Erik ten Hag dropped hint over new Man Utd striker before Cody Gakpo transfer snub

Erik ten Hag says Manchester United need to bring in a striker but has emphasised it ‘has to be the right one’ in terms of quality.

United head into their first Premier League match since the World Cup, Tuesday’s home clash against Nottingham Forest, having scored 20 goals in their 14 top-flight fixtures so far this season and with Cristiano Ronaldo having left the club last month.

Ten Hag was reported to have identified Cody Gakpo as his No.1 target ahead of the January window but that pursuit is set to end in failure with Liverpool having gazumped their rivals and won the race to sign the Netherlands World Cup star.

Speaking prior to confirmation of Liverpool having struck a deal with PSV Eindhoven, Ten Hag insisted a solution to United’s goalscoring problems could be provided by one of his current squad players.

‘First, that can also come out of our club – see (Alejandro) Garnacho, (Anthony) Elanga, (Facundo) Pellistri, who made a good impression at the World Cup (for Uruguay

‘And, yes, we are aware we lost a striker, so I think yes, we have to get a striker i

‘But it has to be the right one, and the right one is the one…he needs to bring the quality in the team, and not just an add to the squad, because that gives you only problems. And. you know, the criteria is high here at Man United.’

Ten Hag also feels Marcus Rashford has it in him to contribute 20 league goals in a campaign.

While Rashford has four to date this season, he has netted nine times for United in all competitions, most recently an excellent solo effort in Wednesday’s Carabao Cup win over Burnley, and also scored three goals for England at the World Cu

‘I said from the start, I think he’s capable of scoring 20 goals in the Premier League,’ Ten Hag said of the 25-year-old forwar

‘I’m convinced about that. He now has four, but he scored many other goals, he scored three at the World Cup. So, then you have the potential also to score those numbers of goals in the Premier League.

United got to the World Cup break lying fifth in table, three points behind fourth-placed Tottenham with a game in hand.

Ten Hag says he sees that as a ‘good sign’, bearing in mind United’s goal record, and said of their start to the season: ‘When I analyse the first 14 games, also Europe, we had a lot of problems in the frontline, and often I had nothing to choose, or players were not 100 per cent fit and we had to play.

‘That was a problem during the first 20 games this season. So, I think already when we get players better fit and available in the frontline, we will score more goals’

He also stressed he is in no doubt more goals are required, amid various improvements.

‘There are many elements of football we have to do better to perform better and get better results – getting more control, more dominance in the game,’ Ten Hag said.

‘We are aware we have to score more goals. Against Burnley) I think we created so many opportunities, and we have to be more decisive there. You are worried when you don’t create chances. But, clear, we have to score more.’

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