Danny Ings or Charlie Austin: Who should Man United sign?

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By Shay Awosiyan
College Contributor Network

Charlie Austin and Danny Ings have lit up the Barclays Premier League this season and with both their sides facing relegation, the two Englishmen will soon be on the trading block.

Manchester United and Louis van Gaal are rumored to interested in their services, but which target man is more suited to don the club's storied jersey?

At the moment, the Red Devils attacking core –- Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao -– is unstable. Falcao has struggled to find his form ever since he joined the club on loan from Monaco and van Persie's days at the top look to be nearing its end.

United fans are enduring the same pain and agony Arsenal fans endured during his earlier days with the north London club; his injury setbacks. After an unforgettable first year with the Red Devils, the Dutch forward has missed a amount reasonable of time. And the club is reportedly tired of waiting on the aging forward and are offering him £5 million to take his talents to another club.

With van Persie and Falcao's departure imminent, at least one center back that is familiar with the premier league is needed, which is why Ings and Austin are linked to the club.

Of the two, Austin is the most recognizable. The 25-year-old has rattled the back of the net 17 times and assisted four goals this season with Queens Park Rangers. His consistency for a club as bad as QPR has raised multiple questions about Roy Hogson's decision to leave him off England's national team.

Ings hasn't been as lethal as his countryman, but he has made the most of the little around him. Burnley's main man has played a part in half of his side's 26 goals in the league this season. He has managed to accumulate nine tallies and four assists for an atrocious offensive side.

Even though skeptics might not willing to jump on the forwards' bandwagon because they've only had one productive season at the highest level, there is one common characteristic that could turn the staunchest critic into a believer; their age. Austin, 25, and Ings, 22, still have their best days ahead of them. Sans injuries and terrible attitude, both players could become top strikers one day, maybe even world class.

Austin's impressive tally in his first year in a top league means he'll be more expensive to acquire, but that won't drive United away. On paper, QPR's main man seems to be the best buy of the two. Everywhere he's played in the last four years, he has been lethal, scoring at least 16 goals in league play.

His size, athleticism and occasional flashes of spectacular skill has to entice van Gaal, a manager that wants players that are willing to do anything to win. Austin is the kind of guy that Rooney could easily form a dangerous partnership with. He is English, his hold up play is excellent and his positioning allows others to run off him.

Ings possesses a lot of Austin's qualities, but he is more of a poacher than a target man. He's work rate is impressive and he's always lurking in and around the box. If signed, he won't really make United fans jump for joy, but the fact that he's gone from a mediocre finisher to a highly-touted prospect in less that three seasons will make any United faithful ecstatic.

United will most likely be competing in the UEFA Champions League next season, so the club needs a forward that can score lots of goals right now. Due to the preceding statement, Austin is the best buy of the two forwards. Ings has lots of upside, but it'll take him a while to fully reach his potential. Austin is already at the top of his game, and playing alongside the likes of Rooney and Juan Mata should get the best out of him.

Since both players won't cost the club a lot of money, van Gaal could elect to purchase both of them. However, that will be an ill-advised decision, because there is only room for one. The acquisition of both will mean someone's playing time will diminish and exciting youngster James Wilson will lose valuable playing time that would help him develop into a fine footballer.

Shay Awosiyan is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism at the University of Oklahoma. He played soccer for 13 years and hopes to one day become a commentator. Follow him on Twitter: @THESHAY11

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