Sunday 30 April 2017

So just who is Louis van Gaal's secret striker?

Alvaro Morata enjoyed an excellent first season with Juventus
Alvaro Morata enjoyed an excellent first season with Juventus
Inter Milan's Mauro Icardi practices with a ball during a training ahead of a friendly match against FC Bayern Munich in Shanghai, China, July 20, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer CHINA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN CHINA
London calling: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (right) is being linked with Arsenal Photo: EPA
Olympique Lyon's Alexandre Lacazette prays before their French Ligue 1 soccer match against Girondins Bordeaux at the Gerland stadium in Lyon, France, May 16, 2015. REUTERS/Robert Pratta

Manchester United are in the process of signing a new striker, but manager Louis van Gaal has insisted he is not a forward the club have been strongly linked with.

Van Gaal cryptically noted the target is "not a striker that the media has written (about)" - appearing to rule out Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski, Tottenham's Harry Kane and Paris St Germain's Edinson Cavani.

Here are five other strikers who might be on the Dutchman's radar.



 Cast aside by Real Madrid last summer, Morata enjoyed a memorable 2014-15 as Juventus nearly won the treble in his first season in Turin. He has a knack of scoring in big games - netting in both legs of the Champions League semi-finals against his old club and in the final against Barcelona - and has the physical attributes needed to cope with the hurly-burly of English top-flight football. The snag? Morata is unlikely to come cheap with four years left on the 22-year-old's five-year deal, plus Madrid have a buy-back option.




The joint-top scorer in Serie A last year recently signed a contract extension to keep him at Inter Milan until 2019, not that his new deal will deter Europe's top clubs if the 22-year-old replicates his recent form. He accrued 22 league goals and was the division's leading scorer alongside the evergreen Luca Toni, despite the fact Inter only finished eighth. In Manchester derbies, United's scourge has often been Manchester City's Argentinian striker Sergio Aguero. Maybe they will be able to fight fire with fire next term?


READ MORE: Wayne Rooney: I will score the goals to win Man United the title




Van Gaal has been strongly linked with Mats Hummels and Ilkay Gundogan but perhaps it was all just a ruse to put people off the scent of the Borussia Dortmund player he really wants? Aubameyang has helped Dortmund get over the lose of Lewandowski with two goal-laden campaigns in Germany, finding the net 42 times in 95 games since moving from St Etienne. The Gabon international is also versatile - equally adept at playing out wide - a characteristic Van Gaal tends to covet in players.

READ MORE: 'We are looking for a new striker' says van Gaal as Munich turn down €100m Thomas Muller bid




Sure Lyon's French international recently hinted he would be willing to stay for another season leading up to Euro 2016 in his own country, but U-turns are all the rage, just ask Fabian Delph. Nobody scored more than Lacazette's 27 goals in Ligue 1 last season - not even Zlatan Ibrahimovic - and Lyon have a history of selling their best players. United missed out on Michael Essien and Karim Benzema in the Sir Alex Ferguson era and need to land top targets even more now they are playing catch up.



Kevin Volland.jpg  

One of Europe's most promising young forwards has already broken into the senior team of the World Cup holders and was the second top scorer at this summer's European Under-21 Championships. Last term Volland managed double figures for a Hoffenheim squad that included new Liverpool signing Roberto Firmino, while he also chipped in with five assists in the Bundesliga. Another who can play in multiple positions in attack, he would have an excellent mentor in former prodigy Wayne Rooney.

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