Manchester United want to sign a new goalscorer to support Cristiano Ronaldo in attack next season, with Edinson Cavani set to leave as a free agent.
City have set an almost impossible standard to match, adding Erling Haaland, another one who got away for United.
One top option is Benfica striker Darwin Nunez, who has a better goals per game rate than Haaland this season, and who The Athletic report could cost as little as £51 million.
But there will be hefty competition for Nunez, and United may simply decide there is a better options available who has a different style of play.
Five Darwin Nunez alternatives
With Cristiano Ronaldo still set to play a key role under Erik ten Hag, United may decide the best forward who could be signed is a player who can play alongside the Portuguese striker.
Ralf Rangnick has urged United to sign ‘two modern strikers’, players who can play across the front three, giving United extra choice when it comes to signing attackers, and looking at alternatives to Nunez.
Here is a look at five forwards of very different styles who Manchester United could turn to this summer, instead of, or even as well as Darwin Nunez…
The first of our five Darwin Nunez alternatives is RB Leipzig star Christian Nkunku, who has just come off the best season of his career, scoring 34 goals in all competitions, matching The Uruguayan’s tally.
The difference is Nkunku has been busy in the assist column too, with Transfermarkt reporting he has 20 assists for the season.
Nkunku has just been awarded as the Bundesliga player of the season, ahead of Robert Lewandowski, and recently earned his first international call-up for France.
The 24-year-old would cost a similar fee to Nunez, but would give Ten Hag greater tactical flexibility, thanks to his ability to lead the line, or play from deep.
Manchester United may simply not be able to afford Darwin Nunez and Antony, with both expected to cost around £50 million minimum. Improvements will still be required in midfield and defence.
Antony is very much the ‘modern striker’ Rangnick refers to, and UOL Esporte report this week the Brazilian is keen on a move to United, with the club expressing interest.
The Ajax star has the trickery of a young Cristiano Ronaldo, and being able to add that alongside the forward in attack is a dangerous prospect, especially with Jadon Sancho on the other flank.
He has scored 12 goals and provided eight assists this season before his campaign was cut short by injury for Brazil in March.
A more conventional striker, Patrik Schick is a reliable goalscorer who was once signed for RB Leipzig under Ralf Rangnick’s advice.
Schick scored 24 goals in 27 games for Bayer Leverkusen this season, surpassing Dimitar Berbatov’s best season for the German club.
Still only 26, Schick is entering his peak years, and he could become a good option for United to rotate with Cristiano Ronaldo – the player he shared the Euro 2020 top goalscorer title with last summer.
Lille forward Jonathan David would be an investment for the future, a raw talent who is set to lead the line for Canada at the 2022 World Cup.
David has scored 18 goals for Lille this season, amid an up and down campaign. 15 of his goals came in the first half of the season, before he went off the boil, netting only three in 2022.
Still only 22, David is only going to get better, and his slow end to the season could mean his price tag is more reasonable.
A move for David would be an investment, giving Erik ten Hag an exciting young forward he can develop into a superstar, who will also be excited to learn from Cristiano Ronaldo.
Sassuolo striker Gianluca Scamacca has been the breakout star of the Serie A season, scoring 16 goals for the league’s 11th placed side.
Scamacca, 23, told The Guardian last year he idolises Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and is a more traditional centre-forward.
Signing a player of Scamacca’s style would mean United don’t have to shift systems when Ronaldo is rested, and he would be arguably the cheapest of these five Darwin Nunez alternatives.
Erik ten Hag has also seen his system thrive with Sebastien Haller at Ajax, and Scamacca could fill this role well if selected by United.