Wayne Rooney: the candidates set to replace the Manchester United striker

22 October 2010 10:01
For the second time in just over a year, Manchester United face the impossible task - replace the irreplaceable.

Theyare still searching for a natural successor for Cristiano Ronaldo butwith Wayne Rooney heading for the exit too, United are running out ofassets to attract world class players to Old Trafford.

Look Roo's off: The United star is destined to leave Old Trafford

But where Sir Alex Ferguson was short of options to replace thePortuguese star he has plenty of talent to look at to replace Rooney.

Sportsmail has compiled 10 forwards that the United boss will be monitoring.

Karim Benzema, Real MadridIf Rooney were to join Madrid you can bet Sir Alex Ferguson will do allhe can to get Karim Benzema go in the opposite direction.

Fergieis a fan of the France international and was bitterly disappointed tolose out to Real for his signature in the summer of 2009.

Not the Real deal: Karim Benzema has failed to justify his hefty transfer fee

The move to Spain has not worked out for the striker and he finds himself below Gonzalo Higuain in the pecking order.

IfRooney was to join Madrid, Benzema's career at the club would certainlybe over and he could do much worse than make the move he should havedone the previous summer.

Sergio Aguero, Atletico MadridFee: United could be priced out of a move for Aguero

If Lionel Messi wasn't such a global megastar, much more fanfare wouldbe made about Aguero who has become one of La Liga's most valuableplayers.

The Argentina international arrived at Atleticofor a fee estimated around £16million and he has looked every penny ofit, helping his club become a major force in Spain with his eye forgoal and silky skills.

The one stumbling block for Fergiewill be the price. Madrid are desperate to keep their key player andfans favourite and United would have to break their transfer record tosign him.

Chelsea were interested only recently but bulkedat Madrid's £40million asking price and United are highly unlikely tobeat the Londoners in a bidding war.

Fernando Torres, Liverpool Historytells us even the most unlikely of transfers have happened time andtime again and there is no reason why Torres would not join the Red'sfierce rivals.

As an actual signing, the risk is reduced for Ferguson who knows he is getting a player who can cut it in the Premier League.

In demand: Torres has been linked with a move away from struggling Liverpool

Torres'sform has plummeted since last season and the Spaniard looks far fromhappy at Anfield. He would certainly consider moving to a club that caninstantly match his ambitions.

But would the new Liverpoolboard consider selling one of their few valuable players left to suchhated rivals at the risk of a huge backlash from supporters?

Alexandre Pato, AC Milan AnotherFergie favourite, United missed out in 2007 when Pato elected to joinAC Milan for a fee of around £10million despite him being just17-years-old.

He has not disappointed in Italy. On average, hescores nearly every other game and has found the back of the net fourtimes in as many games this season.

Italian job: Pato has scored four times in as many games for AC Milan this season

Of course all thistalent comes at a price - a big price. The Brazilian is valued ataround £50million but if he keeps up his rapid development Pato's stockis only set to increase.

The player is happy at the San Siro and the feeling is mutual. It seems only a Kaka-esque bid will force a move.

Luis Fabiano, Sevilla Aplayer who has a strong goal scoring record in Spain and also atinternational level with 28 goals in 43 appearances for Brazil,including three at the recent World Cup in South Africa.

Histime in Spain has been inconsistent but the quality is there and lookssuited to the Premier League with his power and strength on the ball.

On target: Will Fergie take a gamble on Fabiano?

Thestriker signed a new contract in the summer but is within United'sbudget, and the player has already expressed an interest in a move tothe Red Devils.

At 29-years-old he is not getting any younger and Ferguson is likely to only get two or three good years out of the Brazilian.

Luis Suarez, Ajax You will be hard pressed to find any player with a goals record better than Suarez right now.

Afterending last season with an astonishing 49 goals in 48 games, theUruguayan is up to his old tricks at the start of this campaign withseven goals in as many games.

Hand of Suarez: The Uruguay international has a fantastic goalscoring record

But Premier League sides arewary of signing Eredivisie players after Mateja Kezman flopped atChelsea, despite his strong goals record in Holland.

Suarezwould certainly love to test his skills in England's top flight  andafter his last minute World Cup antics against Ghana may be able tohelp out Ferguson's future goalkeeping conundrum too.

Lukas Podolski, FC CologneGamble: Podolski has flattered to deceive

A football enigma - looking at his club career stats he does not seem to be worth the effort.

Onlyonce since 2006 has he scored 10 goals in a season and since his returnto Cologne in 2009 has only found the net six times.

But his international record for Germany is much more impressive. 37 strikes in 69 games shows he can compete among the elite.

Podolskiwas depolyed on the wing during the World Cup and to some success too.It would be a gamble for United to sign a player who is strugglingdomestically but the German international's game could be suited tothat of the fast-paced Premier League.

Klaas Jan Huntelaar, Schalke Ajax, Real Madrid and AC Milan are all clubs the 6ft 1in Dutchman has represented in his career to date.

Onlyat the Dutch club has he been considered a success, with spells inSpain and Italy spent in the shadow of the clubs other strikersincluding the ageing Flippo Inzaghi at Milan.

Klass-act: Huntelaar has played for three clubs in just over a year

In the Bundesligahe has found his shooting boots again with five goals in his openingsix games. But he isn't just a flat-track bully - his record forHolland is impressive with 24 goals in 40 games.

Despitehaving joined Schalke, it's not out of the question for the striker tochange colour - this is his third club in just over a year.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Barcelona (on loan at AC Milan) Heis one of the games most gifted but frustrating players. Yet one thingthe Swede does do well is score goals wherever he goes.

Ajax,Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona and AC Milan have all benefited fromhis uncanny knack for scoring but have also had to deal with his fierynature which led to the departures from both Ajax and Barcelona.

Super Swede: Barcelona's Ibrahimovic is currently on loan at AC Milan

Thisis a downside for Ferguson who likes to keep his players under rule. Inaddition Ibrahimovic is approaching the wrong side of 30 and the Unitedboss may feel his best years are behind him.

Diego Forlan, Atletico MadridThey say you should never go back, but when Forlan joined United backin 2002 it could have been a case of the right club at the wrong time.

Sinceleaving United (ironically in the same month they signed Rooney) theUruguayan's career has propelled skywards, going from strength tostrength at Villarreal and then Atletico Madrid.

Cult status: Would Fergie swoop for Forlan for a second time?

Thissummer he was awarded best player at the World Cup shortly afterscoring the winner in the Europa League final against Fulham,underlining just how far he had come since leaving Old Trafford.

At31-years-old, time is against him but could he resist one last crack atUnited where he is likely to play more than in his previous spell?

If Ferguson is short on replacement options there are far worse players to act as at least a stop-gap than Forlan.

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 Explore more:People: Alex Ferguson, Alexandre Pato, Sergio Aguero, Jan Huntelaar, Fernando Torres, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Wayne Rooney Places: Barcelona, Liverpool, Madrid, Milan, Argentina, France, Germany, Italy, Ghana, Spain, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, South Africa, Brazil

Source: Daily_Mail