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Manchester United could pursue a “Lautaro Martinez style striker” if Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland proves unattainable this summer, it has been claimed. The Red Devils want to sign a new striker and a top-level centre-back in the next window.
As they look to catch up to Manchester City and win a first Premier League title since 2013, United are keen to find a dependable centre-back partner for Harry Maguire and a long-term replacement for Edinson Cavani.
Cavani has impressed at Old Trafford since joining on a free from Paris Saint-Germain with United functioning better as an attacking unit when the veteran Uruguayan leads the line.
But with Cavani able to sign a one-year contract extension to stay at United into next season, David Ornstein of The Athletic says that it is possible Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ed Woodward could pursue a different profile of forward.
Inter Milan’s Martinez is name-checked – although he is not necessarily the target in question – with the pacey Argentine a much different player to Dortmund’s Haaland.
Ornstein said on the Ask Ornstein show: “Chelsea are going to push hard for Haaland, that adds to the competition and there’s probably going to be other clubs as well. Ultimately we don’t know for sure that Dortmund will do business for him this summer.
“If say Jadon Sancho was to leave they might decide they can keep hold of Haaland until the summer of 2022.
“A few contacts have mentioned to me that United might be slightly more interested in the Lautaro Martinez style striker, I’m not saying him specifically.
“Interestingly when we reported on City, I mentioned Romelu Lukaku, Haaland. It seems there’s an intrigue at City around going for something slightly different this summer to what they’ve had in the past and adding a different skill to their weaponry.
“Those suggestions would hint at a more quicker and mobile striker for United and perhaps that brings Anthony Martial’s future into focus a little bit.
“If Cavani’s still at the club maybe they’ve still got that more target man kind of figure.”
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Speaking about Haaland on Wednesday, Solskjaer confirmed that he remains in touch with his former Molde striker.
Since leaving his native Norway, the towering frontman has managed an incredible 72 goals and 17 assists in just 70 appearances for Red Bull Salzburg and Borussia Dortmund.
He is available for less than £70million in the summer of 2022 due to a release clause in his contract but United and Chelsea are among the clubs who could try to sign him this year.
And Solskjaer said: “When you have had kids and players through as a coach, you follow them and I keep in touch with Erling. It’s great to see him become the player he has become and I know he’ll work to improve all the time.
“He’s a Dortmund player and we just wish him well there and let’s see what life will bring later on.
“I think when you’re at Man United you work with some fantastic talents.
“Erling we signed with Molde and, of course, you try to help them. Our jobs as coaches and managers is to try to make them better players, better people. I feel privileged and lucky and I really enjoy working with people.
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“Dan, next to me here, is an example who wants to improve, hungry to learn, they’re the players you give extra attention to and the lads you talk about [Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford] there are part of it.
“You know I can’t speak about Erling, he’s with Borussia Dortmund, it’s disrespectful to talk about it apart from that I know him and I speak to him.
“Who wasn’t interested in him a year ago? Everyone would say you take the best players in the world. Erling is a top player.
“For me, with the recruitment, we’ve done well. Dan and Bruno show that the signings we’ve made since I came to the club have contributed and added to the squad and we have to complement what we have in our group with other types of players, and also young players.
“I’m happy with our recruitment model and the processes we go through.”
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