Manchester United transfer news: Identity of Louis van Gaal's 'mystery striker' revealed as club eye move for Champions League finalist

Van Gaal played down moves for either Edinson Cavani and Robert Lewandowski leading to suggestions that Juventus forward Fernando Llorente is on his way to Old Trafford

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The Independent Online

Louis van Gaal revealed that Manchester United are in the market for a "mystery" striker this summer during the club's pre-season tour of the United States to leave fans in suspense at who could be on their way to Old Trafford in the next few weeks, and it appears that the identity of the secret signing has been revealed.

The Mirror report from the US that United have held preliminary talks with Italian champions Juventus and have asked to be “kept informed” over his future after struggling to tie-down a place in the starting line-up due to the form of Carlos Tevez and Alvaro Morata.

While Tevez has moved back to Argentina this summer to re-join Boca Juniors, Llorente’s future remains up in the air with reports in Spain last month claiming Real Madrid manager Rafael Benitez was keen on bringing him back to his homeland.

 

However, it’s suggested that United believe the former Athletic Bilbao striker is capable of replacing Robin van Persie at Old Trafford following the Dutch striker’s transfer to Turkish side Galatasaray.

Llorente’s record in Italy isn’t a great one, with the Spaniard scoring 22 times in 90 appearances, and his Champions League final snub – that saw him play the last five minutes as a substitute – has led him to seek a move elsewhere.

Initial reports linked United with Paris Saint-Germain striker Edinson Cavani and Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski in moves that would cost in excess of £35m, but Van Gaal played down any imminent moves by saying: “It’s not the striker the media has written. But you have to wait and see.”

That triggered suggestions that a “mystery” striker was on his way to United, and with Van Persie leaving and Radamel Falcao no longer with the club following his loan spell last season, United appear thin on fire-power up front.

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Juventus forward Fernando Llorente

Wayne Rooney has already been informed by Van Gaal that he will start the season as the club’s main striker, given that Mexican Javier Hernandez is currently sidelined with a broken collarbone and young forward James Wilson remains inexperienced at Premier League level. But a move for Llorente would give Van Gaal more options in attack, and having already invested money in United’s defence and midfield, the club are expected to launch a move for a striker in the not too distant future.