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Erik ten Hag looking for loan stars after blowing £200m summer budget

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag. Photo by: Martin Rickett/PA Wire© PA

Mike McGrathTelegraph.co.uk

Manchester United are in the market for a loan signing to bolster Erik ten Hag’s attack after going over their intended budget in the summer when they invested more than £200m (€226m) in the Dutch coach’s squad.

Ten Hag was interested in Netherlands international Cody Gakpo but missed out to Liverpool, who were willing to pay £37million (€42m) up front in a permanent deal.

United have been looking to address a shortage of forward options with Cristiano Ronaldo no longer at the club and Jadon Sancho currently unavailable, with a preference for a short-term deal for the second half of the campaign.

United, who had no trouble in front of goal during last night’s 3-0 win over Nottingham Forest, still ideally want a No 9 to play through the middle.

However, they are not restricting themselves to a centre-forward if a suitable, versatile attacker comes on the market when the transfer window opens next week.

But the focus of the recruitment team for Ten Hag has been on loans, given their previous window when Antony, Casemiro, Lisandro Martinez and Tyrell Malacia were bought and Christian Eriksen arrived on a free transfer. United co-owner Avram Glazer was in Qatar during the World Cup but it is understood it was to concentrate on the sale of the club rather than meeting super-agents in Doha for January transfers.

After dropping into the Europa League, United had not intended such heavy investment last summer and after making the decision to strengthen Ten Hag’s squad, knew the next window would be impacted.

With strikers being the most difficult position to recruit, they could eventually look at a player that can play across the forward line. Memphis Depay, who was at the club from 2015-’17, is in that category of player but nothing is down the line in terms of his return.

Atletico Madrid’s Joao Felix, who is wanted by Chelsea, is also available in January but it is thought the terms of a loan could put off United.

United CEO Richard Arnold has told investors, on the record, that the club are committed to financial fair play under Premier League and Uefa rules, making the pledge when the club announced losses for the second year in a row.

Ronaldo’s departure has eased the wage bill that reached £384million last season. (© Telegraph Media Group Ltd 2022)


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