Manchester United have made an underwhelming start to the new season with Erik ten Hag’s position having come under pressure.
The Red Devils have lost five of their opening 11 games of the Premier League season, with goals having been a major issue for Ten Hag’s team, who sit eighth in the table and are six points adrift of the Champions League places.
United spent £72m to sign Rasmus Hojlund from Atalanta during the summer and while the Dane has showed promise in flashes, the 20-year-old remains raw and has failed to score in the Premier League this season.
Antony, Alejandro Garnacho and Anthony Martial are also without a goal or assist during the current campaign, while Marcus Rashford’s form has been poor with one goal from 10 league games.
Ten Hag could look to hand his squad a boost with the signing of a centre-forward in January, with a proven option to relieve some of the pressure on Hojlund. Finances, however, are tight at Old Trafford.
We’ve looked at five potential options for the club to consider.
Five centre-forwards Man United could target in January:
Serhou Guirassy – Stuttgart
Serhou Guirassy’s goalscoring has been one of the stories of the season so far, with the Stuttgart striker having started the campaign in blistering form.
Guirassy had a solid – if unspectacular – first season on loan at Stuttgart last season with 11 goals, but has began his second season at The MHPArena with a bang. The 27-year-old scored 13 goals in his first seven appearances of the Bundesliga season, breaking the record for goals after seven games previously held by Robert Lewandowski (11).
The Guinea international has 14 goals in just eight appearances this season, with only Harry Kane (15) having outscored Guirassy in Europe’s top five leagues.
Fabrizio Romano has reported that the striker has a release clause of just €17.5m (£15.1m) in his contract at the German side, a figure that appears attainable for Manchester United and one that is sure to spark significant interest in the January window.
Mehdi Taremi – Porto
Mehdi Taremi is being linked with a host of Europe’s elite clubs as the forward approaches the end of his contract at Porto. Taremi will be a free agent in the summer and could be available for a knockdown price in the January transfer window, as Porto look to avoid losing their talisman as a free agent.
The 31-year-old was a late arrival in European football after leaving Al-Gharafa for Portugal’s Rio Ave in 2019, before crossing to Porto the following season. His four full seasons in the Primeira Liga have seen Taremi hit 101 goals in all competitions, while he has twice won the Bola de Prata as Portugal’s top scorer.
Taremi would be a short-term solution, but with long-term investment in Hojlund he could be an experienced option to alternate with the Dane. Inter Milan and Real Madrid are also said to be keen.
Gabriel Barbosa – Flamengo
Gabriel Barbosa has been linked with a return to European football after rebuilding his reputation at Flamengo. Having been hailed as one of Brazil’s brightest talents, Barbosa failed to make an impact after signing for Inter Milan and scored just once in 10 games.
A return to his homeland reignited the career of the forward, first on loan at Santos before a move to Flamengo. Since returning to Brazil in 2018, Barbosa has scored 180 goals in 318 appearances, in addition to five goals in 18 caps for the national team.
Barbosa’s contract is set to expire at the end of 2024 and recent reports have suggested Flamengo would be prepared to let their leading scorer leave for a fee of £20m. Still just 27-years-old, he could be an astute addition after maturing in the Brasileirão.
Ivan Toney – Brentford
Ivan Toney is understood to be a transfer target for several Premier League clubs, with Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham all linked with signing the Brentford forward.
Toney has shone since the Bees’ promotion to the Premier League with 32 goals in 66 appearances in the top-flight, form which saw the 27-year-old earn a first England cap in March. Brentford are reluctant to lose Toney and are understood to value the forward at around £80m, but the forward will have just 18 months remaining on his contract in January.
Brentford are one of the best ran clubs in the Premier League and, at risk of seeing Toney’s value decrease in the coming months, could be open to a big-money bid in the winter. Toney has not featured this season as he serves an eight-month ban for breaching the FA’s gambling rules, but will be free to return to football in January. He could be out of Manchester United’s price range however, if a bidding war between the Premier League’s top clubs unfolds.
Youssef En-Nesyri – Sevilla
Sevilla’s debts saw the Spanish side reportedly place their entire first-team squad up for sale during the summer window, with goalkeeper Yassine Bounou the highest profile exit from Andalusia after joining Saudi Pro League side Al-Hilal.
Youssef En-Nesyri is a name rival clubs could target if further sales are required and the Moroccan has been a reported transfer target for Premier League clubs in recent windows.
— UEFA Europa League (@EuropaLeague) April 26, 2023
En-Nesyri impressed as Morocco reached the World Cup semi-finals in Qatar last winter and the 26-year-old has scored 60 goals in 170 appearances in all competitions for Sevilla, including seven in 15 games this season.
En-Nesyri starred as Sevilla won the Europa League last season and scored twice as the Spaniards thrashed Manchester United 3-0 in the quarter-finals.