Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has once again admitted his desire to recruit a new striker in the January transfer window. However, he is determined to avoid ‘burning money’ if the right opportunity in the market doesn’t arise and has reaffirmed his faith in Anthony Martial.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s contract termination in November has left Ten Hag with scarce attacking options, despite Marcus Rashford’s explosive resurrection under his watch.
Jadon Sancho is training individually, and Mason Greenwood remains suspended, leaving the Dutch coach with an uncomfortable lack of depth amid a fierce top-four fight.
United have scored just 24 goals in their opening 16 Premier League games after Ten Hag left Ajax to take charge; only Chelsea’s 20-goal tally is lower among teams in the top half of the table.
It’s a cause for concern with the Red Devils battling Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool and the Blues over two Champions League places.
And Ten Hag has openly admitted he needs reinforcements, though he warned the Glazers against repeating past mistakes and wasting money on the wrong fit.
He said: “I think we have a good team when all the players are available. But with many games coming up, I think there is a need [for a striker].
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“But you need one who can have an impact. Otherwise, you are just burning money, and you don’t strengthen the squad, and it doesn’t help you.”
Martial is now the only striker available to Ten Hag when Rashford is operating on the left, and there remain concerns about his injury proneness.
But the 27-year-old has enjoyed a resurgence when fit this season, registering five goals and two assists in 10 appearances – a goal contribution every 72 minutes.
The Old Trafford boss has been left impressed by his impact and, despite his desire for competition, would likely be happy to keep Martial as his first-choice frontman until the summer.
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“I’m really happy with his performances across many games. He has a really good impact on our game,” Ten Hag explained.
“It’s really enjoyable to work with him. If you see the minutes he has played and the impact he has had so far, I think that is really huge.
“But he’s not used to coming on every third day. He didn’t play for a long time, and probably Wolves wasn’t his game.
“You can see what a real impact he can have, and in the next game, I expect a better performance from him. I think he will do it. I’m really convinced of that.”
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