Louis van Gaal
Louis van Gaal wants a striker, but he's dropping no clues as to who it might beGetty

Louis van Gaal would appear to be revelling in his role as tormentor-in-chief after, his latest tease over a new striker joining Manchester United this summer.

The club's latest three signings – Bastian Schweinsteiger, Matteo Darmian and Morgan Schneiderlin – all joined the Premier League side in various degrees of secrecy, with many sections of the English press having little idea of their arrival right up until a car rolled into Carrington for a medical.

The United boss would appear confident of the same happening again, telling a press conference on 21 July that his "surprise striker" is "not the striker that the media has written about. You have to wait and see."

Who does that leave then? Relentless links between the club and Spurs' Harry Kane have been and gone, with Bayern Munich's Thomas Muller and Pedro of Barcelona now the most popular names linked with the role. Under Van Gaal's criteria, we can also cross Gareth Bale, Edinson Cavani and Robert Lewandowski off our list. Who else could be on the Dutchman's radar?

Saido Berahino West Bromwich Albion

After stepping down from his attempts to leave West Bromwich Albion last January, Berahino quietly went back about his business of solidifying his reputation as one of England's brightest striking talents. While his hold-up play may be less than what Van Gaal usually demands in his centre forwards, the 21 year old is a thoroughly consistent finisher at the top level, one you would assume who would be happy to rotate with Wayne Rooney.

Mauro Icardi Inter Milan

While he may have signed a new contract at Inter at the end of last season, that is unlikely to deter Van Gaal if he sees something he likes in the Argentina international. Joint top scorer in Serie A last season – despite the Nerazzurri's mediocre eighth place finish – the 22 year old is steadily growing into one of the most complete centre forwards in Italy.

Mauro Icardi
Mauro Icardi finished as Serie A's joint top scorer last seasonGetty Images

Kevin Volland – Hoffenheim

Volland, 22, continued to build on his growing reputation in Germany with an excellent campaign at the U-21 European Championships this summer, captaining his country and scoring twice. That's off the back of 10 goals for Hoffenheim last season, where the young German showed an aptitude for playing across a variety of positions in attack. Van Gaal's penchant for multi-functional players could make him a target.

Alexandre Lacazette Lyon

Not even Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored more than this man in France last season. Lyon's assault on French football's new hierarchy was inspired by a number of players that came from their own academy, with Lacazette the jewel in that crown. 27 Ligue 1 goals last season shows he is one of the most clinical on the continent, but in the face of growing speculation linking him with Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain, the France striker recently made it known he is fully committed to Lyon for at least one more season.

Alexandre Lacazette
Alexandre Lacazette seems to be satisfied with life in France for another year. Getty Images

Charlie Austin Queens Park Rangers

It probably won't be the most popular shout you read today, but bear with us. After suffering relegation with QPR, Austin will have no problems in finding another Premier League employer. If Van Gaal is set on making Wayne Rooney his undisputed no. 1 choice come rain or shine in a system that supports just one centre forward, an option who will be content with a bench role seems logical. And 18 Premier League goals for a side that featured Junior Hoilett, Clint Hill and Niko Kranjcar in the same starting XI is not to be sniffed at.

Fernando Llorente Juventus

Another whose arrival at Old Trafford wouldn't upset the status quo. It's worth remembering just how widely revered Llorente was merely three years ago when he spear-headed Marco Bielsa's dynamic Athletic Bilbao. With his time at Juventus now at an end following an overhaul of the Bianconeri's own forward options, a return to Spain and Real Madrid appears to be in offing. Llorente offers experience and a proven goal-scoring record for anyone who is ready to meet his transfer fee.