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Erik ten Hag after the Nottingham Forest win


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Manchester United are ready to turn their attention to Marco Asensio after missing out on Cody Gakpo.

The Red Devils are looking to bolster their forward line in January to aid their top four push. They’ve also seen Cristiano Ronaldo depart the club, unexpectedly, after his contract was terminated, which leaves them light in the forward department.

Gakpo had been identified as a target back in the summer as Erik ten Hag looked to exercise the Dutch market. He ended up staying at PSV but continued to be prolific and shone at the World Cup. United were expected to renew their interest, but ultimately lost out to Liverpool.

The Reds were able to usurp their rivals financially and Sport reports that the Old Trafford hierarchy will now consider going after the Madrid man. Asensio’s contract at the Bernabeu expires in six months and, with the two parties at loggerheads, looks as if he will leave. The player feels as if Real are not paying him sufficiently which has led to the stand-off.

United were willing to offer Gakpo a net annual salary of €8m (£7.08m) and are poised to table the same offer to the Spanish international. Asensio can begin negotiating his next move come the New Year, and United will be hopeful of making additions come January.

United were looking for a central striker, but with a lack of available options may have to pursue Asensio, who is predominantly a wide player. It is unclear whether Real Madrid would look to seek a fee from United were they to allow Asensio to leave his contract early in January.

Atletico Madrid duo Joao Felix and Alvaro Morata had both been touted as targets, but the fees involved appear to be more than United want to pay. Scoring goals has been a problem with Marcus Rashford leading the club’s goal stats – he has notched ten times in all competitions.

Anthony Martial has scored five times and summer signing Antony has found the net on three occasions. Ten Hag’s side still have ambitions in several competitions and the Dutch coach acknowledges the need to have options as they go deeper into the campaign.

The United boss said: “We have a squad, we have players who are matching our criteria but with all the games that are coming, it is a tough competition. We want to be also playing in all of the competitions by winning in games and cups as well.

“So you need players, you need numbers to cover, so we need good players, not only numbers, you need quality players to cover that. You need also competition [so] that you can make technical choices, so we are looking for the right player for our squad and that has to match the sporting criteria but also the financial criteria.”

United spent big in the summer – over £200m – on the likes of Antony, Casemiro and Lisandro Martinez. That has hampered them in January with a lack of funds available for new recruits.

Source:The Mirror