Erik ten Hag defends Man Utd's decision not to sign new striker after Rasmus Hojlund injury

  • Man Utd did not sign a new striker during the January transfer window despite calls from fans
  • In-form Hojlund set to miss at least two weeks with a muscle injury
  • Ten Hag has no natural alternative strikers in his squad with Anthony Martial also out
Ten Hag is struggling to make up the numbers in attack
Ten Hag is struggling to make up the numbers in attack / Michael Regan/GettyImages

Erik ten Hag has insisted Manchester United could not afford to sign a second striker this season as he prepares to do without first-choice forward Rasmus Hojlund for the next few weeks.

United have confirmed Hojlund will miss at least two weeks, including the Manchester derby, after picking up a muscle injury.

With Anthony Martial out injured as well, Ten Hag now has no senior strikers available in his squad. Young winger Omari Forson was handed the start against Fulham on Saturday, with Marcus Rashford moving into a central role to replace Hojlund.

Asked why United did not sign another striker last summer, Ten Hag laughed at the suggestion before insisting: "Money, FFP."

When pointed towards Martial's injury record, Ten Hag continued: "First of all, striker options are most difficult to fill in, especially on our level. We had two strikers. I get that from Martial, but he has done for us last season great things. He is also on high payment in this club. When you bring another one in, you strike him out, so there are all arguments not to do it.

"Then there is Marcus Rashford, who can play very good from front position. So actually we had three strikers in our squad to fill in. Strikers, they are not cheap, and when you have three strikers in your squad and you bring a number four in, that means the prospective for the others will get short.

90min Man Utd WhatsApp channel

Looking to keep up to date with everything happening at Old Trafford? Click this link or scan the QR code below to follow 90min's Man Utd WhatsApp channel and turn on notifications to receive all the latest news!

Manchester United's club badge
Stay up to date with the latest Manchester United news / Visionhaus / Getty Images

"So I thought, we thought, we had options, but when it develops during the season, I wanted to bring in a striker in the winter, but it was not possible. If there was an option, of course we would consider it. It was not the case.

"We were happy to bring Rasmus Hojlund in, because if I saw the striker options, and the available striker options, there was really a shortage on good options, so we were very happy to sign Ramsus Hojlund, that is a player to the level of Manchester United."

United were keen to sign an experienced, affordable striker during the January transfer window but had to focus on selling players before they could pursue a forward - a move they ultimately failed to pull off.

"When I got the news about Anthony Martial, start of January, I really tried to get another striker in," Ten Hag reflected. "Because we are vulnerable there. But FFP was the thing. We couldn't do it.

"We worked out other options how to fill this in and how to deal in the moment Rasmus Hojlund wouldn't be available."

Man Utd missed Hojlund in the Fulham clash on Saturday, losing 2-1 after a 97th-minute strike from Alex Iwobi earned the Cottagers victory at Old Trafford.