With Robert Lewandowski one of the hottest properties in European football, United may have to sacrifice one of their cult heroes to sign him.
Many football managers like to return to the same place for their shopping.
For Arsene Wenger and Alan Pardew, that place is France; for Michael Laudrup and Rafael Benitez it is Spain.
For Sir Alex Ferguson, that place is Borussia Dortmund.
The Manchester United manager has been a reported fan of Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski for quite some time.
When Ferguson watched Lewandowski and Shinji Kagawa inspire Dortmund to a 5-2 win over Bayern Munich in last year’s German Cup final, he surely thought about pairing them up at Old Trafford.
That he ultimately moved for Robin van Persie ahead of the Polish striker hasn’t ended speculation that the 24-year-old will be joining the Dutchman in the summer.
After Lewandowski’s four goals against Real Madrid last week, his agent spoke of an agreement in place with an un-named club.
For a long time that club was believed to be Bayern, and yet the German champions have dismissed those reports. And when Mario Gotze’s deal was so openly announced by all parties, it would be strange if his team-mate makes the same move amid secrets and lies.
So if the player’s agent is correct – and the media grape-vine hasn’t got its wires crossed – United may be the player’s most likely destination.
And yet if they truly are in the box-seat, they have one very important move to make first. They must sell Javier Hernandez.
Reports suggesting Lewandowski is waiting to see what United do with their other strikers before becoming one himself make perfect sense.
But in truth he should be looking solely at Hernandez.
The Mexican is a striker and a striker alone. And while Danny Welbeck is fast-becoming a winger and Wayne Rooney can play just about anywhere, only Chicharito’s place in the squad should dissuade Lewandowski from joining.
The Mexican is already a cult hero among United fans. He is also one of the best natural-finishers the club has ever known.
But he is not the all-round forward Lewandowski is quickly becoming. He is an impact player, a man who relies on moments created by others.
On Wednesday, Lewandowski created countless moments on his own.
Should Ferguson wish to challenge in Europe again, Hernandez is not the man to start the biggest games. He is the man to snatch the last-gasp winner, just as Ole Gunnar Solsjkaer did in 1999. And yet Hernandez shouldn’t and won’t be an impact sub for ever.
So it is simple. There is not and never has been a deal for Radamel Falcao. If anything, Ferguson used those rumours as a convenient smoke-screen as he continued courting a man whose price just sky-rocketed.
But perhaps it won’t be the money offered but the faith shown that wins him the player.
Sometimes you have to sell goals and get goals.
Let’s see how far Ferguson is prepared to go to get the man who has shocked Europe, the man who has already forged one devastating partnership with Kagawa; and the man who, along with a box-to-box midfielder, could inspire United to challenge for the Champions League once more.
Should United sacrifice Hernandez to sign Lewandowski?
image: © eschipul