Ten Hag could finally replace Ronaldo in Man United swoop for “prolific” £77m machine

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Manchester United earned a spot in the group stages of the Champions League for the upcoming season by finishing third in the Premier League in 22/23.

Erik ten Hag, however, might not be satisfied with vying for a spot in Europe alone, and he might look to bolster his team in an effort to contend for the championship.

According to a recent report by Football Insider, the team wants to bolster their roster with a “marquee” number nine. Given that they had the eighth-highest goal total in their division in 2022–23, this makes sense.

The fact that only Marcus Rashford, who played on the wings or in the middle, reached double digits in goals (17), suggests that Manchester United struggled to find a replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo, who left Old Trafford in November of last year.

The Portuguese legend scored 18 league goals in 21/22 games, making him the team’s top scorer. However, Hag is currently lacking a productive number nine who can reliably score alongside Rashford in the final third.

At Manchester United, who might succeed Cristiano Ronaldo?
By concluding a deal to sign Dusan Vlahovic from Juventus this summer, United’s head coach might finally find the ideal successor to Ronaldo’s throne at the number nine position.

After joining the Italian team for £66 million from local rivals Fiorentina, he is reportedly a transfer target for the Premier League’s biggest clubs and is reportedly available for a fee in the neighbourhood of €90 million (£77 million).

The 2022–23 season was a challenging one for the 23-year-old goal scorer, who managed just ten goals in 27 Serie A appearances for the Serbian national team. Nevertheless, the dynamic forward managed to slightly outperform his xG of 9.73.

Vlahovic did not meet the expectations he had set for himself in the previous two seasons, even though his return was still higher than what any other United player produced last season outside of Rashford.

24 goals were scored by the former Fiorentina star in 36 league games in 2021–2022, following an equally impressive 21 goals in 37 Serie A games the season before.

Given that no Manchester United player has scored more than 18 league goals in a season since Robin van Persie netted 26 goals in 2012–13, these returns are especially impressive.

Despite a drop in form over the past year, Vlahovic has the potential to be a goalscoring machine for the Red Devils, much like Ronaldo was prior to moving to Saudi Arabia. Scout Jacek Kulig once praised Vlahovic as “incredibly prolific.”

The returns from two of the last three seasons suggest that Vlahovic would be exactly what manager Ten Hag is looking for. Ten Hag is obviously in the market for a marquee no. 9.

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