Man Utd to sign striker ‘regardless’ of Ten Hag sack as ‘three-man shortlist’ has £84m Arsenal targets

Jason Soutar
Reported Man Utd striker targets Joshua Zirkzee, Ivan Toney and Jonathan David
Reported Man Utd striker targets Joshua Zirkzee, Ivan Toney and Jonathan David

Manchester United will sign a striker regardless of who their manager is and have Brentford’s Ivan Toney on their summer shortlist, according to reports.

The Red Devils are prioritising signing a new frontman following Anthony Martial’s departure.

The Frenchman’s exit leaves 2023 signing Rasmus Hojlund as the only recognised striker in Erik ten Hag’s squad.

Given Martial’s injury problems, there was a lot of pressure on Hojlund to lead the line in 2023/24 and that pressure clearly took its toll.

He scored a respectable 16 goals across all competitions in his debut season at Old Trafford but the Dane did not score his first Premier League goal until Boxing Day, his 15th top-flight appearance of the campaign.

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A muscle injury in February halted a superb run of form for Hojlund – who scored seven goals and made two assists in six appearances between December 26 and February 18.

Finding competition for the 21-year-old will be a huge priority for Sir Jim Ratcliffe and his team, and it has been reported that Toney is one of three players being looked at closely by Man Utd.

Man Utd narrow down striker shortlist to three – including Arsenal target

According to ESPN, Ten Hag’s side ‘have drawn up a list of striker targets ahead of the summer transfer window’ and Brentford want at least £50million for Toney, who is entering the final year of his contract.

Also on their shortlist is Lille hitman Jonathan David and Arsenal and AC Milan-linked Bologna striker Joshua Zirkzee.

The former has been linked with a transfer to the Premier League for what feels like an eternity but has never appeared close to moving to England despite links to Arsenal, West Ham, and many others.

Zirkzee impressed for Bologna in 2023/24, helping the Italian side defy the odds to qualify for the Champions League.

The report adds that Benjamin Sesko ‘has also been heavily scouted’ but a move has been ruled out after the 20-year-old decided to sign a new contract at RB Leipzig, snubbing interest from the Red Devils, Arsenal and Chelsea.

Man Utd are ‘conscious of giving Hojlund more competition up front’ and are attracted to Zirkzee’s £34m release clause, which Milan are reportedly willing to pay.

While Zirkzee is an interesting proposition, it is noted that the Premier League club are ‘particularly interested’ in David and Toney – another who has been strongly linked with Arsenal – as both players are out of contract in 2025.

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Another striker United have been ‘monitoring’ is Ajax’s Brian Brobbey, though ‘much of their interest has been driven by Erik ten Hag’ – who bloody loves an Eredivisie signing.

It is unclear whether or not Ten Hag will remain in charge as the Red Devils continue to undergo an end-of-season review.

‘Regardless of who the manager is next season’, ‘adding a striker to the squad is a priority’, the report claims.

Another position they are eager to improve is centre-back, with Everton’s £75m-rated youngster Jarrad Branthwaite ‘a top target’.

The Toffees reportedly believe he ‘should command a similar fee to Josko Gvardiol, who moved from RB Leipzig to Manchester City last summer for £77.6m’.

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