Per Manchester Evening News, Manchester United are targeting Torino’s Andrea Belotti as a replacement for Swedish superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who is struggling for fitness after his horrific injury in April 2017 vs Anderlecht.
Zlatan is in his final year of contract, and if reports are to be believed, could be headed out of Old Trafford as early as in the next 2 months to either the US or China. With Romelu Lukaku as his only striker, Jose Mourinho has identified the Torino hitman as his next target.
Martial and Rashford have both been used as left wingers after United’s failed attempts at signing Ivan Perisic in the summer, leaving all the striking burden on Lukaku. The Belgian started extremely well bus has scored just 5 in his last 21 games, clearly struggling to carry the load on himself. Hence it makes sense for Mourinho to want to get someone in especially with Zlatan not fit enough to start anymore.
Belotti was on fire last season, scoring 26 times and assisting another 7 in 34 league games, a stunning record for the 24-year-old as he led Torino to a 9th placed finish. An industrious forward, Belotti is a superb centre-forward, with excellent movement and devastating finishing. What endears him to his fans is his willingness to be a nuisance all the time to opposing defenders, constantly looking to press and win the ball in the final third itself. He’s no flat track bully either, scoring away at Milan, Inter and Napoli as well as demolishing Roma in the domestic cup, as well as goals vs Juventus and Fiorentina.
However, this season hasn’t been as kind to him, with injury forcing him to miss the whole of October, and he’s scored just 4 goals in 15 league games this season. This shouldn’t be a decisive factor, though, as he is still only 24 and would be a worthwhile gamble for United.
His release clause is at a reported €100million with Torino’s president, Urbano Cairo stating the following to Rai Radio, “It’s the market that dictates the prices. If Coutinho is sold for €160m then perhaps, if Belotti goes back to doing what he usually does, [his release clause] will be low.”
While not an out and out replacement for the Swede, as Belotti doesn’t possess the technical gifts of the legendary Zlatan, Belotti would be a transfer Jose should go ahead with. Lukaku is still 25 as well, and with both players yet to hit their primes, United fans could be set for a treat in the near future.
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