Erik ten Hag has confirmed that Manchester United are in the market for a new No 9 in the January transfer window.
The Red Devils have lost Cristiano Ronaldo and currently only have the injury-prone Anthony Martial as a recognised No 9.
The club have also missed out on reported target Cody Gakpo to Premier League rivals Liverpool and it is looking very likely that United will have to dip into the loan market to secure the services of a centre-forward with the Glazers looking to sell the club.
Speaking after United’s 3-0 home win against Nottingham Forest to Amazon Prime, Ten Hag was not overly impressed with his side’s performance in front of goal.
Asked if his team needed to be more clinical, Ten Hag said: ‘I can confirm that, it’s what I said in the dressing room.
‘We have to score more goals. We created so many chances and it takes us until just before the end to make the third goal. We have to finish this game at an earlier moment.’
Ten Hag continued: ‘Just after half-time, we created two really good chances and you have to finish that game at an earlier moment. Life is going to be more easy.
‘Many games at home, you can then save more energy, so that’s better for everyone. But also for the progress of the team, you need that.’
The United manager was then asked if the club would be dipping into the transfer market to alleviate some of these problems.
Ten Hag said: ‘We are always in the market but it has to match the sporting criteria but also the financial criteria and we will do what we can to bring that player in that we need.’
The 52-year-old was then quizzed on Gakpo’s imminent arrival at Liverpool.
Ten Hag defensively responded: ‘I don’t talk about any individual cases.’
On Liverpool completing the signing, he continued: ‘I am not looking at other teams, I am looking at our team. I am convinced in the players we have, individual and as a team, that we can compete with those other teams.’
This makes it seem that Ten Hag has full faith in Martial through the middle for the Red Devils.
However, speaking before the game former United captain Patrice Evra was not so convinced.
Evra said that with Ronaldo gone, this would be Martial’s ‘last chance’ to nail down the No 9 spot at Old Trafford.
The pundit continued: ‘We need goals from Martial. Rashford is our best goalscorer and only has like four goals in the Premier League. It is not enough.’
Speaking post-game, Evra seemed happy with his fellow countryman’s performance. Evra said: ‘I talked with him after the game and said I want more goals from him but also I want him to stay fit and that’s really important.’
Also speaking on Amazon Prime about United’s striker conundrum, Michael Owen was adamant that the solution is not Marcus Rashford.
The former United striker said: ‘He is not your main goalscorer. If you’re at Manchester United Rashford isn’t going to be scoring you 30 goals a season like a Wayne Rooney, like a Robin van Persie.
‘[But] he will contribute double figures every year from that left hand side position.
‘If you think Manchester United will play him down the middle and score 30 goals and be your main man then I would question it.’
Similarly to Martial, Stuart Pearce said time is running out for the England international. Pearce added: ‘He is 25-years-old now and it is time to deliver to be honest with you, because he is not a youngster anymore.’
Evra continued that Rashford’s biggest problem is that he is not ‘a killer’ in front of goal.