Manchester United target £100m summer raid for Harry Kane or Victor Osimhen

Napoli's rising star Victor Osimhen gives the thumbs up - Ciro de Luca/Reuters  

Erik ten Hag is facing a £100 million striker dilemma at Manchester United this summer as he weighs up whether to move for Tottenham's Harry Kane or Napoli's rising star Victor Osimhen.

Signing a top striker is United's priority and Ten Hag must decide whether to go for a Premier League proven shorter-term fix in Kane - and with it a virtual guarantee of goals - or take a calculated gamble on Osimhen developing into a world-beater for years to come.

Old Trafford sources have indicated that Osimhen better fits Ten Hag's profile of wanting a more mobile striker who offers pace, strength and pressing, as well as goals. Ten Hag has watched extensive footage of Osimhen since last summer and, while there are elements of the striker's game the Dutchman is unsure about and he has had injury problems, it has been noted that his improvement has continued to gather pace this season.

Osimhen has been central to Napoli's relentless pursuit of a first Serie A title for 33 years and scored twice in their 3-0 win over Spezia on Saturday, which took his tally to 16 in 17 league matches as they moved 13 points clear at the top.

Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis is a notoriously tough negotiator, though, and with Paris St-Germain and Chelsea also showing interest in Osimhen, the price for the Nigeria striker is likely to exceed £100m given the Italian club paid Lille a projected €80m for his services three years ago.

Neither deal would be straight forward, however. Daniel Levy, the Tottenham chairman, will demand £100m from any English club for Kane should he fail to persuade the England captain - due to enter the final 12 months of his contract this summer - to sign a new deal. Levy is unlikely to make any negotiation process easy and if forced to offload Kane, his strong preference would be to sell overseas.

Kane became Tottenham's all-time top scorer on Sunday when his goal in the 1-0 win over Manchester City made it 267 for the club and saw him surpass Jimmy Greaves' 53-year record.

The Spurs squad celebrates Harry Kane
The Spurs squad celebrates Harry Kane's goalscoring record - Tottenham Hotspur FC/Getty Images  

Spurs are still hoping to convince Kane to sign a new contract but their hopes may hinge on the club winning a trophy this term and qualifying for the Champions League.

Bayern Munich - who are still looking for a replacement for Lewandowski - have been linked with Kane and Levy may also hope other foreign suitors come to the table if the player makes clear he wants out.

Kane is desperate to win trophies first and foremost but having become Tottenham's record scorer, he also has his sights set on eclipsing Alan Shearer's record of 260 Premier League goals. He is currently on 200.

Ten Hag recognises Kane offers a unique skillset, creates as well as scores as a hybrid No 9 and No 10, knows the Premier League inside out, is a strong character accustomed to dealing with pressure and has never been dependent on pace.

United are also fully conscious of the impact Kane has had on Son Heung-min's game and vice-versa at Spurs and believe he could be a potent foil for Marcus Rashford, his England team-mate who is in the form of his life at Old Trafford.

Sources have likened the situation to the choice Sir Alex Ferguson faced as United manager in 2012 when he opted to sign Robin van Persie from Arsenal. Van Persie was 29 at the time, the same age as Kane now, while Ferguson was also keen on Robert Lewandowski. The Poland international was starting to make his name at Borussia Dortmund and was 24 - the same age as Osimhen.

Van Persie scored 26 goals en route to helping United to the title in his first season but Ferguson retired at the end of that campaign and the Dutchman's next two years under David Moyes and Louis van Gaal were less productive as the team faltered. Lewandowski, meanwhile, went on to establish himself as one of Europe's best centre-forwards with Bayern Munich and is still scoring frequently at 34 for Barcelona.

Ten Hag would be much more confident of getting more high-quality years out of Kane than United managed with Van Persie at the same time as enjoying immediate gains, but the club are debating whether £100m would be better invested in a younger striker with scope for real growth and resale value.

Cristiano Ronaldo's acrimonious exit in November left United in the market for a leading striker with Ten Hag finding he cannot rely on the perennially injured Anthony Martial - who will be missing again for Wednesday night's game at home to Leeds - and loan signing Wout Weghorst only a cheap stop-gap. United, whose owners the Glazers are looking to sell the club before the summer, are keeping their options open but Osimhen and Kane figure prominently in their thoughts.

Benjamin Sesko, the Slovenia striker who is due to join RB Leipzig from Red Bull Salzburg this summer, has been scouted but the 19-year-old is considered to be at a much earlier stage of his development and not ready for what United need as Ten Hag continues his rebuild.

The former Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham, now with Roma, is thought to have been mooted as one of several fall-back options.

Mason Greenwood's situation also presents a potential curveball. The United striker, 21, had all criminal charges dropped against him this month and the club are conducting an internal investigation before deciding their next move. Greenwood will not return to training or playing while that process takes place.


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