The Hard Tackle looks at three strikers Manchester United should target in January amid uncertainties surrounding Cristiano Ronaldo’s future.

Manchester United brought in a plethora of players, including Brazilian destroyer Casemiro from Real Madrid and Antony from Ajax, to conclude their transfer dealings in the summer transfer window. But the Red Devils’ movements in the transfer market are far from complete, it seems, as Erik ten Hag’s craving of rebuilding the club has just taken off and will continue for at least the next two or three transfer windows.

Despite their recent slump in performance, Manchester United showed they still have the pull to attract top players. And they will dip their toes in the market again, as ten Hag is said to be interested in signing a striker in the January transfer window.

Following their losses in the first two games of the season, there had been concerns about whether Manchester United could turn the tide. But ten Hag has managed to steady the ship with an attacking and entertaining brand of football for the time being. And as the manager has mentioned, he will require only quality footballers who can fit in his philosophy, and Manchester United will only stick to his principles.

The absence of a natural striker up top has hurt the balance of the team, and if they remain in the top-four hunt, Manchester United will certainly come to all guns blazing to bring in a top-notch striker to Old Trafford. With Cristiano Ronaldo’s future up in the air, signing a top-class striker will be among the priorities in 2023 for the Red Devils. The Hard Tackle thus lists three options for ten Hag to consider this winter.

Goncalo Ramos

Goncalo Ramos has recently emerged as one of the best young strikers in the world and is currently being pursued by a number of top clubs, one of them being Manchester United. The youngster was heavily linked with Newcastle United this past summer, but Benfica managed to keep hold of their prized asset.

Now reports have claimed that Manchester United are eyeing a deal for the 21-year-old striker in the January transfer window. The Portuguese attacker has lit up this season with his goalscoring antics, and eight goals in five games do speak volumes about his talent.

This could well be his breakthrough season, and the Manchester United management is keeping a close watch on his development. Ramos has a hefty release clause which seems a bit unrealistic at this point, and the Red Devils will not entertain any such demands in all likelihood.

But a fee in the region of £25 million might reportedly tempt Benfica to sanction a move for the striker. However, the Portuguese giants will likely need a bit of convincing as they should be reluctant to let go a player who has been pretty vital to their plans thus far in the 2022/23 season.

Moussa Dembele

Does a move to Manchester United beckon Moussa Dembele? (Photo by Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images)
Does a move to Manchester United beckon Moussa Dembele? (Photo by Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images)

Moussa Dembele had been linked with United on a number of instances, but the deal has failed to follow the path each time, as the Red Devils did not want to pursue him seriously.

However, recent shuffles in the management have changed the situation, and Manchester  United might be ready to pounce if a suitable opportunity arises. Dembele has been one of the prime strikers in Europe, banging goals on a consistent basis. And he could provide Manchester United with an uplift which is needed very badly.

The French striker has entered the final year of his contract, and Lyon could thus cash in on the player rather than losing him for free next summer.

The 26-year-old was deemed as a possible successor to Edinson Cavani, but Manchester United never came calling. He netted 21 goals in 30 appearances in the Ligue 1 last season and should be ready for a move as he is adamant to try a new challenge.

Ivan Toney

Ivan Toney’s name popped up in the summer as Manchester United were searching for a potential candidate for the number nine role. But eventually, the Red Devils ended up signing Antony, who offers a different kind of dimension in the final third.

Toney has made a mark since helping Brentford to their first-ever promotion to the Premier League. The 26-year-old has replicated his form in the top-tier too, having led the line pretty effectively as he introduced himself in style last season.

Erik ten Hag’s pressing style would suit the English striker, as he can bully defenders for fun. Toney’s ability to strike from all fronts has been a big blessing for the Bees, who will surely be flooded with offers when the transfer window reopens in January.

Toney is also built for his aerial ability, and ten Hag would be quite happy if the striker does join Manchester United this coming winter. Toney received his first maiden England call-up this month, and if he does make it to the 2022 FIFA World Cup, his stock would only rise, thus aiding Brentford’s cause.

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