As Radamel Falcao continues to look like a shadow of the striker who was the best in the world not too long ago, Louis Van Gaal would have watched Aston Villa's impressive win over Liverpool in the FA Cup semifinal with interest, with a particular player -- a tall, hulking striker capable of bullying defences and finding the back of the net with precision -- catching his eye.
Manchester United are expected to sign a centre-forward in the summer transfer window, with Falcao looking unlikely to be made a permanent United player, while Robin Van Persie continues to struggle for form and fitness.
Robert Lewandowski and Edinson Cavani are just two of the names that have been linked with a move to Old Trafford, but Van Gaal might just decide to go for a striker who has already been dominating English Premier League defences.
Christian Benteke, when on song, is a defender's nightmare and a lethal goalscorer. Since Tim Sherwood has taken over, Benteke has found a new lease of life at Aston Villa, banging in goals for fun again, and, not just taking his team towards Premier League safety, but also firing them to the FA Cup final at Wembley.
With bags of goals comes the inevitable attention from the bigwigs in the Premier League and beyond, and Manchester United could steal a march on their rivals by making a bid, in the region of £25 million, for the Belgium international, according to the Daily Star.
Benteke, not too long ago, signed a new deal at Villa, when some of the biggest clubs in the Premier League were reportedly monitoring his situation. The 24-year-old striker has previously professed his love for Arsenal, but with Olivier Giroud only getting better with every passing season, Arsene Wenger might consider using that £25 million for other positions.
That leaves Manchester United with a clear enough path – Liverpool might want a striker like Benteke in their lineup as well, but with Champions League football unlikely and United having the much bigger financial clout, the advantage certainly lies with Van Gaal.
The Dutchman definitely needs a striker who can give him 20-30 goals a season consistently, and while Wayne Rooney has impressed in the centre-forward's role in the last couple of months, getting a target man like Benteke could be the way forward for Manchester United.
It remains to be seen if Aston Villa will accept £25 million for Benteke or ask for more; but even if they do, Manchester United should not have too many problems in stumping up a larger fee.