Ten Hag explains exactly what Man Utd need to add in attack after missing out on Cody Gakpo transfer

Erik ten Hag managing Manchester United

Erik ten Hag has spoken about the need for Manchester United to strengthen in attack for the first time since Liverpool beat them to the signing of Cody Gakpo.

Gakpo was one of Ten Hag’s top targets as Man Utd looked for more depth in attack ahead of the January transfer window. There is a void to fill in their frontline after they let go of Cristiano Ronaldo last month.

Knowing Gakpo from his time in the Eredivisie, Ten Hag was keen to sign the PSV star. However, in a bitter blow for United, Liverpool have completed the signing of the Netherlands international instead.

It means Man Utd will have to go back to the drawing board as they look to replenish their depth up front.

Right now, they can call upon Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, Anthony Martial, Antony, Alejandro Garnacho and Anthony Elanga as their main options in the final third.

However, Ten Hag might benefit from having another centre-forward in his squad to compete with Martial, for example.

TEAMtalk understands that Roma striker Tammy Abraham is among the main names on their wanted list, either for January or the summer. But there will undoubtedly be plenty of links with other targets too.

Now, the Man Utd manager has opened up on what his club intend to do in January.

Ten Hag hoping to find right reinforcements

“I think we have a squad, we have players who are matching our criteria,” he said. “But all the games are coming. It’s a tough competition, in all the leagues, we want to be also in all the leagues and keep playing in all the leagues and in the cups as well.

“So we need players and we need numbers to cover. So we need good players, not just the numbers, we need quality players to cover. And also we need competition and we need to know also that we can make tactical choices.

“So we are looking for the right player for our squad, but it has to match our sporting criteria, definitely, but also some financial criteria.”

Interestingly, Ten Hag then addressed what he needs in attack. His response suggested he might only be looking for rotation options, rather than someone to come in as a regular starter.

“In the offensive department, we need players coming from the bench to have an impact on the game – whether you need a goal, or save when you are leading, you can go for counter-attacks or, at least, keep the win on your side,” he explained.

It may also be in line with recent reports that budget concerns might only allow United to sign a short-term option in January.

In turn, there have been links with the likes of Alvaro Morata as a stop-gap option. Beyond then, the club could be looking at the likes of Dusan Vlahovic or Goncalo Ramos when they are able to make a bigger investment.

Ten Hag was speaking ahead of Man Utd’s next fixture, which will be against Wolves on Saturday lunchtime.

READ MORETen Hag told ‘fed up’ attacker isn’t Man Utd level as transformative role predicted at Premier League rival