With it now looking increasingly likely Man Utd will miss out on Benfica’s Darwin Nunez, Mirror Football has highlighted five players they could target instead this summer
It has been revealed that Benfica striker Darwin Nunez is on Liverpool’s transfer shortlist, and many are backing the Reds to seal a deal.
The news comes as a blow for Manchester United who are also keen on the striker, though with no Champions League football to offer, it’s likely that the 22-year-old will favor a switch to Anfield over Old Trafford.
Signing at least one new forward is a priority for new manager Erik ten Hag as he begins his rebuilding project at the club. Nunez, who scored 32 goals last season, would have been the ideal recruit. However United now look like they’ll be forced to switch their attention elsewhere.
With that in mind, Mirror Football have drawn up a shortlist of five alternatives that United could target instead of Nunez this summer.
Taiwo Awoniyi – Union Berlin
While at Liverpool, it seemed as though Awoniyi could not quite cut it at the very highest level, which is why the Merseysiders allowed him to make his initial loan to Union Berlin permanent last summer. However, another strong campaign in Germany’s top tier has gradually changed those opinions.
As a profile, he’s big, strong and holds the ball up well. Most importantly though, he has a real eye for goal. He’s scored 20 Bundesliga goals in his two seasons with Union Berlin, 15 of which came last season.
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He spent most of the campaign playing within a front two, which is worth noting given Cristiano Ronaldo is set to remain a key figure at United next season. The Portugal star requires a partner who can do more of the work away from scoring goals though if he’s to continue producing his best form, and Awoniyi could be just that.
Jonathan Burkardt – Mainz 05
If the idea is to get legs around Ronaldo next season, then Mainz’s Burkardt could be the ideal recruit. He both scored and assisted for Germany’s U21 side last week against Hungary, capping off what was a fine campaign for the 21-year-old.
In 34 first-team league appearances, he scored 11 goals while registering a further three assists – only two players under 22 scored more league goals across Europe’s top five leagues last season.
He tends to be a nuisance for opposition defenders too, constantly chasing down balls and making runs in behind. The 21-year-old looks set to have a bright future and should only get better as he continues to develop.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin – Everton
Another hard-working forward is Everton’s Calvert-Lewin and in fact, for a long time, his work rate was a key reason why he was a regular in the Toffees’ starting XI, as goals were often at a premium. He scored just 11 Premier League goals across his first three senior seasons at the club.
That’s something he’s since worked hard to fix though, scoring 13 league goals and then another 16 in the two seasons that followed. He even managed five in the last campaign, despite missing large parts of the season through injury.
As a top well-rounded center-forward who can now score goals, it’s easy to see why so many big clubs are reportedly looking at him, however if United legitimize their own interest, then it’s a deal you could see happening.
Gianluca Scamacca – Sassuolo
Scamacca has attracted plenty of attention from a host of big clubs in recent months on the back of a strong campaign in Serie A last season, and it seems as though Arsenal are leading the race to land his signature.
However if United were wise, they’d not let the Gunners have a free run at him. The 23-year-old took some time to establish himself at the highest level but across the last two campaigns, he’s really come to the forefront by scoring a combined 28 Serie A goals.
As a profile, he stands at an imposing 6ft5, making him an ever-present aerial threat and perfect target man. He’s also a willing runner into channels and combines well with teammates around him. A move to the Premier League seems possible, and Old Trafford would be an ideal destination.
Victor Osimhen – Naples
Osimhen is on the radar of many top Premier League clubs, and it’s easy to see why. He finished as Napoli’s top scorer last season with 18 goals and the club understandably does not want to lose him.
They’re asking for figures in excess of £ 90m, which will deter most interested parties, though if there’s movement on that figure, then he could be a worthwhile investment for United.
The 23-year-old has a great leap on him, making him a real asset from set pieces and crossing situations. He’s also extremely mobile despite its size and great at leading a line.