Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has insisted that he will have to be “creative” for the remainder of the season after the club were unable to bring in a striker in the January transfer window. The Dutchman lost Anthony Martial through injury and wanted another forward brought in, but the Red Devils did not make a single addition to his squad last month.
Martial was ruled out until April after undergoing surgery on his groin last month, leaving Ten Hag with just Rasmus Hojlund and Marcus Rashford as his senior options up front.
But with the club’s precarious financial position and their need to comply with the Premier League’s profit and sustainability rules, they joined a lengthy list of teams that were unable to proceed as usual in the market.
Sales were required in order to spend but Jadon Sancho, Donny van de Beek and Hannibal Mejbri all instead left Old Trafford on loan, ensuring that United were unable to fulfil Ten Hag’s request of an extra striker.
Ten Hag explained that he has three other options to rotate with Hojlund, but are experimental and United could be left short if the Dane joins Martial on the treatment table. The boss wanted another forward option to rude that risk, but has been left wanting by the club.
“It’s not a secret that I wanted a striker extra,” said Ten Hag. “Because with the injury of Martial we don’t really have back-up there, but it was not possible because we have to match the Financial Fair Play rules. We have Omari (Forson), we have Amad Diallo, of course we have Rashford who can play there. I think for the rest, all the positions are occupied. But, yeah, we have to be a little bit creative if it’s up to the number nine position.”
Forson, 19, has come off the bench three times in the past month for his first senior appearances for the club, going on to grab an assist for Kobbie Mainoo’s winner in Thursday’s 4-3 win at Wolves.
But Ten Hag has dismissed the idea of the current financial rules as a force for good, with clubs wary of following the likes of Everton and Nottingham Forest. The Toffees have already been deducted 10 points this season for breaching the regulations and were charged once again with Nuno Espirito Santo’s outfit.
“There are some disadvantages on Financial Fair Play (FFP),” Ten Hag added. “So, to make space for FFP, you actually have to sell players and you have to sell good players. I don’t think that’s the way you build a team.”