The Centre Forward Stop-Gap Market

Sparky Rhiwabon

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With the mainstream centre forward market thread more about longer term solutions - who probably won’t be attainable in January - this is about who can we get for a quick fix until the end of the season, with Ronaldo no longer playable (or gone) and Martial made of papier mache

Realistically, we’re looking at something like either a loan, a cheaper transfer on a shortish term contract, or someone lower profile that we can take a punt on, whilst using relatively little funds.

Who can we get?
 
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Klean

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Just Move Rashford & Martial to CF for the rest of the season. Bring in Gakpo to compete with Garnacho, Sancho, and Antony on the wings.
 

Sparky Rhiwabon

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Just Move Rashford & Martial to CF for the rest of the season. Bring in Gakpo to compete with Garnacho, Sancho, and Antony on the wings.
Rashford is not great at CF, but yeah that could work if we can get Gakpo
 

MadMike

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Started 7 games this year as CF and scored 3. Most goals on the team with 4 this season.. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Small sample this. We have seen longer samples from Rashford as CF. He doesn’t have the hold-up play, back-to-goal play or decision making that Martial has. He can play there but he’s sub-optimal.

That said he can be fine till the end of the year if we can’t sign any targets now. The emergence of Garnacho means Sancho will have a competition and someone who can rest him on the LW (if Rashford moves centrally)

I’d rather we go like this then buy a stop-gap striker now or overpay for a mediocre one. If however a striker we want is available for reasonable price, sure.
 

Klean

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Small sample this. We have seen longer samples from Rashford as CF. He doesn’t have the hold-up play, back-to-goal play or decision making that Martial has. He can play there but he’s sub-optimal.

That said he can be fine till the end of the year if we can’t sign any targets now. The emergence of Garnacho means Sancho will have a competition and someone who can rest him on the LW (if Rashford moves centrally)

I’d rather we go like this than buy a stop-gap striker now or overpay for a mediocre one. If however a striker we want is available for reasonable price, sure.
Agreed Mike. I don't want to see the club pursue a stopgap signing. As I said in the other thread, I would go for Osimhen this summer; but I think there will be more realistic options available.

Rashford will be fine as CF for the rest of the season and potentially beyond. I'd argue that Ten Haag is the first coach that actually is developing a system and pattern of play since LvG (in which he scored 8 in 18, a similar pace to what he is on now). I don't disagree it's a small sample, but I think that many of our players have a higher ceiling now with Ten Haag at the helm.
 

mu4c_20le

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With the mainstream centre forward market thread more about longer term solutions - who probably won’t be attainable in January - this is about who can we get for a quick fix until the end of the season, with Ronaldo no longer playable (or gone) and Martial made of papier mache

Realistically, we’re looking at something like either a loan, a cheaper transfer on a shortish term contract, or someone lower profile that we can take a punt on, whilst using relatively little funds.

Who can we get?
Not someone good, thats for sure. The question is whether to wait until next summer for more and probably better targets, as well as prices, or go for another stop gap solution like we have countless times before to mixed results.
 

croadyman

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Not someone good, thats for sure. The question is whether to wait until next summer for more and probably better targets, as well as prices, or go for another stop gap solution like we have countless times before to mixed results.
Ideally I want us to wait for better targets,however when I look at our poor goal output just don't think we can afford to wait right now
 

Messier1994

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With the mainstream centre forward market thread more about longer term solutions - who probably won’t be attainable in January - this is about who can we get for a quick fix until the end of the season, with Ronaldo no longer playable (or gone) and Martial made of papier mache

Realistically, we’re looking at something like either a loan, a cheaper transfer on a shortish term contract, or someone lower profile that we can take a punt on, whilst using relatively little funds.

Who can we get?
Great thread, been searching for info on this topic for a while.
 

Messier1994

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Memphis Depay is one obvious candidate as someone who is available and can play as the No 9. Perfect fit? Not even remotely. But still a good player.

