Manchester United are believed to be willing to sell Wayne Rooney if they can find a suitable replacement in time, so we’ve identified five players who could fill the striker’s boots at Old Trafford.
The former Barcelona and Inter Milan forward has been put up for sale at Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala – along with the rest of the squad – and United have already been credited with an approach for the 32-year-old.
The Cameroonian’s eye for goal showed little sign of diminishing last season, with 14 strikes in 35 appearances in all competitions for the Dagestan club, and his ability to play at either centre-forward or linking midfield with the attack as a number ten would make him a like-for-like replacement for the former Everton man.
David Moyes is thought to be a long-term admirer of Colombian international Muriel and the 22-year-old began to live up to his billing for Udinese last term, with 11 goals in 22 league matches.
Muriel, who can play up front or as an attacking midfielder, has the pace and dribbling ability to cause panic among defenders and United are ready to test the Serie A club’s resolve to keep him with an £18m bid.
Former United boss Sir Alex Ferguson was a huge fan of Real Madrid striker Benzema and was close to signing the burly Frenchman before his €35m move to Spain four years ago.
Arsenal have been linked with the player after losing out on Gonzalo Higuain, but a move to the champions may hold more appeal for the former Lyon man, who, despite starting more than 42 per cent of his appearances for Real on the bench, has fired home 56 league goals for Los Blancos in 125 games.
Ajax’s Danish midfielder has already snubbed big-spending Tottenham after stating a desire to stay in the Champions League, where he starred last season against the Red Devils’ local rivals Manchester City, helping himself to a goal in the Dutch club’s 3-1 home win.
If Rooney departs, United will need competition for Shinji Kagawa behind centre-forward Robin van Persie in the Old Trafford line-up and Eriksen could be available on the cheap, with only a year left on his contract and Ajax keen to cash in now instead of losing the player for nothing next summer.
Were Rooney to depart for a fee of around £40m then not only would United’s spending power be greatly increased, but they would also get the England striker’s hefty £250,000-per-week wages off the books, paving the way for a megastar signing such as former Old Trafford idol Ronaldo.
With Gareth Bale’s move to Real Madrid still very much on, Ronaldo’s future at the Bernabeu is far from assured and if David Moyes can put together a monster financial package for the Portuguese phenomenon then a return to the north west could be on the cards.