Erik ten Hag believes Manchester United need to sign a striker to replace Cristiano Ronaldo in the January transfer window, though he says they will only move for the right player.
United are targeting attacking reinforcements after terminating Ronaldo’s contract last month – a move which came after the five-time Ballon d’Or winner declared he had no respect for Ten Hag in a controversial interview with Piers Morgan.
The Red Devils have scored 20 Premier League goals this season – a tally bettered by 10 teams in the division, while their top goalscorer Marcus Rashford has netted four times.
While a series of forwards have been linked with a move to Old Trafford, Ten Hag says any new arrival must be of a high standard.
“There are two things. First, goals can also come out of our own club; see [Alejandro] Garnacho, see [Anthony] Elanga, see [Facundo] Pellistri, who made a good impression in the World Cup and in the game against Everton last week in training. That is first,” Ten Hag said.
“We are aware we lost a striker, so I think we have to get a striker in, but it has to be the right one.
“The right one will bring quality to the team and not just be an addition to the squad, because that only gives you problems. You know the criteria is high at Manchester United.”
Few players have benefitted from Ten Hag’s arrival at United more than Rashford, who has equalled last season’s tally of four league goals in just 14 appearances this term, but Ten Hag thinks he is capable of more.
“I don’t want to pin myself on a number. I said from the start that he is capable of scoring 20 goals in the Premier League, so I am convinced about that,” Ten Hag said.
“He now has four but he scored many other goals. He scored three goals at the World Cup, so then you have the potential to score those goals in the Premier League.”
One forward who will not be joining United in January is Netherlands international Cody Gakpo, who is set to sign for Liverpool after the Reds reached an agreement with PSV.
Gakpo, who netted three times at the World Cup, is to travel to England in the coming days to finalise a move reportedly worth an initial £37million (€41m) plus add-ons.