Erik ten Hag has told Manchester United’s bosses exactly what he wants in the transfer market as he looks to bolster his attacking options.
The Dutchman gave a candid interview ahead of the Red Devils’ 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest and outlined the key qualities he expects from his front man.
“Everyone is different, obviously, but for a striker the main thing is to score goals by any method, that is so far ahead of anything else,” Ten Hag told Sky Sports.
“We need a striker who scores goals because we have ability in the team to put balls in the box, so we need a striker to finish.
“We have to build a new future and we need a striker who not only scores goals but contributes by linking up play very well and pressing, which is very important.”
Ten Hag’s comments give a window into the sort of player he will be demanding of Man United’s owners – whoever they may be – come the summer.
While pressing and link up play are both given high importance, the manager is quick to put goalscoring prowess above all else.
It is therefore no surprise that Harry Kane and Victor Osimhen have been mooted as the two top targets, given they are among the only four players across Europe’s ‘Big 5’ leagues to have already scored 20+ league goals this season – the others being Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe.
The Napoli and Spurs hitmen also tick off the requirement for being a threat from crosses into the box, with Kane recently matching the Premier League record for headed goals this season and Osimhen ranking among the top 3% of strikers for reception in the opposition penalty area (Fbref).
Where they differ greatly is in terms of pressing and link up play. Kane is undoubtedly more adept at the latter, while Osimhen has been vital in leading Napoli’s press this season.
Of course, both of those factors are somewhat dependent on the teams the strikers play for, with Napoli playing a far more proactive brand of football than Tottenham, and often using their forward as an outlet in behind.
Stylistically though, Osimhen may just shade it as the better fit in light of Ten Hag’s comments, given that his incredible athleticism is primed to make the most out of the creative talents already on Manchester United’s books.
With Marcus Rashford currently the team’s only reliable runner in behind, adding another could go some way to spreading the goals around the team.
Given the prices involved for either striker, however, United may need to use Ten Hag’s comments as a blueprint to unearth a gem elsewhere.
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