Although Manchester United and Liverpool have plenty of attacking options in their squad even if both Wayne Rooney and Luis Suarez are successful in forcing through moves this summer, each side will no doubt consider their options in the transfer market in terms of bringing in a replacement.
One man who should be on both team’s shortlist is Udinese’s Luis Muriel, as the 22-year-old has the ability to make an impact on either side straight away, as well as the potential to develop into a truly excellent player in the next few seasons.
Muriel became a regular in the Udinese side in the second half of last season, and finished the year with a flourish by scoring seven times in the Italian side’s last ten games.
The Colombian scored 11 times in 22 league matches across the course of the season, with ten goals coming in his 15 starts.
Able to play as a striker or an attacking midfielder, Muriel would be a natural replacement for either Rooney or Suarez, and with a valuation of around £15million, he could be brought in for under half of the transfer fees that are being discussed for either striker.
That would allow Manchester United to keep the remainder of a fee for Rooney to put towards strengthening their midfield, which has to be David Moyes’ priority regardless of the England striker’s future, and Muriel would also fit with Liverpool’s policy of targeting young, adaptable players.
If it came to a straight fight between the English clubs, Manchester United would have the edge, so Liverpool should consider making a move for Muriel soon to try and beat their rivals to the punch.
After Suarez’s recent outburst, and Brendan Rodgers’ furious response, there is almost no chance of the Uruguayan striker staying at Anfield, and getting Muriel in now would relieve the pressure of having to find a replacement at the last minute as well as ensuring they do not end up going toe-to-toe with Manchester United for the 22-year-old.
image: © Thomas-Sommernegger