Manchester United target the loan market after the loss of Cody Jacobo

Manchester United are in the market for the loan signing to bolster Erik ten Hag’s attack after exceeding their intended budget in the summer when they invested more than £200m in the Dutch coach’s squad.

Ten Hag was interested in Dutch international Kodi Gakow but missed out on Liverpool, who were willing to pay £37m up front on a permanent deal. United were looking to address the lack of forward options with Cristiano Ronaldo not at the club and Jadon Sancho currently unavailable, with a short-term deal for the second half of the season preferred.

“We are always in the market but it has to be in line with sporting standards and also with financial standards,” said Ten Hag after the 3-0 win over Nottingham Forest on Tuesday night. “We’re looking for attacking players, we’re looking for a striker, that would be good because of all the games coming up, we play every third day and it’s difficult.

“For the team to progress we need to be more stamina, our players can score, you can see that. [Anthony] Martial is a scorer, [Marcus] Bruno Rashford top scorer [Fernandes] He will score goals. We have a lot of players who can score goals but we have to be tough.”

Ideally, United would want the No. 9 to play through the middle but not restrict themselves to a central striker if a suitable and versatile striker appears on the market when the transfer window opens next week.

But the focus of Ten Hag’s recruiting squad has been on loans, given the previous window when Anthony, Casemiro, Lisandro Martínez and Tyrell Malacia were bought out and Christian Eriksen arrived on a free transfer. United co-owner Avram Glazer was in Qatar during the World Cup but it is understood that the focus was on selling the club rather than meeting the top agents in Doha in the January transfer window.

After entering the Europa League, United did not intend such a huge investment last summer, and after making the decision to strengthen the Ten Hag team, they realized that the next window would be affected.

Who can sign in January?

United’s options on the market next month depend on what is available, initially on the loan market. Since forwards are the hardest position to recruit, they can eventually look to a player who can play across the offensive line. Memphis Depay, who was at the club from 2015-17, belongs in that category of player, but there is nothing on the line regarding his return.

Atletico Madrid’s Joao Felix, wanted by Chelsea, is also available in January, but it is thought loan terms could put United off.

Primarily used as a wide striker at PSV, where Louis van Gaal played him across the middle at the World Cup, Gakpo was a player Ten Hag admired and also involved himself with Dutch agency SEG.

United chief executive Richard Arnold has told investors, on the record, that the club is committed to financial fair play under Premier League and UEFA rules, as he pledged when the club reported losses for the second year in a row.

Ronaldo’s departure has eased a wage bill that reached £384m last season despite losing his place in the Champions League. United also paid out £24.7m after the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and then the short stint of Ralf Rangnick as caretaker before Ten Hag took over.

United were not traditionally top spenders in January and that is likely to continue, but Ten Hag could still see a shortage in attacking numbers. In 2020, they took Odion Ighalo from Shanghai Shenhua on loan.

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