of a second chance and a punt it is him.
French striker Alexandre Lacazette has had an exceptional campaign in Ligue 1 and the 23-year-old has banged in 31 goals in 31 appearances for Lyon so far this year, which has merited a place for him in the France International side, where he has become a regular. Apparently he is available for a £22 million fee and United seemingly want him. Whether he will want to come to United when he is bound to have offers from a number of other top clubs around Europe will remain to be seen as it depends on whether LVG really likes him and on whether he is happy to contest a first team place with the other United strikers whoever they may be. I give a 40:60 chance of Lacazette arriving at Old Trafford.
Edinson Cavani has again revealed that he might depart from Ligue 1 leaders PSG at season’s end and given the budget at LVG’s disposal you cannot dismiss a possible bid from United for the Uruguayan striker especially considering the continued stories talking about how Cavani is sick of playing out of position in Paris and how he dearly wants to play striker for a top club. Even though the striker has said he favors a move to Spain you would have to think United have a chance considering they may well be able to offer him the opportunity to play striker as long as some of the other candidates are moved on. This one looks like a bit of a long shot and I only give it a 20:80 chance of happening.
Of course there is one more option for United in the striking department who is now already available to them as he has just joined them. I am of course referring to the sensational Memphis Depay who has just joined from PSV and given his excellent scoring record as a left winger (22 goals and 4 assists) could he be converted to a striker? It may be too soon and indeed it may be a the wrong option but I am sure LVG will make the best use of him but it does look like he could do the job upfront with his goal-scoring prowess and strong muscular attributes.
Well other candidates are bound to emerge as soon as the transfer window opens and as usual it is bound to be a window full of action from a United perspective and I expect LVG to live up to his reputation and continue the rebuild of United with some astute signings and if the Depay signing is anything to go by we can expect our Dutch boss to move with conviction and make some serious big-name signings and choices with the strikeforce a major area of focus.
Who do you think United’s four strikers for the first team squad should be for next season?
*Don’t forget (as I did until now) that 20 year old Chilean striker, Angelo Henriquez is also an option having joined United in the SAF era. Henriquez apparently has it all – pace, goal-scoring ability and can play wide or in the centre. He is doing well on his current loan spell with Dinamo Zagreb having scored 13 goals in 15 games. You can read more on him here thanks to Just-Football.com.