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It would help – Erik ten Hag hopes Man Utd sign proven goalscorer in the summer

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 12 Apr 2024

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Erik ten Hag has said Manchester United signing a proven goalscorer this summer “would help” – while stressing the striking options with which they entered the current season “should have been enough”.

Having last term finished third in the Premier League and won the Carabao Cup in their first campaign under Ten Hag’s management, United have subsequently underwhelmed.

With seven games to go in the league, they lie sixth, 11 points behind fourth-placed Tottenham, as well as fifth-placed Aston Villa, and have the lowest goals-for tally in the top 10 with 45.

Twenty-one-year-old striker Rasmus Hojlund has netted 13 times in all competitions since being signed last summer to join an attack also featuring Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial.

Rashford has eight United goals to his name for 2023-24, and Martial – sidelined since groin surgery in January, with Ten Hag unsure if he will be available again before the end of the season – two.

Asked at a press conference ahead of Saturday’s league trip to Bournemouth how vital it was that United sign a proven hitman this summer, Ten Hag said: “I think it would help.

“In this plan we constructed we should have had enough goals. You count on goals from Rashy – last season he scored 30. You count on goals from Martial – in my first season he played very well and also in very important games he had a high impact on our performances.

“And then bringing a goalscorer like Rasmus Hojlund in, it should have been enough goals.”

Sir Jim Ratcliffe became minority owner at United in February, taking control of football operations.

A change was confirmed this week as the club on Tuesday announced John Murtough was stepping down as football director, and United are looking to bring in Newcastle sporting director Dan Ashworth and Southampton director of football Jason Wilcox.

Ten Hag said with regard to the summer: “We are working in the background on plans with scouting. We are working on our plan, the plan is ready, but it has to execute, and I trust the new ownership that they will work as quick as possible and bring new good structures and that they can execute.

“We have good plans, I think also with quality players. You see now about recruitment: (Andre) Onana is doing very well, Rasmus Hojlund, everyone is seeing his big talent and potential. (Lisandro) Martinez, everyone was hugely happy with him, and there are others.

“So the recruitment is good. But if they (new directors) have even better ideas, we are always open. If you have options but they come with better options we are open.

“But we have a way we want to play, so we know our profiles, so it has to match the profiles we want.”

As well as the changes to the club hierarchy, the season has seen United – currently assessing Rashford, as well as midfielder Scott McTominay ahead of the Bournemouth game – hit by considerable injury problems, while there have also been other issues involving players such as that which led to Jadon Sancho leaving for Borussia Dortmund on loan in January.

Asked about the challenges, Ten Hag said: “The thing is, you have to be realistic – as a manager, it’s like a minister, you don’t have anything in your hands but at the end of the day, and that is what you have to accept, you are responsible for everything. And I take that.

“Some things… it just happens, and then you have to make the best out of it.”

He added: “This business, this industry, is about results and many see only the results, but you have to see also what’s underneath. I see underneath and I see the potential. I see the direction. So I’m positive in the way we want to go, and we will be successful.”

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