Having bid for half of La Liga during the January window and ended up with no one, it will be interesting to see which striker we go for in the summer.
With potential targets such as Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez now off the market, here’s some forwards that Harry could be targeting at the end of the season.
10. Connor Wickham – Ipswich
We’ve long been linked with a move for Wickham and though it’s unlikely that we’d sign someone so young with the intention of making him our main striker, we could be in the market for more than one striker if Keane, Pavlyuchenko, or even Crouch/Defoe are sold.
We like to sign young English players and now that Carroll is at Liverpool, Wickham is the brightest striking talent that fits this criteria. The Ipswich youngster has yet to prove himself as a regular scorer, but he is still only 17 and his recent solo goal against Cardiff suggests that he can become far more than just a big target man
Verdict: Not our number one target, but could come into the squad if others are moved on.
9. Giuseppe Rossi – Villarreal
We apparently bid £35m for Rossi on transfer deadline day, which was turned down by Villarreal. You might think that this would be the end of the deal, as we surely wouldn’t make a higher offer, but it’s possible that the Spanish club could be more open to doing business in the summer.
They are currently third in La Liga and honing in on a Champions League place, so you can’t blame them for not wanting to sell their top scorer with very little time to replace him. Since making his debut for Manchester United, Rossi has gradually become more prolific in front of goal and this season has an impressive 20 goals in 33 games.
For me though, he’s not the answer. He tends to play in a front two for Villarreal and at 5ft 8″ doesn’t seem to be the sort of striker who’d be winning many headers for Van der Vaart to smash home.
Verdict: Rossi’s situation will surely be monitored, but there are better options out there.
8. Sergio Aguero – Atletico Madrid
I also fail to see where Aguero would fit into our team. He’s a brilliant player, but plays just off a main striker like VDV and at 5ft 7″ is even more pint-sized than Rossi.
We apparently bid £38.5m for the Argentine, which just makes our January activity seem all the more chaotic. It looks like we were bidding for any famous young forward, with little thought as to how they’d fit into our team. Hopefully we’ll act more rationally in the summer and if we do, Aguero won’t be at the top of our list.
Verdict: Could happen, but not the striker we need and other clubs will be interested.
7. Fernando Llorente – Athletic Bilbao
Now this is more realistic. The 25 year old striker is 6ft 5″ and has become a regular scorer for Athletic Bilbao over the past three seasons, with 14 goals from 25 games this term.
As was the case with Villarreal and Rossi, Bilbao are chasing a Champions League spot and are more likely to be open to doing business in the summer. However, they will want top dollar, as their policy of only recruiting Basque players makes their transfer options limited and expensive. There is also the threat that Llorente’s form for club and country will attract the likes of Real Madrid, where he would fit perfectly into Jose Mourinho’s system.
Verdict: Sure to be near the top of our most wanted list, but this won’t be an easy transfer to pull off.
6. Karim Benzema – Real Madrid
Speaking of Real Madrid, we were linked with a loan move for Benzema in January, which was possibly scuppered by the injury to Gonzalo Higuain, which left Mournho’s side short of strikers.
Benzema is another six-footer, but mobile enough to play across the front line. His spell at Madrid hasn’t been a great success and it’s possible that they would be willing to do business in order to recoup some of the huge transfer fee that they paid to Lyon. If he was available, it’s likely that Manchester United would enter the bidding, with Sir Alex Ferguson a known admirer.
Verdict: A real possibility, but much rests on Mourinho’s future and Manchester United’s summer transfer priorities.
5. Moussa Dembele – Fulham
It has recently emerged that we made a deadline day bid for Fulham’s Moussa Dembele, who we were also linked with during his time at AZ Alkmaar. This may have been in part due to Dembele’s performance in Fulham’s 4-0 win over Spurs just a day before the deadline, in which he scored with a brilliant solo effort.
So is he a serious target, or did our bid come from a moment of panic when we realised that we weren’t going to get anyone else? My guess is that we’ll continue to monitor his progress at Fulham and could turn to him if we miss out on other targets. The Belgian international has the physique to grow into the role of a lone striker, even though he’s spent much of his career playing deeper or on the flanks.
Verdict: Probably won’t be our first choice, but a much more realistic candidate than many on this list.
4. Romelu Lukaku – Anderlecht
Dembele may be on our radar, but the true star of Belgian football at the moment is Romelu Lukaku. Like Connor Wickham he is still only 17 years old, but he has already won eight caps for Belgium and has scored an extremely impressive 33 goals in 71 games for his club.
Despite standing 6ft 3″ tall, Lukaku possesses the sort of pace that would frighten any defence. In short, he has it all and looks like the heir apparent to Didier Drogba – the best lone striker around. The fact that he’s so good and so highly rated, will probably mean that he’s out of our league. We reputedly bid £17.5m for Lukaku last summer, but he’s bound to move on at the end of the season, when we’ll have to compete for his services with Europe’s biggest clubs.
Verdict: We’re sure to be interested, but so will everyone else.
3. Asamoah Gyan – Sunderland
Gyan was a name that we were linked with during the summer, but the interest didn’t seem that strong and he eventually signed for Sunderland for £13m. I for one was annoyed that we hadn’t made a move for one of the best lone strikers at the World Cup, especially considering that the fee was affordable.
Since then Gyan has been a respectable rather than runaway success at Sunderland, but you sense that he is starting to blossom now that Darren Bent is out of the way. He has so far scored eight league goals (more than the combined efforts of Pav, Crouch and Defoe) and could well appeal to us at the end of the season.
Verdict: Unlike some other players on this list, we know Gyan can play on his own up front and score goals in the Premier League, but we’d probably have to pay upwards of £20m to tempt Sunderland.
2. Klass-Jan Huntelaar – Schalke 04
Yes, him again. Like Gyan, Huntelaar was transferred during the summer for a fee that we could have clearly afforded. Rumour has it that Huntelaar could be on the move again, as Schalke are suffering from financial problems.
Huntelaar doesn’t seem particularly happy at the club either – blaming his recent lack of goals on Schalke’s lack of creative players (he still has a highly respectable 10 from 20 games). That wouldn’t hardly be a problem at Spurs and we wouldn’t have to break the bank to sign the Dutchman.
Verdict: An affordable goalscorer to team up with his compatriot Van der Vaart sounds perfect, but if we didn’t want to make a move last summer, will we change our minds?
1. Hulk – Porto
There were numerous stories this week reporting that Hulk will be our number one target this summer and who are we to argue? After two seasons in which the Porto striker was known more for his name than his goalscoring exploits, Hulk has scored a 27 goals in 31 appearances this season.
You don’t get to be called Hulk by looking like Peter Crouch and the Brazilian international would certainly be strong enough to cope with the Premier League’s most thuggish defenders. We’re not likely to be the only interested party though, with all of our rivals at home have been linked to the quick striker.
Verdict: Looks like the sort of explosive talent that would thrive in the Premier League and will surely be leaving Porto for a bigger challenge come the summer.