Man Utd make former Chelsea man their striking contingency plan

A changing of the guard looks to be on the cards for Manchester United’s striking department, as Galatasaray join the list of clubs trailing Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao closes in on a loan move to Chelsea.

That leaves Louis van Gaal with just Wayne Rooney, James Wilson and, if he’s still there, Javier Hernandez to call on in the upcoming campaign. A dive into the transfer market to find another option is a must.

Mario Mandzukic is one name thought to be high on the Dutchman’s wishlist, but with Juventus also sniffing around the Croatian frontman, landing the Atletico Madrid striker could prove to be problematic.

In such an event, the Red Devils have prepared a backup target, with Everton striker Romelu Lukaku mooted by the country’s media as the man to step in should Mandzukic move to Turin.

The Belgian struck 20 times for the Toffees last season, his first as a permanent employee at Goodison Park, bettering the 16 all-competition goals he managed when on loan at the club in 2013/14.

However, his Premier League production took a hit with only half of his score of strikes coming in the top flight, down from 15 the term before.

Despite that loss of form, Man United would still have to pay a premium to land the former Chelsea player. Everton paid the Blues £28m to secure his services and four years still remain on the 22-year-old’s contract.

That’s not to say that a deal couldn’t be done, however, as Lukaku has intimated that he wants to be playing Champions League football sooner rather than later and Everton are always open to making a profit on their purchases.

Following the release of the new season’s fixtures, Ladbrokes make the Red Devils 1/4 shots to finish in the top four, with Everton way off that at 20s.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.