Erik ten Hag responds at missing out to Liverpool for Cody Gakpo as Man Utd boss confirms striker search

Man Utd manager Erik ten Hag Credit: Alamy
Man Utd manager Erik ten Hag Credit: Alamy

Erik ten Hag has admitted Manchester United will be in the market for a new striker in January – but was refusing to give too much away after seeing Liverpool beat them to the signing of Cody Gakpo.

The Red Devils made light work of Nottingham Forest on Tuesday night, easing to a 3-0 win at Old Trafford. That puts them to within a point of Tottenham in fourth with a game in hand – and there is a feeling that United are upwardly mobile again.

However, the margin of victory should have been greater on Tuesday – and Ten Hag acknowledged so much at full time as he picked out his three star performers.

United’s top scorer this season is Marcus Rashford with 10 goals in 21 appearances. However, the rejuvenated star is not considered an out and out striker and United do need someone to fill the boots of Cristiano Ronaldo.

The veteran Portuguese star’s departure leaves United with a significant hole to fill. As such, Ten Hag confirms the club are in the market for a new centre forward to pick up some of the goalscoring flak.

One man who could have filled that vacancy was Gakpo. United have pursued the Dutchman for several months and were expected to open negotiations for his signing again next month.

However, Liverpool have very quickly nipped in and beat them to the punch. They are paying an initial £37m, rising to £44m, for the PSV star with Jurgen Klopp’s role in his signing revealed here.

Ten Hag, though, refused to be drawn too heavily on missing out to Liverpool on Gakpo. But he does admit the club are in the hunt for a new No 9.

Man Utd chasing a new striker, says Ten Hag

“We are always in the market. But it has to match not just the sporting criteria but also the financial criteria,” he told Amazon Prime.

“We do what we can to bring in that player that we need.”

Asked specifically about United’s pursuit of Gakpo and his imminent transfer to Liverpool, the United boss added: “I don’t talk about individual cases.

“We are looking for offensive players, we are looking for a striker. It would be good because the games coming, there are so many, every third day.

“It is tough. we want to play in all the leagues we are in so hopefully we keep going [in them] until the end of the season but to do that we need numbers in the squad to cover it all.”

Rashford, meanwhile, has opened up on his preferred position in the United side. He started the game out wide before moving more centrally once Anthony Martial went off.

However, the England striker insists he is happy playing wherever asked and claims it is horses for courses.

“I think it depends on opposition, it depends on the personality you’re playing against,” Rashford told Amazon Prime.

Rashford sets goals target

“More often than not I prefer to play on the left. But if there’s a weakness in the middle or if there’s a certain player I feel I can exploit I like to have the freedom to move and do that.

“I feel comfortable in those positions, and I want to score goals. Every forward has a number they want to try and reach.

“For me it’s to score more than I’ve ever scored in a season. So for me I think it’s 22, 23. I need to try and keep scoring and affecting the games.”

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