Manchester United interim boss Ralf Rangnick has revealed he wanted to sign a new striker in the January transfer window but his plea fell on deaf ears.
After stepping in to replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for the season, Rangnick felt a new striker was needed. The Reds had just loaned out Anthony Martial to Sevilla, while Mason Greenwood was unavailable. Edinson Cavani was struggling for form and Rangnick wanted to take action.
The German accepts that the request was late in the day but still believes there was time. Last-gasp moves often happen late in the window with deals going right to the last minute. However Rangnick says that United did not even try.
“The answer at the time was no, there is no player on the market that can really help us,” Rangnick said. “I still believe we should have tried in those 48 hours. The board sees it the same way. They agreed. But they also spoke to the scouting department at the same time as me. The answer was no.”
It has been suggested that United blocked a move because the money would come out of the summer budget. Money that would be handed to the new manager. At the time they did not know who that would be and if they would even want the player.
When pressed Rangnick identified three players that were up for grabs late in the window. But all three went elsewhere in the last few days of it. Luis Diaz joined Liverpool, Dusan Vlahovic signed for Juventus and Manchester City agreed a deal for Julien Alvarez.
There is still a chance all those deals would have gone through had United shown an interest. But it is the lack of effort that surprised Rangnick the most.
“Maybe I should have pushed even more, it would have been short notice but 48 hours is 48 hours,” Rangnick added. “It might have been at least worth to try and internally discuss it. It might be necessary and important. We didn’t. It was not done.”
Manchester United block striker swoop
United’s decision to block the move could be a costly one. But it is easy to see why they were reluctant to spend big in January.
Mistakes have been made with recruitment in the past. That could have been another reason why they blocked the move. Getting stuck with a player that Erik ten Hag may not want. You could argue they have learned from their mistakes.
Vlahovic and Diaz both cost big money, while Alvarez will only join City in the summer. A loan deal could have been an option but maybe there was no-one out there better than what United already had. And the scouting department pointed that out. An out-of-form Cavani could still be better.
Thankfully for United they have had the goals of Cristiano Ronaldo to carry them. But it will not be enough. United are set to miss out on the top four and Champions League football next season. It is hard to say whether signing a new striker would have made a difference. But the Reds board were not willing to gamble it would appear.