Manchester United are always at the forefront of the avalanche of rumours that fly across the rumour mill, with the looming winter market no different…
One of the most prominent stories to arise from the recently concluded 2022 World Cup in Qatar was the prospective transfer to Old Trafford of Cody Gakpo, with United boss Erik ten Hag seeming to edge closer to completing a deal for the Netherlands ace.
Revelations recently stemmed from Liverpool to shatter the Red Devils’ transfer plans, with PSV following reports to state that the club had reached an agreement with Jurgen Klopp‘s Reds for the transfer of the rising star.
While the failure to secure Gakpo’s signature after weeks of speculation will sting, Old Trafford must now not wallow and bounce back to secure another high-profile attacking target to bolster the offence, following the incensed departure of Cristiano Ronaldo after the club and player agreed to terminate his contract by mutual consent.
Gakpo starred at the World Cup, alerting the footballing world to this presence and talismanic aura as he picked up three goals at the prestigious international tournament.
However, another of United’s reported transfer targets, Goncalo Ramos, matched such a tally after one appearance.
Indeed, as Portugal magnificently dispatched Switzerland 6-1 in the round of 16, Ramos – interestingly deputising for Ronaldo, who was benched for the tie – plundered a resounding hat-trick, while also serving an assist.
In that match, the “unreal” – in the words of Ives Galarcep – recorded an incredible rating of 9.8, complementing his four direct contributions with a robust display and winning four of his seven duels.
And his efforts for Portuguese outfit SL Benfica at club level will do little to deter Man United from their pursuit, with the 21-year-old’s tally of 15 goals and six assists from just 22 outings across all competitions this season being a stellar record for a player so inexperienced.
He could certainly adopt the role of offensive focal point left somewhat unattended by the now-departed Ronaldo, arguably bringing a more direct goal threat to the Theatre of Dreams than Gakpo – which is actually what the club needs at present.
With Ramos unleashing an average of 3.3 shots per match in Liga Portugal, as per Sofascore, hitting the target with 1.5 of his efforts, he would bring a persistent, peppering aura to terrorise the opposing defences.
And as per FBref, the five-cap gem ranks within the top 5% of forwards for non-penalty goals per 90, while also ranking in the top 7% for touches in the attacking penalty area, when compared across the next eight leagues.
The striker who reportedly boasts a €120m (£103m) release clause could finally stabilise the ship at the club and serve as the centrepiece for a return to ferocious offensive form that plagued the league with regularity.