Ten Hag could land his own Haaland in Man Utd swoop for £87m powerhouse

Goalscoring has been a major problem for Manchester United and it is one that they could begin to solve by dipping into the market this month.

The January transfer window has been open for two weeks and the Red Devils are yet to add a new number nine to bolster their firepower at the top end of the pitch.

Erik ten Hag’s side have scored 24 goals in their 21 Premier League matches so far this season, which is a tally that 13 teams have been able to beat.

Man United’s top scorers (via WhoScored)

23/24 Premier League



Scott McTominay



Marcus Rashford



Alejandro Garnacho



Bruno Fernandes



Rasmus Hojlund



As you can see from the table above, United have not had a consistent scorer in the top-flight, and their main centre-forward – Rasmus Hojlund – has scored two goals, the second of which came against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

Man United’s search for a striker

In December, Portuguese newspaper Correio da Manhã, via Sport Witness, reported that the Red Devils are one of a number of clubs interested in a deal for Sporting forward Viktor Gyokeres.

However, the outlet mentioned that the Liga Portugal side are keen to keep him until the end of the campaign, at least, and the player is committed to remaining there for the remainder of the season.

Gyokeres only joined Sporting from Coventry City last summer and is now attracting interest after an incredible start to life away from English football.

Fellow Premier League side Chelsea, according to the Evening Standard, are also eyeing up a swoop to land the Sweden international to bolster their attack.


That report added that the impressive number nine has a release clause of £87m in his current contract, which would allow one of the interested parties to snap him up for that fee without Sporting being able to reject it. However, they would still need to convince the player to ditch his new club after just six months.

It remains to be seen whether or not United are willing, or able, to splash out such a fee on Gyokeres to improve their options in the final third this month, or in the summer.

Ten Hag could, though, land his own version of Manchester City superstar Erling Haaland by securing a deal to bring the Sporting star to Old Trafford.

How Gyokeres is similar to Haaland

Both players are clinical, ruthless, and powerful centre-forwards – a throwback in a way – who have both been on fire for their respective teams this season.

However, the comparison dates back to when Gyokeres was powering his way through Championship defences for Coventry during the 2022/23 campaign.

22/23 Championship

Viktor Gyokeres (via Sofascore)







Big chances created


Dribbles completed per game


Opposition manager Tony Mowbray, who was in charge of Sunderland at the time, described him as being too fast, big, and strong for teams to deal with, which he likened to how Haaland has dominated the Premier League.

Standing at 6 foot 2, the Sporting machine is an imposing striker, like the 6 foot 4 Cityzen finisher, who can cause constant problems for opposition defenders.

Haaland’s Premier League record

However, Gyokeres is yet to test himself in the Premier League and this is where Haaland has excelled since his move to City at the start of last season.

The Norway international broke the record for the most goals in a single season in the division with a whopping 36 goals in 35 matches during the 2022/23 campaign.

He has followed that up with 14 goals in 15 Premier League games this term, which takes him to a tally of 50 goals in 50 top-flight appearances in England.

Haaland became the fastest player in the history of the league to reach the half-century mark – 48 appearances – and the previous record-holder was Andy Cole, who took 17 more games to reach 50 strikes.

Along with his staggering goal return, the City number nine has also recorded 12 assists and created 15 ‘big chances’ for his teammates, which shows that he also offers a creative outlet for his side.

Gyokeres’ Haaland-esque form for Sporting

Gyokeres is unlikely to break Premier League records as a goalscorer, as Haaland is evidently a generational talent, but his form for Sporting does suggest that he could be similar to Pep Guardiola’s key man.

Analyst Ben Mattinson once hailed the Swedish ace as “clinical” and that has been the case this season as the forward has found the back of the net 11 times from an Expected Goals of 7.89 in 16 league appearances for his side.

The 25-year-old marksman, who was also described as a “powerhouse” by the aforementioned Mattinson, has also scored three goals from 1.81 xG in five Europa League outings this term.

[FBCharts] Viktor Gyökeres

This shows that the outstanding attacker has outperformed in front of goal in comparison to the quality of chances that his teammates have provided him with, which suggests that – with the right services – Gyokeres could be a lethal striker for United who does not spurn many opportunities in the final third.

With 14 goals from 9.7 xG in Liga Portugal and the Europa League combined, the £87m-rated striker has the finishing quality to terrorise opposition defenders by being ruthless in the box.


Alongside his evident goalscoring quality, Gyokeres can also be a creator for his fellow attackers. The Sporting ace has assisted eight goals and created seven ‘big chances’ in 16 top-flight matches during the 2023/24 campaign so far.

This shows that the former Coventry marksman can also occupy opposition defenders and create high-quality opportunities for his teammates at an impressive rate.

Therefore, Gyokeres is similar to Haaland in that he is a lethal scorer, albeit the fantastic gem is yet to prove himself in the Premier League, and can also be a fantastic creator from a number nine position.

Ten Hag must now push for United to secure a deal for the physical centre-forward, who could also provide superb competition for Hojlund as well as a brilliant role model for the young Dane to learn from in the years to come.

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