Manchester United are likely to enter the transfer market for a new striker in January after confirming the release of Cristiano Ronaldo by mutual agreement on Tuesday.
As part of the exit, the Red Devils have saved £16 million in wages. The Portugal international agreed to end his 16-month spell at the club without any form of pay-off.
The hierarchy should utilise the funds this winter to pursue an affordable replacement. Here are three strikers that the club could target in the January transfer window.
Memphis Depay – Barcelona
It is widely known that the Dutchman will leave Barcelona in January. The Spanish club don’t want to lose him on a free transfer and are prepared to sell him for £4.35 million.
Depay has had an injury-plagued campaign at the La Liga club, having made just three appearances, but he has recovered in time for the ongoing World Cup in Qatar.
His performances at the tournament should be assessed by many clubs including United, who could be tempted to reunite with the 28-year-old, six years after selling him to Lyon.
Despite the inconsistent playing time at Camp Nou, Depay has registered 14 goal involvements since last summer. He has a goal or an assist in every 164 minutes for Barcelona.
Mehdi Taremi – Porto
The Iranian has been touted for a bigger challenge away from Porto for some time. It could well happen in January, considering he will enter the final 18 months of his contract.
The 30-year-old has registered 13 goals and eight assists from just 19 games for Porto this term. He has also starred for Iran and recently bagged a brace in the 6-2 World Cup loss to England.
Taremi has excelled with his finishing and link-up play in the final third, but can also hold-up play efficiently. If United are eyeing a traditional striker, he could be a quality option.
He is currently valued at £17.3m by Transfermarkt. Porto don’t have much room to negotiate a higher fee and United should consider a move before their rivals step in. Arsenal have also been linked.
Moussa Dembele – Lyon
The Frenchman had a top 2020/21 season with 22 goals and five assists from 36 appearances for Les Gones. His form has dipped this term with only two assists from 12 matches.
Alexandre Lacazette’s return has dropped him down the pecking order, but there should be clubs after him in January. He could be available for a knockdown price with his contract expiring in June.
United have been linked Dembele for a long period of time and we won’t be surprised if the rumours re-emerge. The 26-year-old would be a handy back-option with his good finishing skills.
He is valued at £15.6m by Transfermarkt, but United could easily pursue him for a seven-figure sum this winter. Dembele would be a home-grown player, having started his career at Fulham.
Stats from Transfermarkt.com