Erik ten Hag says Financial Fair Play rules prevented Manchester United from bringing in a striker during the January transfer window.
United only have Rasmus Hojlund as an out-and-out number nine and, following Anthony Martial’s injury that will keep him out until April, Ten Hag was hoping to dip into the market to strengthen his attack.
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But United, like many clubs, were afraid of falling foul of the Premier League’s Profit and Sustainability guidelines so opted to stick with what they have.
Ten Hag said: “It’s not a secret, I wanted a striker because with the injury to Martial we don’t really have a back up. It was not possible because we had to match the FFP rules.
“There are some disadvantages to FFP. To make space for FFP you have to sell players, good players. I don’t think that’s how you build a team.”
Hojlund is in form having netted in his last three Premier League games – including last night’s dramatic 4-3 success at Wolves – and Ten Hag is confident he can find a workaround if the Dane sustains an injury.
He added: “We have Omari [Forson], Amad Diallo and Marcus Rashford, who can all play there.”
“I think it’s not a secret (that) I wanted a striker extra… we have to be a little bit creative if it’s up to the number nine position” – Erik ten Hag on #MUFC‘s squad depth after the transfer window closed pic.twitter.com/UxTtYnxs5H
— Simon Peach (@SimonPeach) February 2, 2024
One player who won’t be making an impact any time soon is midfielder Mason Mount.
The England international has started just four Premier League games following his £55million move from Chelsea over the summer but Ten Hag is confident he will return from a calf injury before the end of the season.
“He’s [been] struggling from the second game of the season,” said the Dutchman, whose side host West Ham on Sunday.
“He returned for a period and picked up another injury. Of course, that’s not great and very frustrating for him.
“I really feel for him, I really want to be there for him because he has such high expectations and I had high expectations.
“I’m sure he’s a very good player for us but first of all, we have to get him fit and be secure in the process, step by step, don’t force it, and then hopefully by the end of the season, he can stay fit and find himself in the team or at least play a role in the team.”
Asked whether Mount would play again this season, Ten Hag said: “Absolutely, I expect him to return.”
Sofyan Amrabat is available for United on Sunday following Morocco’s exit from the African Cup of Nations while defender Victor Lindelof could feature having returned to training.