Manchester Evening News

Ten Hag has striking issue to resolve at Reds

- By RICHARD FAY

ERIK ten Hag admits he wanted to sign another striker in the January transfer window, but Rasmus Hojlund is at least easing those concerns for now.

The Danish forward took a while to adapt to the physicalit­y of the Premier League, but now he looks right at home with goals in three successive matches.

What is most pleasing is that the last two goals in particular have been typical predatory finishes, with Hojlund in the right place at the right time to bundle the ball in from close range. He won’t get much credit for those goals, but they are exactly the type United haven’t been scoring in recent years.

Hojlund has also suffered from a lack of consistent support from his team-mates so far this season, and it is no surprise his output has picked up at a time when a number of key players returned to the squad. His goal at Wolves, for example, would not have been possible without Luke Shaw in the side.

There is real excitement surroundin­g Hojlund at the moment, and there is real intrigue about how good he can become after such a promising run of form. Although the answer may intrigue supporters, the club’s transfer committee is in dire need of finding it before the summer transfer market opens.

United are in the market for at least two forwards this summer, with Anthony Martial, Jadon Sancho, and Mason Greenwood all set to leave.

Facundo Pellistri could also be sold, and Amad might need another loan move too – the jury is very much out on Antony.

Hojlund’s form in the closing months of the season will influence the type of striker United look to add to their squad, as they consider both shortterm solutions and long-term additions.

There is still an argument United need another experience­d option to help ease the burden on Hojlund, though signing a player currently in their prime would not be good for the player’s developmen­t.

Likewise, there is also a danger of signing another relatively inexperien­ced and raw striker, because it could be doubling their problem rather than halving it.

This would also cause the issue of trying to develop two players at the same time, something that can’t really be done when they only play with one central attacker.

In an ideal world, United would add another experience­d option in the same mould as previous signings Zlatan Ibrahimovi­c or Edinson Cavani this summer, though perhaps one who is slightly younger than those two were when they arrived, respective­ly.

This would give United a viable alternativ­e to Hojlund in the forward line, but at the same time, they would not have to promise them a key role and regular starts either.

It seems like the best plan for United to reinforce their options this summer, yet in order for it to work, it relies on the Danish forward maintainin­g his recent level of improvemen­t.

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