Manchester United want to sign Erling Haaland this summer. However, any deal for the Borussia Dortmund striker will be difficult due to the huge competition when it comes to landing the Norway international. Yet, by giving him the No 7 shirt, the Red Devils could end up winning the race for his signature.
Manchester United need a new striker.
Mason Greenwood has recently stepped up by scoring twice in as many matches but, for the most part, has struggled for goals this term.
Anthony Martial has regressed, with the France international finding the net just four times in the top flight.
And while Edinson Cavani has been a successful signing, it’s clear the Uruguay international is no longer the player he was a decade ago.
In fact, Cavani’s time at Old Trafford could be up.
The Uruguay international is mulling over whether to return to South America with Boca Juniors, who are eager to bring him in.
And, what’s more, the player’s father, Luis, recently said Cavani was determined to leave United having failed to settle in England.
“My son does not feel comfortable in England and wants to be close to the family again,” he said.
THINK YOU KNOW SPORT? Test your sporting knowledge with our tricky quiz
“Edinson is going to end up playing in South America. I want Edinson to play in a team that fights for something important.
“Edinson had many conversations with Riquelme and he would like to play for Boca. He was always seduced by the idea of playing in Boca.
“If he returns to South America he is leaning towards Boca. By the middle of the year he will return to South America.
“My son’s idea is not to continue there, he wants to return.”
So, as things stand, all signs point to Cavani leaving United at the end of the campaign.
And that means the Red Devils can use his No 7 shirt as bait to land Haaland, who is Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s priority transfer target.
There are few bigger shirt numbers in world football. Like the No 10 at Barcelona, it carries some significant pulling power.
It’s been worn by United greats such as Cristiano Ronaldo, David Beckham, Eric Cantona and George Best over the years.
And Cavani looks like going the way of Angel Di Maria, Memphis Depay and Alexis Sanchez by failing to do it justice, with just seven goals for the club scored so far.
Haaland made it clear in March that any club who wants to sign him must show they really want him.
“They must want me,” he said.
And, therefore, offering the Norway international the chance to follow in the footsteps of Ronaldo, Cantona and Best could be the ticket to acquiring his services.
However, while United want Haaland, their path to the player is far from straightforward.
Barcelona believe Haaland would be the perfect replacement for Luis Suarez, who was allowed to join Atletico Madrid in last summer’s transfer window.
Real Madrid believe the 20-year-old would be the ideal long-term heir to Karim Benzema, who is approaching the twilight years of his career.
Alex Telles ‘to be used in Man Utd swap deal’
Chelsea may have signed perfect Haaland partner
Lionel Messi’s Barcelona anger explained
Manchester City would love to replace Sergio Aguero with Haaland.
And Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel is a big admirer of the Dortmund star, too, amid the struggles of Timo Werner, Olivier Giroud and Tammy Abraham.
Meanwhile, former United star Paul Scholes recently called on his old side to land Haaland instead of Tottenham’s Harry Kane.
“First and foremost, they need a number nine,” the former United midfielder said.
“I think the forwards they have are very good, but are any of them really a number nine, are they wide players? You just can’t make sense out of it, really.
“When [Edinson] Cavani’s played, he’s looked alright, but he’s picked up a few injuries. He’s at that age, it was always going to happen, he was always going to be bit-part.
“They need someone who is more permanent. I know Haaland is talked about a lot, he’s going to cost a lot of money. Harry Kane at Spurs, there are rumours that he might want to leave there.
“I think any one of them, you take any one of them, but I think if I had to choose, then Haaland would definitely be the one.
“Purely for his age, his ability, the timing of his career, he’s played under Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer] before. I think it would make sense for everyone to do it, but there’s going to be other clubs in for him, so it will be difficult.
“I like Kane, I think he’s brilliant. When he first came onto the scene, I likened him to Ruud [van Nistelrooy], he’s a ruthless finisher, desperate to score goals.
“I just think at the stages of each one’s career, then you get more out of Haaland.”