Erik ten Hag says financial fair play restrictions will prevent Manchester United from acting in the January transfer window to fill the “gap” in attack left by Anthony Martial’s extended absence.
This has been a quiet month across the board and the Red Devils have focused on streamlining the squad rather than bolstering it.
Jadon Sancho, Donny van de Beek and Hannibal Mejbri are among those to have left on loan, with United always expected to do little to nothing in terms of signings.
And not even the fact that Martial has been ruled out until April after undergoing surgery on a groin injury is likely to change things due to Premier League profit and sustainability rules.
“I looked but there is no space,” United boss Ten Hag said. “No space on FFP to do something about this lack of quantity in the striker position.
“Of course, we have (Marcus) Rashford who can play as a striker, I think also we have some other alternatives, creative.
“It’s clear now Anthony is out for a couple of months. It’s a gap in our squad. Clear.”
- Ins: None
- Outs: Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund, loan), Donny van de Beek (Eintracht Frankfurt, loan), Hannibal Mejbri (Sevilla, loan), Joe Hugill (Burton, loan), Alvaro Fernandez (Benfica, loan), Maxi Oyedele (Forest Green, loan), Mateo Mejia (Sevilla, undisclosed), Rhys Bennett (Stockport, loan), Dan Gore (Port Vale, loan), Radek Vitek (Accrington, loan)
Ten Hag was speaking to the media for the first time in a fortnight – a period in which United raised eyebrows by coaxing Omar Berrada from rivals Manchester City as their new chief executive.
The move was driven by Ineos as British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe prepares to become minority owner and take control of football operations at United, where there is a renewed drive to improve across the board.
“It gives spirit in this whole club,” Ten Hag said of the impact felt even before Ratcliffe’s deal is given the green light.
“Everyone notices that this club is going into a period of changes but it’s because we want to achieve high targets, so standards have to change.
“We started with this one-and-a-half-years ago, but I’m sure Ineos and me are very aligned on this.
“We understand we have to change, and we started that process last season with the dressing room.
“But also many departments so I am very happy that I get support.
“That also other departments has to raise the standards, to collaborate more and Ineos can have a big impact on that.”
The long-term prospects look brighter but United’s immediate attention is on keeping their FA Cup hopes alive in a fourth-round tie at Newport.
It is the only competition the Red Devils can win this season and Sunday’s game will see summer signing Altay Bayindir finally make his debut between the sticks.
“Yeah, he will be in the goal,” Ten Hag said of the former Fenerbahce goalkeeper.
“I think it’s clear what we can expect from him. He waited for his chances but he is experienced.
“He played in a big club in Turkey under big pressure, so he knows how to deal with it.
“We were all very convinced when we brought him into this club. It’s not a decision from one man.
“We’re looking forward to Sunday. Altay, very motivated of course and he can’t wait for this moment.”