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Three potential Cristiano Ronaldo replacements Manchester United should monitor this World Cup

The Red Devils will be on the hunt for a new no.9 this January

Cristiano Ronaldo’s time at Manchester United is over. The striker’s contract was terminated a week after an explosive interview was aired on English TV, in which the veteran slammed the club, new boss Erik ten Hag, his teammates and former boss Ralf Rangnick.

It ends the frosty relationship that had emerged between Ten Hag and Ronaldo, which saw the illustrious no.7 play just 520 minutes in the Premier League this season, with just four starts to his name.

But, it leaves the Red Devils with just Marcus Rashford, who has looked more accomplished in wide areas, and the injury-prone Anthony Martial. Not much to hang your hat on for a Champions League finish this campaign.

So, who could they turn to in January? 101 took a look at three strikers at the World Cup that are worth keeping an eye on.

1. Jonathan David (Canada)

One of the most high-profile strikers at the tournament not currently playing for a European giant at club level, Canada striker Jonathan David is one of the first names on the teamsheet and will almost certainly play every minute of the three group games that the north American nation are guaranteed to play.

Still just 22 years old, the AS Monaco forward continues to impress at club level, with 9 goals and 3 assists to his name in 15 Ligue 1 outings so far this season. It follows a strong 2021-22 campaign, where he netted 15 times.

Largely a traditional no.9, David is a strong presser and dribbler, and despite being just 5ft10, he is surprisingly strong on the ball, while he can also run into the channels and behind opposition defences.

Currently valued at 45m euros by transfermarkt, he would set the club back a huge chunk of change, but still just 22 years old he could lead the line at Old Trafford for the next decade potentially.

2. Joao Felix (Portugal)

With Felix reportedly unhappy at Atletico Madrid, Manchester United are one of few clubs with the money and allure to make a move for the forward happen.

And, he would fit Erik ten Hag’s system to a tee should he ultimately be the man that the Red Devils opt for. A capable creator as well as goal-getter himself, Felix can play anywhere across the front three and is a strong presser, while his naturally skillful style may be less hindered under a new manager.

A good world cup could be a timely reminder of his talents and could persuade Atleti to cut their losses on their record signing while his stock is high, while he could replace compatriot Ronaldo at Old Trafford.

He would be the most expensive man on this list, having cost Atletico Madrid more than £100m when they signed him to replace Antoine Griezmann, but in many ways he is the antithesis of Ronaldo, and could be perfect for Ten Hag’s system.

3. Cody Gakpo (Netherlands)

Dutch forward Gakpo flattered to deceive for the most part in the Netherlands’ first outing against Senegal this tournament, but showed his class as he provided a brilliant run and header to open the scoring and hand his side a vital three points nonetheless.

Domestically, however, the winger has been flying. The 23-year-old has recorded an astonishing nine goals and 12 assists in just 13 Eredivisie appearances, while he also managed three goals and two assists in five Europa League outings to date, helping PSV out of their group alongside Arsenal.

Gakpo is not yet the finished product, but offers plenty of raw attributes that could make him a coach’s dream to work with, boasting pace, strength and strong finishing traits. His versatility, with the Dutchman able to play across the frontline, is also a massive boost and would bolster Erik ten Hag’s options.

Having been interested in a move in the summer, and with all parties expected to return for a deal next summer, bringing it forwards by six months could help the Red Devils out no end.

Who do you think the Red Devils should buy in January to replace CR7?


Picture of Ben Browning

Ben Browning

Football writer and analyst. Long-time writer of all things Arsenal and avid watcher of European football. Happy to discuss all things football over on Twitter.

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