Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Fabrizio Romano confirms blockbuster Ratcliffe plans to sign new Man Utd striker; explains how Hojlund will fit in

Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Ivan Toney, Rasmus Hojlund and Joshua Zirkzee, Man Utd

Sir Jim Ratcliffe wants to bolster the striker ranks at Man Utd

Fabrizio Romano has provided a crucial update on how Manchester United will bolster their attack this summer, with Rasmus Hojlund set to be joined by another centre-forward in the squad.

Man Utd spent big money when they signed Hojlund from Atalanta last summer, paying an initial £64million for him that could rise to £72m through add-ons. The Dane was delighted to make the move as he is a self-confessed Man Utd fan who has always wanted to shine at Old Trafford.

Hojlund got off to a slow start in the Premier League, failing to score in his first 14 appearances as he got used to the pace of the competition. However, Man Utd knew it would not be long before the striker started to impress as he had managed five goals in six Champions League outings.

Hojlund has now found his feet, having netted seven goals in his last six league games. That includes a brace as Hojlund inspired Man Utd to a 2-1 away win against a battling Luton Town side on February 18.

New Man Utd chiefs Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Sir Dave Brailsford have been impressed by the player’s ability to lead Erik ten Hag’s forward line and deal with the intense pressure on his shoulders, despite the fact he is only 21 years old.

They view Hojlund as a vital part of Man Utd’s journey back to regular silverware. But in order to protect him in the long run, Ratcliffe and Brailsford feel they need to sign another striker to help take some of the load.

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To do this, the new Man Utd hierarchy can go down one of two routes. They could sign another exciting young striker to learn alongside Hojlund, such as Bologna star Joshua Zirkzee or Bayern Munich’s Mathys Tel. Alternatively, Man Utd could land an older striker with Prem experience, such as Ivan Toney or Ollie Watkins.

In his Daily Briefing column, transfer insider Romano has confirmed that Ratcliffe and Man Utd will definitely go all out to bring in a new goalscorer, and he expects a player of Toney’s profile to emerge as their priority.

Man Utd ‘want a new No 9’ – Fabrizio Romano

“Man United are also planning to sign a new striker in the summer transfer window – the plan is very clear, they are waiting for a new director and a new board structure, but they want a new number 9,” Romano said.

“They will obviously respect the great numbers of Rasmus Hojlund and he will remain at the club, but one more striker is needed because Anthony Martial will leave Old Trafford as a free agent, there are no doubts about that.

“United still have to decide, however, if they want to go for a young player or an experienced player. There will be internal discussions about that, and United will take their time despite rumours about Joshua Zirkzee and Mathys Tel. We’ll see what they decide in the coming weeks and months, but for sure a new striker will be a core part of their plans for the summer.”

Romano continued:  “Personally, I think Hojlund still has huge potential and I’ve been so impressed with his performances recently, so maybe an experienced striker who knows the league could help to make an instant impact and also to support Hojlund while he’s still developing.”

In order to sign Toney, Man Utd will have to fight off the likes of Arsenal and Chelsea. Both London sides are huge fans of the 27-year-old, who has been told by Brentford that he can leave this summer if an appropriate bid arrives.

Brentford are likely to demand upwards of £80m for their talisman, and his transfer could even reach the £100m mark.

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