Erik ten Hag says Manchester United are making progress in their pursuit of a new striker and want a solution as soon as possible.
Already a frontman in his first season at Old Trafford, the acrimonious departure of Cristiano Ronaldo and the January loan of Wout Weghorst underlined the need for an attacking signing.
United have signed midfielder Mason Mount and goalkeeper Andre Onana this summer, but work continues to sign a striker, with Atalanta’s Rasmus Hojlund a target.
“We make progress, yes,” Ten Hag said when asked about United’s pursuit of a striker. “But you know how it works – when we have it, we’ll tell you straight.
“The only thing I can say is that we do everything in our power to do that. If it was up to me, yes, as soon as possible. The earlier the better because we have to integrate it into the team, the way of playing.
“In an ideal situation, he was already here, but you don’t always have ideal situations as a manager and you have to face the situation.”
There is already said to be a “hot market” for PSG striker Kylian Mbappe, with clubs interested including Manchester United, Chelsea, Tottenham, Inter Milan and Barcelona.
Asked about a move for Mbappe, even on loan, Ten Hag said: “We never talk about players who are under contract at other clubs.”
United need a striker to bolster a goal-shy squad whose return of 58 was easily the lowest in the Premier League’s top six last season.
Marcus Rashford scored 30 goals for the club but Ten Hag want more from the rest of the squad.
“We’re not performing well there and we’re aware of that, so others have to contribute in that area as well, but that’s why we’re looking for scoring ability,” said Ten Hag, who has given striker Anthony Elanga the green light to join Nottingham Forest.
“I think with Mason Mount we already have an extra player who is capable of not only scoring goals but also creating, and putting players like Rashford in position to score more goals. But as a whole team we have to score more.”
A fully fit Anthony Martial would certainly help the cause next season. The France international impressed during the final pre-season tournament, only to score nine goals in 29 appearances during an injury-hit season that was ended by a hamstring problem.
“Today he was in team practice, so that’s really hopeful,” Ten Hag said after Monday’s session in San Diego. “Of course, when you have a player in your squad, you expect him to be available and players have to take responsibility for being available.
“But when he is not, I have to face the situation and we show that we can be successful without that striker.
“But it’s easier when you have that striker in the team because I think every club that wins big trophies has scoring ability in that team.
What to watch on Sky Sports this week
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The ultimate test of grace for men – 27 to 31 July – LIVE on Sky Sports Cricket
Premier League Summer Series – from 23 July – LIVE on Sky Sports Premier League
Belgian Grand Prix – 28 to 30 July – LIVE on Sky Sports F1
Stephen Fulton vs Naoya Inoue – 25 July – LIVE on Sky Sports Action
Seniesa Estrada vs. Leonela Yudica – 29 July – LIVE on Sky Sports Action
Netball World Cup – 28 July to 6 August – LIVE on Sky Sports Action
Australia vs New Zealand – 29 July – LIVE on Sky Sports Action
St Helens vs Leeds – 28 July – LIVE on Sky Sports Action
“We need a good team and Anthony Martial is a great footballer so he will help us, he scores goals.
“Also in other areas of football like pressing, possession, combinations, he is a great player, so let’s hope he will be fit and stay fit.”
What is expected next?
Man Utd will try to make it four wins from four in the preseason when they play Wrexham Wednesday morning (July 26); departure at 3.30.
Man Utd pre-season fixtures and results
- July 12: Man Utd 2-0 Leeds
- July 19: Man Utd 1-0 Lyon
- July 22: Man Utd 2-0 Arsenal
- July 26: Man Utd vs Wrexham, kick-off 3.30 (Snapdragon Stadium, USA)
- July 27: Real Madrid vs Man Utd, kick-off 3.30 (NRG Stadium, USA)
- July 31: Man Utd vs Dortmund, kick-off 02:00 (Allegiant Stadium, USA)
- August 5: Man Utd vs Lens, kick-off 12:45 (Old Trafford)
- August 6: Man Utd vs Athletic Bilbao, kick-off 4pm (Aviva Stadium)