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Sasa Kalajdzic: Transfer Insider gives Man Utd ‘boost’ amid reports Erik ten Hag is targeting new striker

  • Manchester United look set to compete with a host of clubs for the Stuttgart striker this summer.

Manchester United are amongst ‘one of a number of Premier League clubs’ interested in signing Sasa Kalajdzic this summer, according to journalist Jacque Talbot.

The Red Devils, who began their pre-season tour of Thailand and Australia on Tuesday with a 4-0 win over rivals Liverpool, are in need of bolstering their attacking options next season.

United currently have several options to choose from up front, with Cristiano Ronaldo their first-choice striker. The Portuguese international scored 24 goals in all competitions last season at Old Trafford.

However, recent reports have suggested the Red Devils no.7 has asked to leave Old Trafford during the transfer window, though the club have no intention to sell him.

Regardless of Ronaldo’s situation at United, it seems Erik ten Hag has identified another option up front in Kalajdzic, with Talbot claiming the Austrian could ‘fill a void’ at the club.

Ronaldo’s replacement?

Speaking exclusively to SportingPedia, Jacque stated Kalajdzic is talking to several clubs about a potential move this summer, including the Red Devils: “He’s talking to a few clubs, and Man Utd is a bit of a surprising one.”

“With Ronaldo [potentially] leaving, he definitely could fill the void. He’s got 22 goals in just under 50 games in the Bundesliga.”

Potential downside to a deal

However, despite his decent goal scoring record for the German club, there could be a downside to United pursuing Kalajdzic’s signature, his injury record.

“He’s a bit injury prone, that is the issue,” Talbot added.

“He’s very tall, 6 foot 7 and I suppose to a degree he kind of dictates how you play a little bit. United would have to float some balls into the box for him.”

How much would he cost United?

Unlike their rivals Liverpool and Manchester City, who splashed £100m on Darwin Nunez and £51.2m on Erling Haaland, the Red Devils could pick up Kalajdzic for a bargain.

“In terms of money it’s a cheap option. They’ll [Stuttgart] probably get between €20-25 million for him. He will be leaving this summer,” Talbot said.

Competition from other clubs

As previously mentioned, Ten Hag’s side aren’t the only club interested in the Stuttgart striker this summer, with several other Premier League teams, as well as Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, looking at Kalajdzic.

“He was linked to Bayern Munich but I think they ended up leaving it on account of his price tag,” Talbot said. “I think they would have gone for him anyway whether or not [Robert] Lewandowski stayed.”

“Dortmund were also interested, but went for [Sebastian] Haller instead.”

“I think there’s a few mid table clubs in the Premier League [interested in him] as well.”

A polar opposite to Ronaldo

The dressing room atmosphere at United is something Ten Hag will want to change next season, especially with it being described so negatively last campaign. Kalajdzic could be an important factor for this happening, with Talbot giving an insight as to what the Austrian is like behind the scenes.

“He’s the target man, he’s 25 years old, but most importantly it’s his character,” Talbot said.

“He’s reportedly a very nice individual, just a really good dressing room presence as well, kind of like Christian Eriksen levels of dressing room presence. I think [it] would be important for Man Utd to have someone like that, in the way of a polar opposite of Ronaldo.”

The verdict

Given the above information, a move for Kalajdzic looks like a good one. However, his injury record would have to be monitored significantly. The Red Devils had to deal with injuries to Edinson Cavani last season, leaving them with restricted options up top.

Jacque believes, if United win the race for the Austrian, he would be better suited as a back up striker as opposed to their ‘main’ choice.

“He’s a relatively cheap option for a player to come in and not be the main striker, the marquee striker, but maybe the one behind that,” he said.

“Any club looking for a target man would be hard pressed to find a better one. He has a very distinct style, but it’s the injuries that are a concern. He missed a lot through injury and I do wonder whether that’s going to impact anything. But Stuttgart should let him go for €20-25 million.”

 Author: Aiden Beswick

Aiden Beswick is a journalist covering men's and women's football. He also has interests in professional wrestling and netball and has interviewed stars from each sport. He has covered several big sporting event, including Euro 2020 and the 2020 Olympic Games.