Despite a strong domestic season, Manchester United’s defeat in the Europa League final two weeks ago was a sour end to the campaign and therefore going one further next season in order to end what will be a five-year wait for silverware will be the club’s main objective.
To do so, squad improvements will be a priority, even in this off-season period, and the upcoming Euro 2020 tournament will provide the Reds with a prime opportunity to take a closer look at potential targets in elite competitive action.
We know that one area Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is keen to strengthen is the attack, and a new striker looks to be among the priorities.
Therefore with that in mind, below are three strikers who have the potential to catch the eye of the United boss and his recruitment team in the coming weeks.
André Silva – Portugal – 25
Former United star Cristiano Ronaldo has for a long time been the main man for Portugal, yet Silva is leading a changing of the guard and becoming one of his nation’s most exciting forwards.
His total of 28 goals was the second-highest in the Bundesliga last season, ahead of the likes of Erling Haaland and behind only Robert Lewandowski.
The 25-year-old spent the season before last on loan in Germany from AC Milan and netted a fairly impressive 12 league goals. This led to the move being made permanent by Frankfurt and it proved to be a wise decision by the Bundesliga team.
In terms of his profile, he stands at 6ft and possesses good technical skill, dropping into pockets when required to link with teammates or playing on the last shoulder of a defence, primed to make penetrating runs in behind.
Another desirable trait he has is a real tenacity and high work-rate. Frankfurt under manager Adolf Hutter were one of the most aggressive pressing teams in the Bundesliga, and he plays a key part in this philosophy, leading and harrying from the front – notably he led the way for his team last season in terms of pressures made inside the attacking third.
Alexander Isak – Sweden – 21
Having won four straight matches, Sweden may fancy themselves as dark horses heading into the start of next week’s tournament.
And Isak has the potential to be their star man after an impressive campaign with La Liga outfit Real Sociedad, netting 17 goals whilst registering a further two assists.
That return breaks down to an impressive 0.53 goals per 90 which coincides nicely with his xG average for that same period of 0.56.
He was signed by Sociedad from Dortmund in 2019 having failed to score in five senior appearances for the Germany side. However, that decision to sell him now looks premature and he’s a young forward being tipped to reach the very top.
Beyond being sharp in front of goal, he stands at an imposing 6ft 4in which often gives him a height advantage over rival defenders. He’s not just a target man though and can link up well with teammates when the ball is being played on the ground.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin – England – 24
A player already known to many associated with United due to his impressive performances in the Premier League, it’s possible that a strong European Championships from Calvert-Lewin could be the catalyst for him leaving Everton this summer, particularly given that revered Toffees boss Carlo Ancelotti recently left to join Real Madrid.
Since signing for the Merseyside club in 2016, the 24-year-old has been steadily developing year-on-year and is now a well-rounded centre-forward.
It was last season in which he truly exploded into prominence, scoring 21 goals, 16 of which came in the league. Only four players can better that return, yet strikingly none of his 16 strikes came via the penalty spot.
Therefore when you remove penalties, there’s only Harry Kane’s 19 non-penalty goals that could better the Everton forward’s return. Although, it’s worth noting that at Spurs, the England captain is usually presented with roughly 3.9 shots per 90, an average much higher than Calvert-Lewin’s of 2.5.
This then raises an intriguing question, would his goal return increase even further playing for United who would inevitably create more chances for him than Everton do?
One of his most promising attacking assets is undoubtedly his threat in the air. He stands at 6ft 2in and has a mammoth leap, it’s therefore little surprise that he’s scored the second-most headed goals across Europe’s top five leagues this season with seven.