While both Marcus Rashford and Rasmus Hojlund got themselves on the scoresheet for Manchester United in the recent draw with Tottenham Hotspur, it has largely been a season of woe for the club’s frontline so far – netting just 24 goals in 21 Premier League outings.
Eight goals conceded across their last four top-flight clashes has also exposed United’s defensive shortcomings, yet it is in attack where much of the scrutiny has been focused, with Scott McTominay currently the club’s leading scorer in the league with only five goals.
With that in mind, quality reinforcements should certainly be on the agenda for Erik ten Hag’s side in 2024, either in January or during the summer, with recent reports indicating that one standout target is being monitored by the Old Trafford outfit.
Man Utd want to sign LaLiga sensation
Although they may need to be taken with a pinch of salt, reports in Spain earlier this week suggested that United were willing to work out around €150m (£130m) in order to seal the signing of Real Madrid star, Vincius Jr – a deal that would easily surpass the club’s previous record capture of Paul Pogba.
As per Defensa Central – via Sport – the indication is that Los Blancos could be open to cashing in on the Brazilian speedster in order to help fund a deal for Paris Saint-Germain talisman, Kylian Mbappe, with the Frenchman likely to command a hefty wage packet if he is to move to the Bernabeu.
Whether Vinicius would be willing to trade life in the Spanish capital for Manchester remains to be seen, particularly if Ten Hag’s men miss out on Champions League qualification, although it would certainly represent a mammoth, marquee deal for United.
How Vinicius Jr fits into Man Utd’s team
At present, Ten Hag has enjoyed early success utilising a forward line of Rashford, Hojlund and young Alejandro Garnacho, with the latter man, in particular, beginning to shine after being moved into a right-wing berth.
A brace against Aston Villa on Boxing Day proved that the teenage Argentine can thrive in that new role, having typically operated on the opposite flank during his embryonic first-team career, as well as in the youth ranks.
If Vinicius were to sign, therefore, it would see him offer another dynamic option on the left wing, with either Rashford finding himself displaced from the starting XI, or forced to operate in an unfavoured striker role.
That may appear a bold move to oust the Englishman, yet the Madrid man is a star who has consistently shone at the elite level in recent years, contributing 68 goals and a further 68 assists in 241 games for the LaLiga giants, including registering nine goals and four assists in just 16 games this season.
Vinicius Jr’s La Liga season by numbers
11 games (10 starts)
3 ‘big chances’ created
3.0 successful dribbles per game
0.9 key passes per game
1.9 balls recovered per game
2.4 fouls earned per game
7.19 avg. match rating
Stats via Sofascore
The former Flamengo ace only recently bagged a hat-trick against rivals Barcelona in the Supercopa final, once again living up to the billing as a player who has previously been likened to two Madrid legends – Cristiano Ronaldo and his fellow Brazilian, Ronaldo – having been described as being a “bit of both Ronaldo’s” by journalist Guillem Balague.
As Balague noted, the £344k-per-week menace shares a likeness with a young Cristiano due to his ability to terrorise from the flanks, while the “power”, “strength”, “pace” and “control” that he has makes him “similar” to the great ‘R9’.
Man Utd eyeing £69m Maguire upgrade who’s “one of the best in the world”
Erik ten Hag is believed to have identified a new leading target to help strengthen his backline.
To then have such a weapon on one flank, with Garnacho – who has been dubbed “dangerous” by club legend Paul Scholes – on the other would be a dream scenario for Ten Hag and United, with Vinicius the type of player who could be the face of the new Sir Jim Ratcliffe regime.