Five strikers Manchester United could actually sign this summer after Erik ten Hag admission

RB Leipzig striker Lois Openda
RB Leipzig striker Lois Openda -Credit:Ralf Ibing - firo sportphoto/Getty Images

Erik ten Hag has confirmed that Manchester United will be searching for a striker this summer with Anthony Martial due to leave at the end of his contract.

United will be left with one natural centre-forward - Rasmus Hojlund - upon the Frenchman's exit and so will need back-up. Marcus Rashford can play as a striker when needed albeit has been largely ineffective when asked.

Amad arrived at Old Trafford as a central striker but has been morphed into a right-sided winger, and anyway could be leaving this summer given his lack of game time since returning from long-term injury in January.

READ MORE: Manchester United planning striker transfer

READ MORE: Erik ten Hag sends message to Dan Ashworth and Jason Wilcox

Having spent £72m on Hojlund last summer and with Sir Jim Ratcliffe having to balance Premier League Profit & Sustainability Rules, it's unlikely United will spend frivolously on another attacker.

It’s more likely that a support act for Hojlund will be acquired, with other areas - such as centre-back and midfield - needing more reinforcement. Ratcliffe may be required to show his canny business acumen in his maiden window.

Serhou Guirassy

Serhou Guirassy has been linked with Manchester United
Serhou Guirassy has been linked with Manchester United -Credit:2024 Rene Nijhuis/MB Media

Probably the most likely target on the list, Guirassy is an appealing prospect. He has 26 goals in 23 matches this season and is the reason why Stuttgart are on course for Champions League qualification.

Several reports mooted that United had sounded out an interest in January and no wonder - the attacker is thought to have a £15m release clause in his contract. Guirassy has been very open about a move to England too.

“I cannot hide these things – everyone knows the Premier League is one of the most competitive leagues in the world,” he said in November. “But at this time I don’t close any doors. There are some very big teams in Europe and it’s not focused only on the Premier League.”

Those comments will only invite more interest in the Guinea star, who turned 28 last month. United might be in for some competition and without Champions League football will be in a worse negotiation position.

Jonathan David

Jonathan David of Lille.
Jonathan David of Lille. -Credit:Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

David is enjoying a fruitful season with Lille, netting 23 goals in 40 matches and is only behind Kylian Mbappe in the Ligue 1 scorers chart. The Canada international doesn’t turn 25 until next January and so is perhaps not yet at his peak.

Lille are understood to want around £50m for the attacker but if United can barter the price below £40m for a player who will soon be entering the final year of his contract, then it might be a worthwhile gamble.

The positive in such a deal is that David would challenge Hojlund for a spot, rather than merely settle for second-fiddle. The sticking point may be Arsenal, who have been linked with David and could perhaps offer more game time, albeit Mikel Arteta is considered to be leaning towards a more versatile attacker.

Lois Openda

Lois Openda scores for RB Leipzig against Manchester City
Lois Openda scores for RB Leipzig against Manchester City -Credit:Odd ANDERSEN / AFP) (Photo by ODD ANDERSEN/AFP via Getty Images

Belgian international Openda has been a bright spark for RB Leipzig this season, scoring 25 goals in 39 matches across all competitions. He has netted against Bayer Leverkusen, Bayern Munich and Manchester City this term so is not one to shirk a big game.

“I want to be a top player. I want to play for the best teams in the world,” he told The Athletic in January. Perhaps encouraging for United to hear.

The concern is his current physique. The 24-year-old boasts a slender figure and questions would be asked about his robustness in the rough-and-tumble Premier League. That said, he’s been injury free all season and has bags of pace - as seen against Man City.

Contracted until 2028, Openda would not come cheap, though, nor would he settle for being a bit-part player in the long-run. He is three years older than Hojlund and has more Champions League experience. Some convincing would need to take place.

Dominic Solanke

Bournemouth striker Dominic Solanke
Bournemouth striker Dominic Solanke -Credit:Lee Parker - CameraSport/Getty Images

There are several things to say about a possible Solanke approach. Having previously played for Liverpool, the player may be tentative - albeit a move to United would be hard for someone in his position to turn down.

There is also a danger of recency bias. His 16 Premier League goals in 31 matches is a healthy return but this is the first time he has tallied double figures in a top-flight campaign.

But the question perhaps should be asked, should such numbers be expected from a striker who would play a rotational role? Does he even want to play a rotational role? At 26, Solanke might not wish to settle for second-best at a club.

However, United do need a second striker and it’s not like they haven't purchased ex-Liverpool players before. Solanke may not be high on the list but he is an affordable option at circa £30m if other ventures fail. The bright lights of Old Trafford may be too much for the attacker to resist, ultimately.

Vangelis Pavlidis

Greek striker Pavlidis is essentially a wildcard option. He has scored 25 goals in 29 league games for AZ Alkmaar this season and is currently top scorer in the Eredivisie.

The 25-year-old would be more willing to play back-up than perhaps everyone else on this list. The former Borussia Dortmund II attacker has the body strength for hold-up play and clearly has an eye for goal.

The justifiable angst United fans would feel is that nearly all of those brought over from the Netherlands to Manchester by Ten Hag have failed to cut it in the Premier League.

Pavlidis has netted more than 20 goals in each of the last three campaigns, though, and with just over a year left on his contract could be bought for a snip. Food for thought, at least.

Other mentions

Evan Ferguson has frequently been linked with United but signed a lengthy contract extension with Brighton in November, keeping him at the club until 2029. It is reported that a £100m release clause has been inserted - far beyond what United can afford.

Victor Boniface is Leverkusen’s star striker with 17 goals this season but his club’s imminent Bundesliga title lift means he will not likely consider a club outside of the Champions League. Xabi Alonso’s decision to stay will also have a massive bearing on his future.

Eddie Nketiah looks set to be sold by Arsenal this summer. A talent, yes, but would he swap second-fiddle at the Emirates for second-fiddle at Old Trafford? Probably not. Turning 25 this summer, regular game time for him is a must and it’s something United cannot offer.

Artem Dovbyk is La Liga’s leading scorer with 16 goals for Girona this season. He would be an immensely attractive target for United if his club wasn’t part of City Football Group, ran by Man City’s owners. A sale to United, then, seems far-fetched given the context.