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Manchester United offered free run at marque Lille striker Jonathan David

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has been in the market for a new centre-forward option since Portuguese ace Cristiano Ronaldo handed in a transfer request earlier in the summer.

United’s failed attempt to qualify for next season’s Champions League, coupled with the club’s clueless transfer window campaign, has forced the 37-year-old’s hand.

However, despite Ronaldo’s desire to pursue a new challenge outside Old Trafford, there have been no appealing offers for the five-time Ballon d’Or winner to date.

The Portugal captain has experienced mixed fortunes since returning to the Theatre of Dreams last summer, yet he shouldered a large chunk of the scoring burden in 2021/22.

Following Edinson Cavani’s departure, Man United can ill-afford to let go of another household frontman without signing a suitable replacement as ten Hag bids to get the Red Devils back to Europe’s elite competition.

The three-time European champions have found themselves stuck in their search for a new No 9 to spearhead their attack next term.

But ten Hag may have found a silver lining in stellar pre-season performances from revitalised trio Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Anthony Martial.

Martial has been particularly impressive during the off-season following his uninspiring short-term loan spell at Sevilla last season.

The 26-year-old Frenchman has scored in all three pre-season appearances as Man United eased past Liverpool, Crystal Palace and Melbourne Victory.

It seems the ex-Monaco forward has found his feet under ten Hag’s stewardship and more importantly, he clicked with Rashford and Sancho, offering fans hope of a brighter future.

United’s pacey attacking trio has gone from strength to strength this summer, delivering some high-octane performances that have often been in short supply since the final days of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Martial, who performed as a striker during United’s most prolific period under the Norwegian, could slot in for Ronaldo in case the former Real Madrid talisman quits Manchester.

According to Express Sport, Man United could still dive back into the market to give ten Hag another marquee option up top, with Lille’s Jonathan David emerging as a potential candidate to take the role.

Previously tracked by Liverpool, the 22-year-old striker looks ready to take his career to the next level after a decent two-year stint at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy.

David’s first foray into European football came in 2018 when he left the Ottawa Internationals youth ranks to join Gent as a teenager.

Across an eye-catching two years in Belgium, the highly-rated marksman tallied 30 goals from 60 appearances, which earned him a €30m switch to Ligue 1 in 2020.

He may have helped Lille beat Paris Saint-Germain to the league crown in his maiden season at the club, yet his scoring record came nowhere near his tally at Gent.

Les Gones’ defensive-minded football restricted David’s output to 28 goals in 75 outings, though his overall showings have put him on the European map.

As per Fabrizio Romano, via Express Sport, the Canadian star could be available for approximately £42m this summer, which is a reasonable price in today’s market.

In these uncertain times, highlighted by inflated market prices and outrageous demands, signing a player of David’s calibre for £42m could be considered a bargain.

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