Erik ten Hag says Manchester United will do ‘everything in our power’ to replace Cristiano Ronaldo in January… with Cody Gakpo and Goncalo Ramos both on the Red Devils’ wishlist for a new attacker
- Manchester United terminated Cristiano Ronaldo’s contract last month
- Erik ten Hag has confirmed they will look to bring in another striker next month
- The club are already scouting targets ahead of the January transfer window
- United have Cody Gakpo and Goncalo Ramos on their transfer wishlist
Erik ten Hag says Manchester United will do ‘everything in our power’ to sign a replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo in the January transfer window.
It’s understood that PSV Eindhoven’s £50million-rated Cody Gakpo is a leading target, while Ten Hag is an admirer of Benfica striker Gonçalo Ramos who has taken Ronaldo’s place in Portugal’s starting line-up at the World Cup.
United have a vacancy in the squad after ripping up Ronaldo’s contract and clearing his £500,000-a-week salary off the wage bill.
Cristiano Ronaldo had his Man United contract terminated last month by mutual consent
Erik ten Hag is keen to add another striker to his squad next month to replace Ronaldo
However, Ten Hag insisted on Saturday that United will only sign a new striker if the right player is available. Sources say the price would also have to be right, but stressed that United would not go for a cheap option who wouldn’t improve the squad in the long-term.
Speaking about the prospect of signing a replacement for Ronaldo next month, Ten Hag said: ‘Yes but only when we find the right player.
‘We do everything in our power. We are doing research on every opportunity and we do everything we can if that opportunity is there to contract them.’ United held talks with PSV over Gakpo in the summer and it’s believed they are ready to re-open discussions.
The 6ft 4in forward, who scored three goals in Holland’s run to the quarter-finals in Qatar, can play wide or as a centre-forward.
United are tracking PSV and Holland forward Cody Gakpo after his impressive World Cup
The Red Devils are also interested in signing Portugal forward Goncalo Ramos
Ten Hag, who has already signed three players from Dutch clubs since taking over at United, responded to the Gakpo speculation by saying: ‘I cannot give comments on specific players. I will never do that.
‘Players have contracts and I respect that, but make sure we are working in the background to get the right players in.’ Ramos is another player on Ten Hag’s radar. The 21-year-old scored a hat-trick for Portugal in their 6-1 win over Switzerland in the last 16 of the World Cup after replacing Ronaldo, and kept his place for yesterday’s quarter-final against Morocco.
Ten Hag also believes Anthony Martial will develop into the complete centre-forward if the Frenchman can stay free of injury.
Martial has resurrected his Old Trafford career under the new manager despite being hampered by hamstring, Achilles and back problems during Ten Hag’s six months in charge.
‘We have seen when he is available, he has a massive impact on our game,’ said the United boss.
Ten Hag is confident Anthony Martial can shine in the second half of the season if he stays fit
‘He has 350 minutes, four goals and two assists – that’s a really good record. In parts of his game like pressing, he is doing a really good job for the team linking up the play. For our team, he’s a really important player and we need that profile.
‘The first challenge for him is to be available and fit. Firstly, he has to be responsible for it, but we have to support him in all the ways we can.
‘He was so disappointed that he had the injuries. In the past maybe he did something wrong, I don’t know, but now it was also bad luck.
‘We have to stop the process of injuries and get him – and he gets himself – in a better position so that he’s fit and available.’ This time last year, Martial was preparing to go out on loan to Sevilla as it appeared his time at United was drawing to a close.
The former Monaco man, who turned 27 this week, was back in Seville to lead Ten Hag’s attack on Saturday when United ended their training camp in Spain with a friendly against Real Betis.
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