One guy I actually think would be a really good fit is Joshua King. His pressing is second to none. He isn’t a bad player, has rounded out his game really well over the years. Very loyal team player.

Could he be had from Fernerbaché? I think so. He haven’t played a ton for them this season. If we come knocking, I think they let him go to pursue his dream.

With that said — is he fit?
 

Elcabron

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Started 7 games this year as CF and scored 3. Most goals on the team with 4 this season.. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
It's the amount of chances he has missed in that position which is the concern. Spurs and Newcastle being cases in point.
 

Borussia Teeth

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I agree with the posters saying that we should just stick with Rashford and Martial until the summer. We've lacked goals this season but we've lacked goals a lot more in the games that Ronaldo has played. I think we'll be far more fluid and score far more without him. Garnacho gives us an extra winger anyway, to relieve Rashford of those duties.

I actually think midfield is a much larger priority.
 

Elcabron

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Memphis Depay is one obvious candidate as someone who is available and can play as the No 9. Perfect fit? Not even remotely. But still a good player.

One guy I actually think would be a really good fit is Joshua King. His pressing is second to none. He isn’t a bad player, has rounded out his game really well over the years. Very loyal team player.

Could he be had from Fernerbaché? I think so. He haven’t played a ton for them this season. If we come knocking, I think they let him go to pursue his dream.

With that said — is he fit?
Depay is the best attainable immediate option. He scored 12 goals in Hollands WC qualifying campaign and will be interesting to see how he performs in WC.

As an added bonus can act as a translator for ETH when Schteve Yesh is unavailable.
 

EtH

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Kane.
 

Messier1994

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I agree with the posters saying that we should just stick with Rashford and Martial until the summer. We've lacked goals this season but we've lacked goals a lot more in the games that Ronaldo has played. I think we'll be far more fluid and score far more without him. Garnacho gives us an extra winger anyway, to relieve Rashford of those duties.

I actually think midfield is a much larger priority.
Even if Marty and Rash are our 1/2 options at striker — we must still bring in another striker, for sure.

We got 3 games a week for 5 months. Can we trust Martial to be healthy for 5 months? Nah, that is just way to risky from my POV. Could easily see Martial play a few weeks into January and then be out until like June.

Elanga isn’t a horrible option at striker. But should only be seen as an emergency option. I am definitely in favor of just bringing in a warm body on loan or whatever to get depth.
 

Drizzle

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If we stick with Martial and Rashford as strikers then kiss goodbye to top 4 and trophy chances. Martial will be unfit half the time, and Rashford is a striker who only works against some types of defence.

My only hesitation with this opinion is that Rashford may be showing signs that he's being developed into a more well rounded striker - two headed goals and a strong 6 yard finish, not his usual bag. But it's a very small sample size and not something I'd want to bet the entire season on.

Anyway, 2 strikers isn't enough. So my suggestion is Thuram - strong, mobile, doing well in the Bundesliga and would only cost £10m in January. Then go and get Kane or Osimhen in the summer.

No to Gakpo. Would be classic United to buy yet another LW and hope he'll somehow transition into a striker, based on zero evidence.
 
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NoPace

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Hard to see past Memphis. Good club record since he left us (just under 1 in 2 for Lyon then Barca), he never plays for them, Barca need money, and Whoscored has him rated miles ahead of any other player in all of Europe for his play in World Cup Qualifying.

He fits Ten Hag's system okay as a 9 and he's even lived here before. 5 years is an eternity in football so him being a bust here as a 22/23 year old left winger isn't a big problem.

Thuram is the other obvious one but his team are 5 points out of a Champions League spot so we'd probably have to give them 10M or so to get him 6 months early. Not sure I see it really.
 

sullydnl

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If we stick with Martial and Rashford as strikers then kiss goodbye to top 4 and trophy chances. Martial will be unfit half the time, and Rashford is a striker who only works against some types of defence.

