Manchester United could face the prospect of missing out on a deal for Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland in the summer transfer window. The 20-year-old has established himself as one of the world’s best strikers since joining the Bundesliga outfit in January of last year, scoring 49 goals in as many appearances in all competitions.
Haaland has been the subject of high-profile links to Old Trafford in recent months, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer known to be a huge fan of the striker after providing him with his big break while in charge of Molde.
The United boss revealed earlier this month that the pair have stayed in contact ever since, fuelling rumours of a big-money switch in the summer, but the Red Devils are likely to be priced out of acting on their interest in the youngster.
Reports have claimed that Dortmund have slapped a monumental price tag on their star man, with interested parties expected to have to stump up an eye-watering £154million in order to stand any chance of securing his services ahead of next season.
This poses an obvious problem for United, who have reportedly put aside a total budget of just £80m before player sales for Solskjaer to work with during the summer months.
It seems clear that as things stand, the 20-time Premier League champions will be unable to sign Haaland in the near future, suggesting that their transfer interests could be better served elsewhere.
There are plenty of cheaper alternatives with the potential of being available for the right price, but there is one standout candidate that could be the perfect fit for Solskjaer and United.
Eintracht Frankfurt’s Andre Silva has burst onto the scene in the Bundesliga with a remarkable debut campaign after joining from AC Milan in September.
The San Siro heavyweights received a paltry fee of just £2.7m for his services, with Frankfurt seeing their investment justified and then some over the following months.
Silva has scored 21 goals in 24 league appearances this season, putting him joint-second on the Bundesliga leaderboard alongside Haaland and behind only Bayern Munich talisman Robert Lewandowski.
He struggled to break into the side during his time in Milan but has since flourished into a top-class attacker, able to provide goals on a regular basis which is exactly what United need to replace Edinson Cavani at the tip of their attacking trident.
Although Silva currently thrives in a two-up-top system alongside Real Madrid loanee Luka Jovic, which differs from United’s usual setup, there is every chance that he could carry his impressive form over to England under the guidance of Solskjaer.
He is already accustomed to playing alongside international team-mate Bruno Fernandes, the man who will be required to pull the strings behind the 25-year-old for the Red Devils.
Silva can also take on some of his compatriot’s creative burden, with his ability to pick out a pass suggesting that he can conjure up plenty of chances as well as taking those that fall to him.
Sky Sport Germany reported last month that he could be available for as little as £25.6million at the end of the season, which would represent an absolute steal for a player of Silva’s calibre.
He has proven that he can match Haaland’s goal threat and is arguably a better playmaker than the Norway international, with his addition to United’s ranks able to offer a long-term solution in attack, as opposed to a short-term fix like the signing of Cavani.
Silva is yet to reach the prime of his career, and could blossom into a world-class striker in years to come if United decide to pursue his signature during the summer transfer window.
It remains to be seen whether the Red Devils will maintain their interest in Haaland, but they could do far worse than to land Silva as a cut-price alternative, with the Portuguese forward’s impressive qualities promising to offer a fresh cutting edge to United’s attacking game.