Manchester United transfer targets: Three Premier League strikers Red Devils could sign as a short-term fix

Manchester United's season-opening 4-0 win over Chelsea feels like it was years ago. At this point, the Red Devils are in shambles, look as far from a contender as imaginable, and it could get worse before it gets better. One of the biggest clubs in the world with one of the highest standards, United is in an unthinkable position. Through eight games, United is 2-3-3 and closer to relegation (two points) than it is to the top four (three points). Of course, a couple quick victories in a row could get this team going in the right direction, but with Liverpool next on Oct. 20, things aren't looking up.

The club has dealt with injuries, as all clubs do, but the problem here is the attack. The team sold Romelu Lukaku to Inter Milan and never replaced him, going with Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial as strikers. It hasn't worked out. Since that 4-0 win over Chelsea, United has gone 11 games without scoring more than a goal in any of them. That's either a one-goal performance or shutout for every game in about two months.

They've created some chances, though not really golden ones, but there just isn't enough there in attack. Rashford and Martial are simply talented wingers or secondary strikers, and it has shown with the team feeling most likely to score off a penalty kick than anything else.

Let's be clear -- a striker alone probably isn't going to fix the problem. There is a lack of creativity in the middle, and the problems run deep. But you need somebody who can put the ball away consistently to overturn some of these terrible results we've seen as of late. If they want to come close to sniffing the top four or even the top six, they need to make a move in the January transfer window. 

Here's a look at three short-term fixes at striker United should consider:

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Callum Wilson, Bournemouth

This isn't the sexiest pick you'll see here, but Callum Wilson is a good striker who has a knack for being in the right spot at the right time. The 27-year-old has played for the English national team and is the man in attack for Bournemouth. He's far from prolific, but he is coming off a 14-goal campaign in the Premier League last season and already has five this season. He's quick, he's unselfish, and he could thrive in the box for United. Chances are Bournemouth would demand quite the high fee and would prefer to hold on to him.

Jamie Vardy, Leicester City

I love Jamie Vardy. He's a great story and a fine striker. He turns 33 in January, so his Premier League is winding down, but he has a fantastic scoring record. He's scored 24, 13, 20 and 18 goals over the last four seasons in the league. Having his former Leicester teammate, Harry Maguire, now at United could help the Red Devils' chances. Because of his age, one would think Leicester would be tempted to sell him for a good fee if they can bring in somebody else to lead the front line. The Foxes are in the top four right now though, so if they are there or even close to the top six, they probably wouldn't agree to a move unless it's an offer they can't refuse.

Ashley Barnes, Burnley 

He's one of the most underrated strikers in England. He's consistent and does a lot well but won't ever blow you away. He had 12 goals last season in the league and he had double-digit goals in both of the last two seasons in all competitions. He's a pure striker that likes to camp out in the box, and that's what United needs. He isn't the striker to lead this team to glory, but if the Red Devils want to finish in a European place, they need somebody like him who can finish inside the box, contend in the air and hold the ball up well to get others involved. 

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Roger Gonzalez is an award-winning writer based in Virginia that has covered pro soccer from Europe's top clubs to Argentina's first division. Roger started out his pro soccer writing career with Goal.com... Full Bio

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