As we approach the end of Erik ten Hag’s maiden season in English football, things have been relatively successful for the Dutchman. It looks as if he’s secured a place in the Premier League top four, in turn bringing Champions League football back to Old Trafford, whilst the Carabao Cup victory over Newcastle United back in February ended the club’s seven-year wait for silverware. Although they’ve also reached the FA Cup final, they come in as massive underdogs in a Wembley derby against Manchester City at the start of June, a double as well as a return to Europe would be a great start for Ten Hag.
With that said, you feel given the money United spent their fans could expect more from the campaign. The Red Devils have capitulated away from home multiple times and while the top 4 odds still have them as favourites to finish above Liverpool, their form on the road is a concern, as is their inability to score goals.
Indeed, the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo in January ensured a goals shortage for United. Despite a renaissance in form from Marcus Rashford, the England international still needs a recognised number nine to work with, and Wout Weghorst has failed to live up to the billing since arriving on loan. United need a fit-for-purpose goal scorer who can drag them through the next campaign and help assemble the building blocks for a title challenge. But who could they go and get? Read on, as we assess three players Ten Hag could pursue come the summer to fill the void.
As United waved goodbye to one Portuguese finisher, their next could come in the form of the man who replaced him in the national team at the World Cup — Goncalo Ramos. The Benfica striker put his name in the shop window with his crucial goals in Qatar and with the Primeira Liga side known to sell their best talented, losing Darwin Nunez and Enzo Fernandez over the last two transfer windows, it could be an ideal time for United to swoop in. Ramos has plenty of time to develop at just 21 years old, but could be the long-term successor to Ronaldo if he hits the ground running at the Theatre of Dreams.
It’s no secret Harry Kane is desperate for trophies, and with United’s potential double winning season coinciding with Tottenham Hotspur’s lack of Champions League football, the England captain could trade north London for Manchester if the right fee is agreed. Daniel Levy drives a hard bargain but with the club looking to build from the ground up as their old guard ages, and Kane still in search of Alan Shearer’s Premier League goalscoring record, it’s likely Kane will stay in England rather than move to another European giant. And United seem to be his only suitor domestically, with the 30-year-old failing to secure a move to City back in 2021.
Finally, the most audacious move for United would be to approach Napoli over their talisman Victor Osimhen. The Nigerian has emerged a god-like figure in Naples after helping his side win their first Serie A title in over 30 years, and with the likes of Edinson Cavani and Gonzalo Higuain plying their trade for the Italians, they have a reputation of developing top strikers. Osimhen is already world-class and may want to test himself in the Premier League, but it would take a massive transfer fee to prise him away from the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.