As the summer draws nearer, the legion of gossip peddlers have been busy going through their warm-up routines to ensure they get tongues a-wagging throughout pre-season.
In doing so, they’ve forecast some striker comings and goings at Old Trafford that are sure to excite Manchester United fans.
The Daily Star reports Aston Villa goal machine Christian Benteke will be the subject of a Red Devils raid on Villa Park, with Louis van Gaal set to give the go-ahead on a £25m bid for the Belgian battering ram.
It’s easy to understand Man Utd’s interest in the 24-year-old, with his winner at Tottenham last week taking his Premier League tally to ten for the campaign.
Having missed a large portion of it as part of his rehabilitation from a serious Achilles injury and spending his first few months back in the team under the instruction of Paul Lambert, who was hugely inept in concocting a formula to get his charges scoring goals, this is a particularly impressive feat.
It means Benteke has now hit double figures every season he has been in English football and can be backed at an enormous 8/1 to augment this tally by breaking the deadlock when Villa tackle Liverpool in the second FA Cup semi-final, a feat which, if realised, will endear him to United supporters before any prospective transfer is completed.
In terms of outgoings, it is reported that teen star James Wilson is a loan target for Newcastle.
The Magpies are expected to spend plenty of money this summer and bolstering their attacking ranks is believed to be a top priority.
Wilson joins QPR’s Charlie Austin, West Brom’s Saido Berahino and Burnley star Danny Ings at the summit of their value-for-money English striker shortlist.
In other lines concerning inter-Premier League activity, Tottenham will dangle the Aaron Lennon carrot in front of Everton in an attempt to land long-term target Kevin Mirallas in a move that would certainly suit the north Londoners, if not leaving Roberto Martinez’s men a little short-changed.
Elsewhere, it appears the Mail on Sunday are intent on straining relations between Liverpool and fans and Raheem Sterling to breaking point, insinuating in what appears an especially spuriously-spun yarn that the England youngster will buy out the final year of his Liverpool contract in order to push through a move to Manchester City or Chelsea.