Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick has called on the Red Devils to add “two more quality strikers” to their squad this summer.
Rangnick will be replaced by Erik ten Hag come the end of the campaign but will remain as a consultant as planned when he first took over from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The German hasn’t had the best of times at Old Trafford so far, with the Red Devils almost certain to miss out on the Champions League – five points behind fourth-placed Arsenal with two games left to play.
During his 27 games in charge so far, Man Utd have won just 11 times, with six of those coming in his first 10 matches. More recently, they have lost five of their past 10, bowing out of the Champions League last 16 during that run.
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So Man Utd fans will be looking forward to the future under Ten Hag with Rangnick behind the scenes, though how much consultancy he will be able to do is uncertain right now, as he will also take over as manager of the Austrian national team.
However, Rangnick has already started to openly talk about Man Utd’s requirements in the summer transfer window. Recently, the Austrian warned that Man Utd would need 10 new signings and he has now built on that, claiming they need to improve in the forward department.
“For me, it is obvious Manchester United needs two more quality strikers that just give this team more options, more quality and more weapons,” he said.
“Strikers. Modern strikers do not necessarily have to be wingers. If you look to Liverpool or Manchester City and look at their strikers, they have five or six top-class strikers.
“Gabriel Jesus, until four or five weeks ago, he hardly played. Now he is playing again regularly and if you look at the number of players they have and ask me if Gabriel Jesus is a central striker or a winger, is Grealish a central striker or a winger, they are all strikers who can play in different positions, they can also switch and they can rotate.
“That kind of players, we don’t have that many.”
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Going into the final few weeks of the season, Man Utd only have Cristiano Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani on their books as strikers, but the latter has been injured and the former can only do so much.
Ronaldo is the Premier League’s third-highest goalscorer this season with 18, just one behind Son Heung-min and four off Golden Boot favourite Mohamed Salah. He’s also eight clear of his closest Man Utd teammate Bruno Fernandes, but his future is currently in doubt with the incoming Ten Hag.
After scoring in Man Utd’s 3-0 win over Brentford on Monday, Ronaldo appeared to say to the cameras “I’m not finished” which some took as the Portuguese forward pledging his future to the Old Trafford club.
But he has since disputed the claim, replying to a fan account on Instagram: “I didn’t say that.”
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Of Ronaldo, Rangnick added: “The way that he played again tonight, not only because he scored a goal but he also won the penalty and helped defensively tonight, so why should he not be a player who could still be part of the squad and help the team?
“But this is a question you have to ask Erik when he is here and it is also important how Cristiano sees himself and his position. Cristiano is not a central striker, he also does not want to play in that position.
“In order to not play central, you have to play with two strikers as we did in the last 15 minutes or in my first game against Crystal Palace or the second one against Norwich, and even in the second-half against Newcastle.
“But if you look at international football, there are not many top teams who play with two strikers.
“Most of the international top teams either play with three strikers or a false nine, so for me it’s not a question of position, it’s a question of what kind of quality players Manchester United have in the future.”