Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Man Utd told four urgent signings they need as Ratcliffe is told ‘gospel truth’ on failed Ten Hag transfer

Erik ten Hag has been told to sign Germany striker Niclas Fullkrug for Manchester United

Erik ten Hag has been told to sign Germany striker Niclas Fullkrug for Manchester United

Manchester United have been advised to make four big signings this summer if they want to challenge for top honours next season and why Euro 2024 striker Niclas Fullkrug should be right at the top of their wishlist has been revealed – and with Sir Jim Ratcliffe warned one Erik ten Hag signing is simply not up to standard.

The Red Devils endured a topsy-turvy season last time out, finishing in eighth in the Premier League – their all-time worst finish since the competition was formed – and having also crashed and burned in the Champions League too before that. Incredibly, Manchester United, against all the odds, then managed to beat Manchester City in the FA Cup final and win a second piece of silverware of the Erik ten Hag era and deny their noisy neighbours the double Double.

The victory at Wembley also effectively spared Ten Hag from the sack. Going into the game, strong reports had suggested the axe would fall regardless of the result on the day, though the manner of their performance – their strongest of the season – ultimately saw the Dutchman not just earn a reprieve but also see the club move to extend his contract.

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However, whether that happens or not at this stage remains to be seen, with Ten Hag clearly unhappy at the way United conducted themselves in interrupting his summer holiday and in their public courtship of Thomas Tuchel as a possible successor.

Nonetheless, while sorting Ten Hag’s new deal remains important for United, the immediate priority of the club and Ratcliffe is in squad strengthening this summer.

Man Utd transfers: Ratcliffe told to prioritise Euro 2024 star Fullkrug

To that end, TEAMtalk understands Ratcliffe hopes to make up to four new signings this summer to strengthen his squad with a new centre-half the most pressing issue, but then a midfielder, a striker and ideally a right-winger also on their wishlist.

According to Ally McCoist, however, it is the attacking positions that are in most urgent need of attention.

United did sign Rasmus Hojlund last summer and while the young Dane took a while to settle, he did eventually show promise and finished the season scoring 16 goals in 43 appearances.

However, that could not prevent United from being the joint-lowest scorers in the top half of the Premier League, with just 57 notches from 38 games to their name. For context, Manchester City top-scored with 96, while relegated Luton managed only five fewer goals than United over the campaign.

As a result, United have been strongly linked with several strikers in recent weeks, though it is Joshua Zirkzee who has come the fore in recent weeks with the Bologna striker able to leave if his €40m (£33.9m) clause is met.

McCoist, though, believes the United frontline needs more experience and he has advised a move instead for Borussia Dortmund’s Fullkrug.

“If I was at Manchester United I would bring Niclas Fullkrug in and I don’t even think it would be a gamble, he is scoring goals for Borussia Dortmund and for Germany, he’s got the track record that indicates he can score goals. He is no-nonsense.”

The Scot also feels Fulham’s Joao Palhinha would be a sensible signing as he would ‘walk into their midfield’.

“In the midfield, Manchester United need somebody in there.

“I do feel for United because they couldn’t get a level of fitness out of the central defenders, so that has got to change, but they need more in the middle of the park.

“I think Joao Palhinha could be exactly what Manchester United need. He has had another good season at Fulham and he walks into that team in my opinion. That would be strengthening it right away.”

Ratcliffe told ‘the gospel truth’ that Ten Hag signing is not good enough

McCoist also believes United will try and strengthen down the wings with big issues to fix on both flanks.

“They need to sort out their wide areas as well, Marcus Rashford hasn’t been playing to his ability, you saw what happened with Jadon Sancho and Antony isn’t doing it either, he is far too inconsistent.

“Alejandro Garnacho was the only one that showed any level of consistency. Upfront they have Rasmus Hojlund who struggled early on but I think he will be a good centre forward but they need another one.”

After suggesting they need a striker, a right-winger and a forward, McCoist has also urged Ratcliffe to consider signing a goalkeeper upgrade too, claiming he does not feel 2023 summer signing Andre Onana – who cost an initial £43.8m from Inter Milan – is up to the required standard.

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However, as McCoist accepts, they look unlikely to seek a replacement, leaving the Scot to suggest they put their energies into the other positions he has stated.

“I’m not convinced about the goalkeeper to tell you the gospel truth. They’re not going to change him. I understand they won’t change him. But I’m not 100% sure that they’ve effectively replaced David de Gea.

“But if they can get a little bit of luck in keeping the centre backs fit, they definitely need strength in the middle of the park, wide areas and another centre forward, which is a lot.”

United players are due to return to training in early to mid July depending on their success with their international squads, with their first pre-season friendly slotted for July 15 against Rosenborg.