Home » Erik ten Hag says Man United do not necessarily need a centre forward this summer

Erik ten Hag says Man United do not necessarily need a centre forward this summer

by Red Billy

Marcus Rashford’s long-term future at Manchester United could be as a centre forward, according to manager Erik ten Hag.

Speaking at the pre-match press conference ahead of United’s home Premier League match against Aston Villa today, the boss said that he does not necessarily need a new number 9 in the summer window as both Rashford and Anthony Martial can fulfil that role.

Rashford has enjoyed a prolific season in front of goal, so far notching 29 goals in all competitions.

30 of his 50 appearances have come from the left flank, around twice as many as from centre forward. Asked whether he sees the England man as a number 9, Ten Hag said:

“I think he can do both.

“It depends sometimes on the opposition, which role is the best fit.

“But it’s important for him the formation, to bring players around him, and especially to bring players in the back from him in the formation, in possession, where he can make combinations, make movements.

“I think he’s doing that very well. I’m happy and satisfied with his role. But also when he’s playing from the left, he’s also big impact on our games.”

The manager was then asked whether a centre forward is going to be a priority in the summer transfer window and whether a traditional number 9 such as Harry Kane would give him more options.

“I think everyone knows, it’s not a secret,” he said.

“Over the long term and throughout the season we have had a shortage of number 9’s because first of the dropout of Ronaldo and then Anthony Martial was often not available, Jadon Sancho was often not available, so then you have a shortage of front line players.

“So less players have to cover many games, so definitely in the front line, we need players who strengthen the squad.”

He was then asked if signing a traditional number 9 is the most challenging type of transfer.

“But you can approach that in many ways,” he replied. “The typical number 9, you can also, as we talked before, Rashford can also play very good as a number 9. Anthony Martial, he’s a great number 9.

“So we have players who can play in that role, but definitely we need some offensive players who are really impact players, quality players, who improve the front line.”

The answer clearly shows that Ten Hag has faith in Rashford and Martial up top, but also by omission, suggests there is no future at the club for Wout Weghorst beyond this season, who the manager did not mention in this context.

It remains likely that United will go all out to secure a front man such as Kane or Napoli’s Victor Osimhen. But by these comments Ten Hag is clearly saying he is not wedded to the idea and will think outside the box if more value for money is available in wing positions or even, by implication, in the number 10 role.

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