Erik ten Hag insists it’s vital Manchester United strengthen their forward line before the start of the Premier League season amid the continuing uncertainty surrounding Cristiano Ronaldo.
Despite his intention to quit Old Trafford just 12 months after his emotional homecoming, the 37-year-old looks increasingly likely to remain for another year with his potential escape routes diminishing by the day.
Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona have ruled themselves out of the running, while Atletico Madrid this week informed Ronaldo’s agent Jorge Mendes they do not have the funds to facilitate a deal.
Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain have also turned down the opportunity to sign the Portugal international as have United’s Premier League rivals Chelsea.
Ronaldo has played no part in United’s pre-season campaign thus far due to a family issue and it remains unclear as to when he will return to Manchester, let alone first team training.
Asked for an update on last season’s 24-goal top scorer, Ten Hag said: ‘No, it’s the same as last week.
‘Of course, concerning is not the right word, I focus on the players that are here. they are doing really well and they are in great shape. We will integrate him [Ronaldo].’
In Ronaldo’s absence, United’s attack has flourished in the games against Liverpool, Melbourne Victory and Crystal Palace, to such an extent that Ten Hag has decided that Anthony Martial will remain with the club after the France international spent six unhappy months on loan at Sevilla last term.
The chemistry between Martial, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho has been a real feature of three successive wins which have yielded 11 goals, three of which coming from the apparently rejuvenated France international.
Ten Hag has been encouraged by what he has seen so far from the front three that will likely start the first game of the new season against Brighton in a fortnight’s time, but acknowledged the need for further additions before the start of the new campaign.
He said: ‘They connect really good together. I think when you see that, you are lucky as a manager. They are a threat, the team has weapons and we need to develop that further.’
‘We signed Eriksen for the midfield department, we are really happy with that. I’m also happy with the performance of our midfield and offensive department.
‘This season has a lot of games, with the World Cup, so we need more options. We need a good team, a good squad, to get the right results at the end of the season.
‘We need to strengthen the squad even more, and we’re looking around, but we need the right players.’
United fly to Oslo after tomorrow’s game against Aston Villa and Ten Hag hopes both Eriksen and impending arrival Lisandro Martinez will link up with the squad ahead of the fixture against Atletico.
He added: ‘It’s definitely an advantage (to have the players with us). We have to deal with the situation and develop the team with the players we have. Back in Manchester, Eriksen and Martinez will join and they will quickly integrate into the team.’
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