Manchester United should target Jose Mourinho's protege ahead of summer transfer window
In the final instalment of the transfer breakdown will have a look at which striker Manchester United should target in the summer. So far in this series, we have looked at the goalkeeper position alongside the right-back and centre-back position in defence.
This series has also looked at two players in central midfield, including a defensive midfielder and a Paul Pogba replacement and also a right-winger. But the striker is such an interesting position as the type of player depends on who United appoint as manager.
With MEN Sport understanding that Erik ten Hag is United preferred managerial target, we will address the position with that in mind. So as always let's look at the situation, the profile of player United should target and who that player should be.
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With Edinson Cavani out of contract and the future of Cristiano Ronaldo up in the air amidst the chance that United will be unable to qualify for the Champions League, they need a replacement. United have already stated a preference to sign a young striker looking forward to the project that lies ahead of them.
In terms of the player United need to sign, they should look for a player that is reflective of Cavani's profile rather than that of Ronaldo's. The Uruguayan's fitness has been a major problem for the club this season but if he had been available it would be likely that Ralf Rangnick would have played him more.
The striker that should be targetted must be able to drop deep and link up the play with the rest of his team and offer another passing option to fit into Ten Hag's style of play. Then he must have the attacking intelligence to then make his way into the box and find space for the wingers to play the ball into him.
He then must be able to finish the chances presented to him, which regardless of everything else is one of the most important traits for a striker. Aerial ability would also be a tick in the positive column.
Ironically, the answer may lie with former United manager Jose Mourinho and his current striking protege Tammy Abraham. AS Roma are 7th in the table currently so if they fail to get European football it could open the door for United to swoop in.
Mourinho has taken the reliable finisher that was Abraham at Chelsea and moulded him into a complete forward who drops deep and provides a passing option, who can also lay off balls to Lorenzo Pellegrini who acts as a secondary striker. He averages 2.08 progressive passes which is above average but still shows room for improvement, but it also shows how he's growing as a player.
In terms of him in front of goal, he averages around three shots per 90 minutes played with an xG without penalties of around 0.59, which puts him in the highest bracket of forwards. This has converted into 13 goals in the Serie A and six goals in the UEFA Conference League.
An added bonus to Abraham is how he defends from the front, which likely reflects ideals that Mourinho has instilled in him. He averages 1.29 tackles, 0.45 interceptions and 1.1 blocks per 90 minutes played and he is also combative in the air winning 2.54 aerials.
Abraham would likely cost a decent amount given the fact that Roma signed him last summer for around £34m and Chelsea reportedly have a buy-back clause. If United want a striker for the future then they could do a lot worse than investing in the English striker.
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