As the football season draws to a close, rumours about summer transfers are starting to surface. Manchester United has been linked to several players as they strive to maintain the progress made under manager Erik ten Hag. We have invited John Barnes to discuss some of the club’s targets and likely signings with us.
Since Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure last year, Manchester United has been noticeably lacking in the striker department. With Anthony Martial’s persistent injuries throughout much of the season, ten Hag was forced to turn to the loan market, resulting in Wout Weghorst joining the Red Devils on loan until the end of the season. The Netherlands striker has scored two goals in 18 appearances for United. Despite his lack of goals, Weghorst has been heavily relied upon by ten Hag due to Martial’s unreliability.
United has been constantly linked to Tottenham striker Harry Kane, who recently broke Wayne Rooney’s all-time England goalscoring record. Kane has expressed concerns about his ability to win silverware while at Tottenham. It has been reported that Kane is still at the top of United’s wishlist.
Can Harry Kane solve Manchester United’s number nine woes?
“They both guarantee goals. Of course Harry Kane being used to the English league will hit the ground running because he’s played his whole career here and knows it well. Osimhen is of course younger and he’ll bring more longevity to the Manchester United team. They both are good players.”
“Because Kane is used to the Premier League, then of course that would be the situation. But he’s a Tottenham player and I don’t think he’ll leave Tottenham. So once again, you can talk about Messi or Ronaldo or whoever, joining Liverpool.”
“As far as I’m concerned, I don’t think he’s gonna leave Tottenham. So it’s fine saying what he’ll bring to Man Utd or to any club, is what he gives to Tottenham – guaranteed goals.”
Napoli marksmen Osimhen could be set for a move to Old Trafford
United have also been linked to Nigerian striker Victor Osimhen, whose goals for Napoli have all but secured them the Serie A title. Osimhen has scored 25 goals in all competitions this season and is only 24 years old. Osimhen could be a longer-term alternative to Kane, who is 29 years old.
“Osimhen is a very good striker but when you’re coming to England, it’s a completely different situation from Italy. It’ll be great if he could come and hit the ground running as Håland has done but we don’t really know.”
“As much as he’s playing well for Napoli, as to say he’s gonna come here and do as well, we don’t know.”
“But we know he’s a good goalscorer, he’s quick, he’s mobile, he’s strong. So yeah, I think he’lll be an asset to any team.”
Is Kaoru Mitoma destined for Old Trafford
Osimhen may not be the only new arrival to Old Trafford in the summer. United have also been linked to Brighton’s Japanese winger Kaoru Mitoma, who has taken the league by storm since his introduction to the Brighton side. Mitoma has already made a name for himself through his ability to break down and attack his opponents in 1 vs 1 situations. His speed, balance, and agility make him one of the most feared attackers in the league.
When Barnes was asked whether Mitoma has the quality to continue at this level and potentially make a move to a club like United, he warned that Mitoma is already playing for a high-level club. He also cautioned Mitoma that moving to a different club would not necessarily guarantee him success.
“He’s playing for a team in the top six in the country. I don’t know if there’s a higher level than that because he’s playing for a team that can qualify for Europe.”
“Playing at Man Utd isn’t a higher level than playing at Brighton.”
“What he needs to do, obviously, is find a team that plays football that suits him. Because he goes to a team that doesn’t suit him doesn’t mean he’s a bad player, it just means that the football doesn’t suit him. And that’s not a question of a higher or lower level.”
“He has to see the kind of player he is and the team that he wants to go to and do they play the type of football that maximises my potential. And if it doesn’t then he shouldn’t go regardless of the club.”
“If you look at Yves Bissouma, he’s not even in the Tottenham team. So it doesn’t matter how good you are, you have to go to a team that’s gonna suit the way you play.”
“In terms of the wide midfield position, Mitoma has good movement, scores goals, works hard, he’s creative. There’s lots of players like that.”
“But once again, having the right club to suit you is the most important thing.”