Man Utd boss Ten Hag rues lack of striker signing in January

Erik ten Hag has said it’s “not a secret” he wanted to sign a striker in January and admits he might have to be “creative” when it comes to solving Manchester United‘s lack of depth up front.

Ten Hag said financial fair play (FFP), known as profit and sustainability rules in the Premier League, made it impossible for the club to sign a forward in the January window.

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The loss of Anthony Martial for more than two months with a groin injury has left Ten Hag with just Rasmus Højlund as the only senior striker in his squad for the second half of the season.

“I think it’s not a secret that I wanted a striker extra because with the injury to Martial we don’t really have back-up there,” Ten Hag said.

“It was not possible because we have to match the FFP rules. We have Omari [Forson], we have Amad Diallo, or course we have [Marcus] Rashford who can play there. The rest of the positions are occupied but we have to be a little bit creative in the No. 9 position.”

United are hopeful that by allowing a number of players, including Donny van de Beek and Jadon Sancho, to leave the club in the January window they will have more leeway to sign players without breaking regulations.

Ten Hag, though, says he’s not fully in favour of the rules, which he believes forced clubs to get rid of “good players”.

“There are some disadvantages with FFP,” he said.

“To make space for FFP, you have to sell players and you have to sell good players and I don’t think that’s the way you build a team.”

Ten Hag is hopeful of having Sofyan Amrabat available for West Ham‘s visit to Old Trafford on Sunday with the midfielder set to train with the squad on Saturday following his stint at the Africa Cup of Nations with Morocco.

Victor Lindelöf is also on his way back from injury after training with the team on Wednesday but Mason Mount, who hasn’t played since November, is still absent.

“He [Mount] was struggling from the second game of the season,” Ten Hag said.

“He returns for a period and then picked up another injury so that’s not great. That’s very frustrating for him and I really feel for him. I really want to be there for him. He had such high expectations and I had high expectations and I’m sure he’ll be a very good player for us but, first of all, what’s now important is that we have to do it very secure to get him fit.

“Secure in the process, step by step, don’t force it and hopefully by the end of the season he can stay fit and fight his way into the team, at least play a role in his team.”