Manchester United‘s 2-2 draw against bitter rivals Leeds United exposed a notable concern for Erik ten Hag at present, with the lack of a quality number nine having been laid bare as a result of Wout Weghorst’s limp display.

The January arrival – who was described as “really poor” on the night by journalist Samuel Luckhurst – has featured heavily in recent weeks as a result of the continued injury woes of fellow centre-forward Anthony Martial, with the long-serving Frenchman simply unable to stay fit for a consistent period.

While that may be through no fault of his own, it is growing rather tedious that the 27-year-old is frequently absent from the matchday squad, having now made just 14 appearances in all competitions this season, with only nine of those coming from the start.

Although Ten Hag only recently admitted that his team play their “best football” with the former Monaco gen on the field, the lingering frustration is that the £250k-per-week dud is simply too often unavailable for selection.

Even when the 30-cap marksman he has featured, he has still underwhelmed somewhat, with the “lazy” forwards – as described by journalist Josh Bunting – having scored just eight goals in the Premier League since the start of the 2020/21 campaign (less than half of what he managed in 2019/20 alone).

As The Athletic’s Carl Anka pointed out, it is now more than two years since the struggling hotshot last completed 90 minutes in the top flight, with a club harbouring ambitions of returning to trophy-winning standards in need of a far more reliable goalscoring presence.

The Old Trafford outfit could well find their ideal candidate to fill that role in the form of Napoli sensation Victor Osimhen, with The Telegraph‘s James Ducker reporting that Ten Hag is “weighing up” a possible move for either the Nigerian ace or Tottenham Hotspur talisman Harry Kane.

Should the Dutchman opt to snap up the former Lille predator this summer, he would be securing the services of a player who is in simply sensational form at present, with the 24-year-old having scored 16 goals in just 17 Serie A games this season.

The 6 foot 1 speedster was described by journalist Gianni Visnadi as a “crazy” talent and a “jewel” who has the ability to do “things that others don’t even think about”, having only recently produced a moment of “Pele style” magic – according to Napoli and Brazil legend Antonio Careca – to score in the win over Roma at the Stadio Olimpico.

The “brilliant madman“, as described by Visnadi, has been integral to helping to steer Luciano Spalletti’s side to the top of the table, hence the lack of surprise that he could command a fee of at least £100m come the end of the season.

That price tag has been warranted by the prolific form that Osimhen has showcased throughout his career so far, having scored 83 goals in 173 games across spells in Italy, France, Belgium and Germany, with only his brief stint at Wolfsburg – in which he failed to score – proving something of a letdown.

By contrast Martial has racked up 369 club career appearances to date and boasts a tally of 101 goals in that time, having only reached double figures for league goals during his time in England on three occasions. Osimhen has now done that for five seasons running.

Amid reports from Manchester Evening News that the injury-prone Frenchman could be moved on by Ten Hag ahead of next season after almost eight years at the club, his exit could well be hastened if United can get a deal for Osimhen wrapped up.


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