My only hesitation with this opinion is that Rashford may be showing signs that he's being developed into a more well rounded striker - two headed goals and a strong 6 yard finish, not his usual bag. But it's a very small sample size and not something I'd want to bet the entire season on.

Anyway, 2 strikers isn't enough. So my suggestion is Thuram - strong, mobile, doing well in the Bundesliga and would only cost £10m in January. Then go and get Kane or Osimhen in the summer.

No to Gakpo. Would be classic United to buy yet another RW and hope he'll somehow transition into a striker, based on zero evidence.
He's a LW isn't he? If he was a RW that would be way more attractive as it would give us better options on the weaker of our two flanks.
 

Drizzle

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He's a LW isn't he? If he was a RW that would be way more attractive as it would give us better options on the weaker of our two flanks.
Sorry yes, only had one coffee this morning so far!
 

Amar__

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We don't need anoher stp gap striker, we've tried that for the last year with 5-6 different players and it never worked.
 

RedCoffee

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Mitrovic from Fulham would be a good buy to cover this season and next.
 

sullydnl

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Mitrovic from Fulham would be a good buy to cover this season and next.
Fulham aren't going to sell Mitrovic for anything less than an absolute fortune mid-season. Way beyond what any sane club should be willing to pay. They're still only six points away from relegation places with over half the season to go, selling the centrepiece of their attack could relegate them.
 

kettledrumhamster

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Would it be out of the question to just promote a youth player for the rest of the season? Martial first choice for number 9, backed up by Rashford and then McNeill/Hugill/someone else?

Not really sure when it became standard practice to ship in a passed-it old boy for six months rather than trying out a youngster. Rashford himself got his big break that way. LvG had no problem trying youngsters, sometimes it worked out, and sometimes it didn't, but at least you're not risking wasting a chunk of cash. In fact, you're probably increasing the value of an asset. Let's say McNeill started 5, subbed on 10, but scored 0 - he'd still probably be worth more when we inevitably sell him than if we just dwindle his contract in youth teams or sell him to Birmingham for 2 million in a couple of years.



Might not be a guarantee of goals, but neither is a mid-level, mid-30s journeyman from a mid-tier foreign team. The risk is worth the reward I reckon.
 

MUFC OK

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What will this be, our 6th stop gap?

How did the others go, or our stop-gap manager for that matter. We're supposed to be a huge club and have huge financial resources - identify the player we want for the long term and pay what it takes to get him. I'd like Sesko; kind of glad the Toney news came out this week.
 

MadMike

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Fulham aren't going to sell Mitrovic for anything less than an absolute fortune mid-season. Way beyond what any sane club should be willing to pay. They're still only six points away from relegation places with over half the season to go, selling the centrepiece of their attack could would relegate them.
Fixed and he has a contract till 2026. Expect a £100m demand, unironically.
 

LawCharltonBest

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We still haven't replaced Lukaku.

Ighalo we were told was a stop gap to give time to sign a long-term striker, then Cavani came in to extend the stop gap a couple of seasons, then Ronaldo to extend it a little more..

Whoever it ends up being better be good with all the years they've had to ID them
 

sullydnl

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Tbf, I have less of a problem with a January stop gap signing where the point is just to tide you over to the summer when specific long-term options are available and to maybe be a squad option beyond that.

The problem with some of the previous stop-gaps (I'm including the likes of Ronaldo and Cavani here) is that they were aging players brought in to tide us over for a season or two until some undetermined player was available. At which point it just seems better to bite the bullet and make a proper signing.
 

Elcabron

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If we stick with Martial and Rashford as strikers then kiss goodbye to top 4 and trophy chances. Martial will be unfit half the time, and Rashford is a striker who only works against some types of defence.

My only hesitation with this opinion is that Rashford may be showing signs that he's being developed into a more well rounded striker - two headed goals and a strong 6 yard finish, not his usual bag. But it's a very small sample size and not something I'd want to bet the entire season on.

Anyway, 2 strikers isn't enough. So my suggestion is Thuram - strong, mobile, doing well in the Bundesliga and would only cost £10m in January. Then go and get Kane or Osimhen in the summer.

