Who Could Replace Roo?
With news that Wayne Rooney will likely be moving on to pastures new, there has been considerable pages dedicated to pondering the why’s and where’s of his move. What is arguably more interesting to the forward-thinking United fan is who will replace the England striker? Who are the men Fergie could look to as replacements?
Written by Thom Watt.
With news that Wayne Rooney will likely be moving on to pastures new, there has been considerable pages dedicated to pondering the why’s and where’s of his move. What is arguably more interesting to the forward-thinking Manchester United fan is who will replace the England striker? Who are the men Fergie could look to as replacements?
Karim Benzema– Fergie has long been an admirer of the French international, and his direct, powerful style could well complement the existing system at Old Trafford. Still only 22, Benzema was a star at Lyon, winning four league titles in five years and finishing top scorer in 07/08. In and out of the side at Real Madrid, it remains to be seen if Jose Mourinho can get the best out of the striker. Should Rooney move to the Bernabeu, a swap deal involving Benzema has been suggested. However, Real are likely to make a 2011 move for Fernando Llorente of Athletico Bilbao, and Benzema could be surplus to requirements anyway.
David Villa – Although Villa has only just arrived at Barcelona, he is already under pressure. A stuttering league start and injury to Lionel Messi have not helped Villa settle at the Nou Camp, but he likely to be given time to find his feet. This could change if Barca were to take an interest in Manchester United’s wantaway striker, as the summer’s ruthless sale of Zlatan Ibrahimovic showed. Barca’s precarious finances could also play a part if they are to avoid falling foul of UEFA’s new fair play laws.
Edin Dzenko – Over the past two seasons, Dzenko has been repeatedly linked to the biggest clubs in Europe. Since forming a formidable partnership with Grafite, the Bosnian striker has a record better than a goal every other game, and helped Wolfsburg to their first ever Bundesliga title in 2008/09. After finishing last season as the top scorer in the division, Dzenko has picked up where he left off under Steve McClaren and has five goals in eight league games already this season, likely to be his last at the club. Dominant in the air, pacy and powerful, Dzenko ticks all the boxes for a Rooney replacement.
Fernando Torres – A few weeks ago the prospect of United moving for the talismanic Liverpool striker would seem unthinkable, but with Hodgson’s side looking aimless and Torres looking a shadow of his former self, Hodgson and the new owners may decide to cash in on their prize asset. At his best, there are few strikers in the world as dangerous as the Spaniard, particularly as a lone striker. A move for the former Atletico man would be something of a gamble, and would not come cheaply, but it would be a significant psychological victory over their rivals, particularly if Rooney stays in England. More prohibitive may be the fact that no player has directly moved between the clubs since 1964…
Sergio Aguero – Although a very different sort of player to the more direct and combative Rooney, Aguero has been one of the most consistent performers in La Liga for several seasons, hitting double figures in each of the last three. Still only 22, the young forward has guile and craft and could provide the invention for a more powerful strike partner. Whether the diminutive Argentine would be able to adapt to the more physical nature of the English game remains to be seen, but with reported interest from Chelsea his services would not come cheaply.
Nilmar – After a disappointing early spell in Europe with Lyon, Nilmar returned to Brazil and spent four highly successful years at Internacional and Corinthians, form which secured his place as a regular in the Brazilian squad. Since returning to Europe, this time with Villareal, Nilmar has looked considerably more mature and finished last season with eleven La Liga goals. This season he has been even more impressive, scoring five already and linking up with former United man, Giuseppe Rossi. His dribbling ability and speed would make him an attractive proposition to Sir Alex Ferguson, particularly if he continues to show such prolific form in front of goal.
Luis Fabiano – Another of whom Ferguson has expressed an interest in, the Brazilian star is about as complete a goal scorer as you could hope for. While not as hard working as Rooney, Fabiano offers a guarantee of goals in and around the box, as his record of a goal every other game for club and country shows. Equally as confrontational as Rooney, Fabiano has shown an interest in continuing his career in England should the option come up. The major drawback to his signing would be his age – at almost 30 years old there would be little chance of United parting with large sums of money to secure his signature from Sevilla.
Luis Suarez – One of the biggest stories from this summer’s transfer window was the move that didn’t happen. Luis Suarez was being courted by several of Europe’s biggest clubs after a record breaking season in which he scored forty nine times in forty eight games. There remained doubts, as managers knew that for every Ruud Van Nistelrooy there were several Alfonso Alves’s. The World Cup would further showcase his talents, as he finished the tournament with three goals (and no small amount of controversy). Eleven goals in his first fourteen games this season have only further underlined his talents, and with Ajax likely to do reluctant business next summer, he remains a calculated risk should Ferguson opt for a more orthadox striker as a replacement.
Darren Bent – A more leftfield and pragmatic solution, but one worthy of inclusion is that of Sunderland’s Darren Bent. Bent is amongst the most prolific strikers in England (regardless of nationality) and has been consistently providing goals for his employers, scoring over fifteen goals in all but one of the last eight seasons. After a frustrating, but deceptively fruitful, spell at Tottenham, Bent has become one of the deadliest strikers in the division at the Stadium of Light. Last season’s twenty four league goals (half of his side’s total) were only bettered by Drogba and Rooney and at the age of 26 he is approaching the peak of his powers. While his signing would not be especially glamourous (nor particularly cheap), he would be a considerably more economical option than some.
Who would you like United to move for? Do they need to sign a replacement, or can their frontline cope without him? Perhaps they need to strengthen elsewhere? Let us know with your comments.
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