Eric ten Hag: Manchester United’s Striker Search Shows Promise

    Erik ten Hag says Manchester United are making headway in finding a new striker.

    Already a light frontman in his first season at Old Trafford, Cristiano Ronaldo’s abrupt exit and Wout Weghorst’s January loan move highlighted the need for an attacking signing.

    United signed midfielder Mason Mount and goalkeeper Andre Onan this summer, but work on the striker continues with Atalanta’s up-and-coming talent Rasmus Høilund on the target.

    Old Trafford giants are believed to be willing to pay up to £60m for the Denmark national team, while Frankfurt’s Randal Kolo Muani is an alternative.

    “We’re making progress, yes,” Ten Hag said when asked about finding the United striker.

    “But you know how it works – when we have it, we will tell you directly.

    “The only thing I can say is that we are doing everything in our power to achieve this.

    “If it were up to me, yes, as soon as possible. The sooner the better, because we have to integrate him into the team, into the way we play.

    “In an ideal situation, he was already here, but you don’t always get into ideal situations as a manager and you have to deal with the situation.”

    While United are looking for a promising striker, talk about the transfer of Tottenham sniper Harry Kane continues.

    United sources downplay such talk and speculation that they are targeting Kylian Mbappe, who Al Ahli are in contention for a world record after Paris Saint-Germain decided to sell him.

    Asked about Mbappé’s move, even on loan, Ten Hag said: “We never talk about players who have contracts with other clubs.”

    United need a striker to bolster a non-goalless team whose 58 cap record was the lowest in the Premier League’s top 6. Marcus Rashford has scored a career-high 30 club goals, but Ten Hag wants more from the rest of the team.

    “We’re not effective enough there and we know it, so others have to contribute in that area too, but that’s why we’re looking for scoring ability,” said Ten Hag, who gave the green light to striker Anthony Elanga at Nottingham Forest.

    “I think with Mason Mount we already have an additional player who is capable of not only scoring goals but creating and also putting players like Rashford in a position to score more goals.

    “But as a team we have to score more.”

    A full-fledged Anthony Martial will certainly help this cause next season. The France international made an impression during the last pre-season tour, scoring only nine goals in 29 matches during an injury campaign that ended with a hamstring problem.

    “He was in team practice today, so that’s very reassuring,” Ten Hag said after Monday’s practice in San Diego.

    “Of course, when you have a player on the team, you expect him to be available, and players have to take responsibility to be available.

    “But when he is not there, I have to deal with the situation and we show that we can succeed without this striker.

    “But it’s easier when you have a striker on the team because I think every club that wins big trophies has the ability to score on that team.

    “We need a good squad and Anthony Martial is a brilliant player, so he will help us, he scores goals.

    “Also in other areas of football like pressing, possession, combinations, he’s a great player, so let’s hope he gets fit and stays fit.”

    United are in the US as Ten Hag’s side continue to prepare for the 2023-24 season. The under-21s, complemented by some older players including Jonny Evans, will face Wrexham in San Diego on Tuesday, with the first team playing Real Madrid in Houston the next day.

    “I haven’t seen the Wrexham documentary, but I know them, we played them last year,” added Ten Hag.

    “I know they got a promotion. Of course, I saw the reality of how we play, I know the players.

    “We’ve brought in the under-21s, but we’ll reinforce them with some of the players who are on tour with the main roster.”

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