No to Gakpo. Would be classic United to buy yet another LW and hope he'll somehow transition into a striker, based on zero evidence.
Agreed, if we dont get some body in in January then our goal difference won't be a whole lot different to what it is now come June and we will really struggle with top four. Relying on Martial and Rashford has us with a goal difference of zero.

Getting a striker in January is therefore essential as we cannot afford to miss out on CL again. I've no idea what Thuram is like but he should be considered if he is attainable and 10m if peanuts in the context of qualifying for CL.
 

vulmik

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Danny Ings seems to be out of favour at Villa doesn't he?
Liverpool spell aside, a very handy player imo.
 

Elcabron

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What will this be, our 6th stop gap?

How did the others go, or our stop-gap manager for that matter. We're supposed to be a huge club and have huge financial resources - identify the player we want for the long term and pay what it takes to get him. I'd like Sesko; kind of glad the Toney news came out this week.
Not sure why you think we have huge financial resources. We are 600m in debt with rapidly rising interest rates and global economic meltdown in it's early stages. I'd be very surprised if we see another summer spend like the one we have just had for a long time.
 

MadMike

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If we stick with Martial and Rashford as strikers then kiss goodbye to top 4 and trophy chances. Martial will be unfit half the time, and Rashford is a striker who only works against some types of defence.

My only hesitation with this opinion is that Rashford may be showing signs that he's being developed into a more well rounded striker - two headed goals and a strong 6 yard finish, not his usual bag. But it's a very small sample size and not something I'd want to bet the entire season on.

Anyway, 2 strikers isn't enough. So my suggestion is Thuram - strong, mobile, doing well in the Bundesliga and would only cost £10m in January. Then go and get Kane or Osimhen in the summer.

No to Gakpo. Would be classic United to buy yet another LW and hope he'll somehow transition into a striker, based on zero evidence.
2 strikers seems to be enough for Arsenal (Jesus, Nketiah), Man City (Haaland, Alvarez), Chelsea (Aubameyang Broja), Tottenham (Kane, Richarlison).

Too much is being made out of Martial's injuries. He's been out for couple of months already which is his customary for a season, but he's never been absent for 2/3s or 3/4s of a season. He's not that injury prone, he's highly likely to be mostly fine next year.

There's no guarantee that any striker coming in will hit the ground running and be able to contribute right away. Especially if he's coming from another league. If we really need one more body up front, there's also Elanga as an absolute last resort. And then Pellistri can be the RW cover for Antony.

We're a bit short of quality, but not numbers. And you can't easily bring quality in in January.
 

Erik the Red

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We still haven't replaced Lukaku.

Ighalo we were told was a stop gap to give time to sign a long-term striker, then Cavani came in to extend the stop gap a couple of seasons, then Ronaldo to extend it a little more..

Whoever it ends up being better be good with all the years they've had to ID them
Mbappe??????!!!!!!!

Imagine our incompetent board have been hiring stop gap strikers for the past 4 seasons whilst they have been working on a deal to bring in Mbappe on a 10 year contract this coming January, with Ronaldo going in the other direction.....
 

Messier1994

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Mentioned Suarez a while back. I mean, football wise; it’s hard to find a better stop gap alternative. But…
 

Messier1994

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What will this be, our 6th stop gap?

How did the others go, or our stop-gap manager for that matter. We're supposed to be a huge club and have huge financial resources - identify the player we want for the long term and pay what it takes to get him. I'd like Sesko; kind of glad the Toney news came out this week.
At the same time, comparing Sancho and Harry with say Igalo and Cavani — it is ‘different kind of bad’.

Also, I think a ‘stop gap’ under ETH has a much better chance of succeeding than under say Ole, because our game plan is much more functional. Look at Eriksen for example. We have a position for him and he fits the bill really well. He is of course not available, but I am sure Oliver Giroux would be able to put in the work and be a net positive under ETH.
 
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