There is a very real possibility Cristiano Ronaldo may never play for Manchester United again.
New manager Erik ten Hag has decisively exerted his authority in a manner Sir Alex Ferguson would have been proud of.
The January transfer window will likely bring an end to the Ronaldo charade, but with Anthony Martial’s fitness proving unreliable, it is clear another striker is needed.
Manchester United now have to be eyeing a replacement for Ronaldo. A striker was already needed, and Ronaldo’s problems heighten the need for a new face.
Here is a look at three forwards Manchester United can sign to replace Cristiano Ronaldo…
The Independent reported Gakpo was only considered if United sold Ronaldo. It now looks inevitable Ronaldo will leave one way or another, and getting him off the wage bill would free up funds for Gakpo.
Gakpo is a versatile attacker who would fit well into Ten Hag’s system, without being an out and out centre-forward.
The type of player Ten Hag chooses to replace Ronaldo depends on how the manager wishes to shape his side. Gakpo’s ability to play different positions could fit well with Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, Antony and Anthony Martial, making them all interchangeable.
Gakpo has 13 goals this season and 11 assists, a figure bettered by no player in Europe. He will be on United’s list.
An emerging option for Manchester United is Benfica striker Goncalo Ramos, who is enjoying a strong season as the club’s lead striker.
Ramos scored 14 goals in 17 games for Portugal’s under-21 side before recently being called up to the senior squad. He could go to the World Cup.
The 21-year-old has scored six goals in eight league games for Benfica this season, and a move in January could be sensible before his price spikes along with his goal tally rising as the season goes on.
Brentford striker Ivan Toney could be a viable option, one who has already shown his quality to Erik ten Hag in United’s defeat at Brentford.
Toney is a more classic number nine, who is proven in the Premier League. He is a known quantity who would give a very different option to United’s current attackers.
The 26-year-old has scored eight goals in 11 games this season and was recently called into the England squad. The timing could be ideal for him to clinch a big move.
Ten Hag’s Ajax side thrived with a physical striker, Sebastien Haller, and Toney could play a similar role if brought in to lead the line for United.