Manchester United have all the money and all the ambition to snare the goal scorer that will fire them back into trophy contention next season – but what players are available for the Old Trafford giants to target?
United’s decision to allow Radamel Falcao to return to Monaco following his unsuccessful loan spell at Old Trafford was no surprise, while there are also suggestions that Robin van Persie could be heading for the United exit door in the coming weeks.
Soon-to-be United record scorer Wayne Rooney and youngster James Wilson are options Van Gaal has at his disposal, but it is clear that he will need more firepower if he is to close the gap between his team and their domestic and European rivals.
Here is your guide to the players Van Gaal could target this summer, with their heft price tags bolstered by the lack of quality forward players available to sign this summer.
Current club: Bayern Munich
Would United have any chance of luring German attacking master Muller away from Bayern Munich? It seems highly unlikely, but what a signing he could be.
Muller enjoyed a fine working relationship with United boss Louis van Gaal when he was in charge of Bayern and his classy attacking play would add so much to any Premier League side.
VERDICT: Bayern seem highly unlikely to let Muller leave this summer.
Current club: Real Madrid
Benzema’s current Real Madrid contract runs until the summer of 2019, but there are suggestions that he could be ushered out to the club as a new manager looks to shake up a team that failed to win any trophies under Carlo Ancelotti this season.
A proven performer at the highest level for club and country, Benzema would add a spark to the United forward line and yet his critics would argue he misses a few too many chances to be hailed as a genuinely world class marksman.
Verdict: Expensive and not a certainty to score 20 goals a season in a competitive Premier League.
Current club: Paris Saint-Germain
PSG say they are not interested in selling Cavani, but his agent is keen to promote the idea that this Uruguayan striker is on the market with his occasionally well-time contributions to the media.
Many observers have suggested that Cavani is past his best, with the 28-year-old losing some of the spark that made him a striking sensation during his time at Napoli.
VERDICT: His vast wages and huge price tag means he may not be the best option for United this summer.
Current club: Aston Villa
Benteke looks certain to play his final game for Villa in this weekend’s FA Cup final, with Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham all believed to be in the mix to sign the powerhouse Belgian forward.
Yet United’s entry into the race for his signature would change the dynamic of this transfer story and at the age of 24, this hugely promising talent would add a finishing touch to Van Gaal’s side that often deployed more direct tactics in the second half of the Premier League season.
VERDICT: Benteke could be a fine long-term acquisition for United.
Current club: Tottenham
Kane was barely on the radar of Tottenham’s first team at the start of this season, but his 31 goals in the season that finished last weekend have put this 21-year-old on the map in the grand manner.
Would United spend up to £45m to sign a player who has just one season of proven success in the Premier League? It seems unlikely, but their lack of options means Kane could be on Van Gaal’s hit list in the coming months.
VERDICT: It is too soon for Kane to make a move from Tottenham and United would be wise to hold fire before bidding for the England striker.
Current club: Real Madrid
Bale is not technically a striker, but his attacking mastery means he can be played in a central attacking role and he proved he could succeed in that position during his time at Tottenham.
United have made no secret of the fact they would like to sign Bale this summer – especially with the prospect of Angel di Maria leaving Old Trafford - but there is no guarantee that Real Madrid would be willing sellers.
VERDICT: If United could get Bale, he could be a sensational signing.
Current club: Lyon
Arsenal and Liverpool are believed to be in the race to sign a striker who scored 27 goals in the French league this season, but United would be wise to consider a move for this rising star of the European game.
At home on either flank or in his preferred central striking role, Lacazette has confirmed he is interested in playing Premier League football and this could be the summer when his dream becomes reality.
VERDICT: Something of an unknown quantity to the Premier League audience, but Lacazette looks to have all the raw materials to shine in English soccer.