Rashford exit, Osimhen deal, Hojlund swap - Man United dream attack verdict after transfers

Marcus Rashford is due to hold talks with Manchester United
-Credit: (Image: Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Manchester United could be set for a number of exits this summer but fans will be hoping to see a number of stars arrive in time for the new season.

Marcus Rashford is set for talks with United over his future after a drab campaign that saw him register just eight goals. Last summer’s £72m signing Rasmus Hojlund is meanwhile one of four players exempt from sales this window.

It indicates that another big money move for an attacker this year is slim, with Victor Osimhen’s reported £110m release clause due to be far too steep. The Nigerian only netted 15 league goals last campaign.

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Hojlund - four years younger than Osimhen - scored 10 league goals last term but is already acclimatised to the Premier League. Even if Rashford was sold, Napoli would likely need to lower their asking price for Osimhen for United to consider an approach.

If they do, should United make an approach? Should Rashford even be sold in the first place? What about Bologna striker Joshua Zirkzee? Our writers give their thoughts on how United’s dream attack could look next season.

Isaac Johnson

Despite his poor form last season, I don’t see why Rashford would be sold and I doubt there would be many takers for him amid the presumption United would charge a hefty fee given he only signed a long-term deal last year.

United do need another striker, and are reputed to be in talks with Joshua Zirkzee who is widely thought to have a £34m release clause. I like the look of 24-year-old Lille striker Jonathan David, who has been told by his club he can leave.

The second-highest scorer in Ligue 1 and boasting Copa America experience, he is more likely to provide better competition for Hojlund - and he has a reported £25m release clause with just a year left on his deal.

I reckon United would be best suited with him pushing Hojlund onto the next level. Alejandro Garnacho will likely begin on the left, Hojlund up top and I would still choose Rashford over Antony on the right, with Jadon Sancho surely destined to exit.

Amie Wilson

Victor Osimhen would be a dream signing for most clubs in the Premier League this summer, but the cost of the striker does make it a difficult deal to do. There is probably more value for money out there.

I can’t see Marcus Rashford moving on from United this summer, despite talks over his future. But even if he does stay, United do need to add more options to their attack to provide competition to Rasmus Hojlund.

One striker who I think would be a good addition is Brentford’s Ivan Toney. His future with the Bees is uncertain due to his contract situation, meaning he wouldn’t cost a ridiculous price, he is also able to play as a lone striker, holding up the ball to help start attacks.

He knows how to score in the Premier League and has shown what impact he can have during his England cameo in Euro 2024. United could do a lot worse than to make a move for Toney in the summer.

Tom Coley

Hojlund isn't going anywhere, so let's rule that one out. His first year in England was solid if not spectacular, frustrating but also promising at the same time.

At 21 there is plenty of room to develop in and with more support around him, plus a cohesive setup, he's only going to get better. The network of forwards alongside Hojlund is more interesting.

Rashford has shown how good he can be but continually struggles for consistency. Even if talks over his future are underway it's hard to imagine an exit is just around the corner. He's a huge asset to the team and club at his best.

Despite supporting the two players here, United still need a new forward and Osimhen has to be that guy. He is proven in Europe and comes at a prime age to hit the ground running but also continue to improve. The other options are cheaper but also riskier.

Zirkzee has plenty to offer when dropping deep but at 23 he is far from prolific. But his price makes him the most affordable, especially without sales.

United aren't going to be able to afford Osimhen without a sizeable departure though, and that causes issues. Is it worth swapping Hojlund plus cash to get him? In the short-term, maybe, but it wouldn't represent a good investment last summer and makes a farce of the efforts to get him.

Selling Rashford to fund Osimhen makes much more sense. I just don't see it happening.

Jack Flintham

In a dream world, the solution for United to their attack worries would be to secure Victor Osimhen by selling both Mason Greenwood and Jadon Sancho for a combined £80m. However, this is a dream world for a reason and it just feels unlikely the Reds will be able to drum up that much cash for the English duo.

That means Osimhen is unlikely to be on the radar unless Napoli panic and lower their asking price for the striker. I don't think the way to go is to sell Marcus Rashford to fund the Nigerian's purchase.

Rashford has his critics but you feel when he is on his game, which is more often than not, he can still be United's biggest threat and I don't see a world where either Ineos or Erik ten Hag agrees to his departure. Nevertheless, the Reds need to add at least one centre-forward to their squad this summer.

Therefore, perhaps a move for Joshua Zirkzee is the only realistic option and have him partner Rasmus Hojlund up front next season with the Reds biding their time to make a huge striker purchase.

Tom Doyle

One of United's big problems since Sir Alex Ferguson left is that they have bet on marquee signings as the answer to all their problems. Osimhen could be a superb signing, but he's no panacea. Spending the majority of the budget on a striker, however talented, wouldn't be wise unless United sign the likes of Matthijs de Ligt and Joao Neves to retain the ball and create chances in the first place.

United must first work out who they're selling and move on from there. Jadon Sancho and Mason Greenwood should bring in a combined £70m. I think it's time to part ways with Marcus Rashford while PSG are in the market for a Kylian Mbappe replacement. Those three sales offer the chance to completely rebuild the attack. Getting anything over £35m for Antony would also be a bonus, but United run the risk of being left short of bodies.

Rasmus Hojlund, Alejandro Garnacho and Amad Diallo will stay, so what Ten Hag needs is experience and variety. Joshua Zikrzee looks a smart addition for £34m to rival Hojlund, and can also operate on the flanks. Ivan Toney would also be good business: a proven Premier League goalscorer for a reasonable fee is never a bad bet, though I wouldn't expect both him and Zirkzee to sign. Matheus Cunha of Wolves is another strong bet in the £50m range.

Two leftfield options now: Jarrod Bowen scored 16 League goals last season (more than any United player managed), wouldn't cost the earth, and could work brilliantly with Diogo Dalot down the right flank. And finally, Anthony Gordon: there is bad blood with Newcastle after the Dan Ashworth saga, but if the Magpies need cash then spending the Rashford funds on Gordon would be a brilliant bit of business. These would all be smart, proven signings; goalscorers and creators who can press and would immediately lift the baseline of the squad.