The January transfer window is just around the corner with managers around the world looking to strengthen their squads ahead of the second half of the season. Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag will be no different, the Dutchman is expected to continue his rebuild of his squad.
His arrival in the summer saw 15 players depart Old Trafford on permanent deals, including Paul Pogba and Juan Mata. Ten Hag also made his own stamp on the Red Devils squad with the additions of Christian Eriksen, Lisandro Martinez, Tyrell Malacia, Casemiro, Antony and Martin Dubravka. Fourteen members of the United boss’ squad are currently representing their countries at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, with the top level of football taking a month-long break for the competition. This could be seen as an opportunity for Ten Hag and his staff to scout potential signings when the window opens on New Year’s Day.
However, the future of one man in particular is up in the air following his recent interview with Piers Morgan. Cristiano Ronaldo has all but guaranteed his departure from Old Trafford after he tore into Ten Hag and the club, leading the concern over the Red Devils’ attacking options.
Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial are two options to lead the line for United if Ronaldo departs in January. The former mentioned names have impressed in front of goal this campaign for the club, scoring eight and four goals in all competitions.
Despite their solid form, the need for another centre-forward is crucial, especially with the number of games remaining for Ten Hag’s side in the second half of the season. United YouTuber Adam McKola believes the club don’t have to watch the World Cup to find their ideal striker.
“I think [United should sign] Ivan Toney,” he said at the opening of FIVES soccer centre in Trafford, a new state-of-the-art facility which allows players to track their stats from games. “I know he’s not under the radar because he’s in the Premier League, but he kind of is because he’s not being linked to the big team.
“If you look at the coach he’s got [at Brentford] in Thomas Frank, he’s someone who asks a lot from his players, technically, tactically, so I think he’d be a good fit for Manchester United, especially under Erik ten Hag. Toney is a different type of striker to the ones United have and I think he’s a player the club wouldn’t normally go for, but should.”
Toney has impressed for Brentford this campaign and is the Premier League’s third-highest scorer with 10 goals in his opening 14 games. However, he wasn’t selected for England’s World Cup squad in Qatar, missing out to Newcastle United’s Callum Wilson, who has netted four less than him in the top flight.
Looking to the future of the Red Devils, the club is renown for bringing talent through their youth academy and breaking into the first team. With the opening of FIVES, could this be a potential location for United to scout players in the coming years, McKola thinks so.
“I think these facilities are definitely needed,” he said. “When I was a kid people were playing football all over the place, you’d have to stop traffic to let cars pass. Nowadays, kids can’t do that as much and facilities like FIVES are required. The use of the stats and technology at FIVES is incredible.
“We’ve not had something like this for young footballers. If I had the ability to record my stats as a kid, I’d be all over it. Being able to set targets and knock them down will help develop players for the future.”